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The Wild Atlantic Way

West Cork is a lovely place to spend some time. I found the Irish very engaging overall but the people of Cork have a charming melodic accent which is quite different to other parts of Ireland. Every excursion seemed to bring something unexpected with it.

Friday market in Bantry, I appreciated the pollinator garden and the many herbs and flowers planted in public areas, some thought has gone into this.

The town of Bantry has a Friday market with travellers* selling their wares, gardeners and grocers selling fresh produce, honey, jams, cooked food, cheese and charcuterie, a real eclectic mix. The Gubbeen cheese company makes a very fine chorizo and farmhouse style cheese in Gubbeen on the south coast. Conversations with the travellers were generally very entertaining as was just listening to the banter going on all around. There was one traveller in particular who would turn up to a crowd of people waiting for him. His wares seem to come from the tip—a real recycler. He had a particular wit and the whole scene was a comedy show. I bought a few bits and bobs from him costing a euro or two but we were also able to off load some things too. I wonder what happened to the old windlass, last heard he was in full swing regaling its pedigree and merits.


Jack and Lucy, living in the dead car and rubbish strewn travellers' yard, but very cuddly in spite of their unprepossessing quarters. Not the fattest donkeys in Ireland but they have names. They got carrots from me.
Lonely country lanes for walking and plenty of trails higher up.

I went on many walks some following the Wild Atlantic Way and some straying unfortunately onto private property (I was nicely told). My walks were usually about 15km and ended at the pub for a refreshing pint. Much to my consternation I noted that plastic waste on the roadside consisted almost entirely of Lucozade bottles. This dominance of the rubbishscape by Lucozade gave me much to think about, something must be done. Ireland does have a serious plastic recycling issue starting no public bins for disposing of it and it hurts to see the lovely countryside strewn with so much plastic.


'The Wild Atlantic Way is a tourism trail on the west coast, and on parts of the north and south coasts, of Ireland. The 2,500 km driving route passes through nine counties and three provinces, stretching from County Donegal's Inishowen Peninsula in Ulster to Kinsale, County Cork, in Munster, on the Celtic Sea coast.' Wikipedia


Overlooking Whiddy Island and the Beara Peninsula in the background.

On the Beara Peninsula, Glengariff is an excellent all weather anchorage for yachts, fully enclosed and protected. There are even a few visitors moorings. Garinish Island features a beautiful botanical garden reached by ferry (or by dinghy in my case). There is not much there, a handful of pubs and two shops selling woollen knitwear. However, the countryside is lovely with hedgerows rich with foraging potential. The blackberries were just starting to ripen so I made more blackberry jam.


Glengariff blackberry jam

Sundays the pubs had impromptu jam sessions with local musicians turning up and playing. There were grannies on tin whistles, a man playing the subtle but beautiful uilleann pipes, many fiddlers, a Bodhrán and singers and jamming together. The music was mostly traditional but you got a few more modern acts. This was all outside because there was no inside seating as yet, still thoroughly enjoyable with plenty of shelter from the occasional drizzle. There seemed to be a lot of Irish tourists there, the staycation in full tilt. The resident seals often followed the dinghy whilst rowing ashore, their curious heads popping up every so often 50 yards away or sow, sometimes 5 heads visible at once—always a source of entertainment.


Whiddy Island is a charming place with one lively pub. I noted a large stand of flax bushes on arrival when we anchored, located just outside the pub. We came to Whiddy with the view to visit friends before heading out, our repairs and paperwork issues for the most part finished. Vicky and Tony warmly welcomed our unannounced arrival one morning and we spent most of a delightful day with them in their beautiful old stone house and amazing garden. We came away with as much vegetables, flowers and herbs we could manage so I nipped back in the morning with a kete (flax basket) that I quickly put together as thank you, Vicky being originally from New Zealand would know exactly what it was, and the flax was from the island. The remaining flax I cut made its way into various baskets for the boat.

Flax basket made from New Zealand flax in the traditional Maori manner. Not a fancy one but practical and will dry to a soft golden hue. These baskets last a long time and if they get a little mouldy you just wash them and put them in the sun.

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