Pop! Bang! Whizz! and Goodbye.


I clean forgot. There was, in Howth (pronounced Houth), a Dublin Bay Prawn Festival going on. Fabulous seafood, of course, but no Whelks and not a sign of that ’80’s ubiquity, the Prawn Cocktail! The festival started Saturday and was scheduled for 2 days. It must have been a popular festival as the train on which I returned from Dublin was packed.  The first day’s ‘Prawning’ activity was celebrated with a very loud evening firework display, which started at 10pm. Too late for me, I’m afraid, but too noisy to ignore. Maybe it was a send-off for RBE? Or a celebration that we were leaving? Goodbye Houth.


Rising early on Sunday, deliberately so in order to get out of the harbour quickly and thereby avoid the hundreds of dinghy sailors, competing in their National Youth Championships, due to enter the water, on the slip adjacent to our berth, at around 9am.

We cast off our lines at 8:55 just ahead of said hordes and motored out out into some choppy seas that came up once we’d cleared the harbour entrance. Good luck to all those youngsters going out in what seemed little more than a square bucket with a sail on top. (They looked like ‘Mirror’ dinghies, for those in the know.)

We continued motoring for another 30 minutes and were hoping for more settled water. However and alas, the winds have not been, in general, kind to us and we had to alter our plans yet again. It was clear that we were not going to make the Isle of Man in such conditions. So, decision made, we changed to Plan B and set our destination as Carlingford Lough, along whose centre run the border between the Republic and Northern Ireland. That change of course put us on a good angle for proper sailing so we got those flappy things up, as Duncs sometimes calls the sails. We had a better 3 hours or so sailing north toward Carlingford, arriving there at around 5:15pm. We had to wait a while until the water level had risen sufficiently to allow us to enter the marina – which we did on the 3rd go.

The Marina seemed to be more of a triumph of expectation over reality, appearing to be little more that a bolt-on to the neighbouring boatyard. Facilities are ok, functional. None of your Hamble swank here, thank you.

Carlingford Town has quite some history dating back to medieval times. The Lough is deep and navigable by some large vessels. Mountains around the outside, hidden by low cloud when we were there, is picturesque indeed and will, on a clear day with the sun out, be  quite beautiful.  That day is not today (see Gallery) .

That’s all. The idea of getting to the Isle of Man is now just a memory.


Day 22 27th April

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