Log of Calypso

24 March 2017
22 March 2017 | Kilkenny, Ireland
21 March 2017 | Portree Guest House, ireland
20 March 2017 | Waterford, Ireland
19 March 2017
18 March 2017
17 March 2017 | Cobh, Ireland
16 March 2017 | Cobh, Ireland
15 March 2017 | JFK International Airport, NY
12 March 2017 | Sailcraft Services, Oriental NC
11 March 2017 | Sailcraft Services, Oriental NC
26 February 2017 | Oriental, NC
18 February 2017
03 February 2017
01 January 2017
31 October 2016 | MCAS Cherry Point by way of Oriental, NC
20 May 2016 | MCAS Cherry Point
09 May 2016
20 March 2016 | MCAS Cherry Point (Slip A-1)
01 March 2016 | Hancock Marina

Kilkenny

24 March 2017
Thursday morning, Corey made us a full Irish breakfast, what a treat! Then we were off, continuing to explore this wonderful medieval city.

It started out clear and a bit cool. As we walked to the old cathedral the clouds moved in, the wind picked up, and it started to rain. Very similar to NC winter weather, give it 30 minutes and it will change...;

After a brief 5 minute drizzle, we reached St. Canices (Can-is) Cathedral. We purchased there combo ticket which gave us access to both the cathedral and the round tower.

The tower built in the mid-9th century, made it the oldest standing structure in the City, the tower was used not only as a lookout but "as a place of refuge for body and treasure". The tower is one of only two towers, of this age in Ireland, that tourists can still climb.

A recorded voice gives information as you climb the towers 121 steep wooden steps. The climb is broken up by seven landings as you make your way up the 100' (30 meter) climb. This is not for the faint of heart, especially when, at the half way point, the voice tells you that the tower has a slight lean, WHAT!

So, as you climb, not only does the the inside diameter get narrow, making the passing of climbers in the opposite direction a challenge, but you soon realize the extent of the lean, which is "2 feet (.7 meters) off plumb".


Not to worry, what's the worst that can happen? All that is forgotten when you reach the top and you have an unrestricted full view of the city and surrounding countryside.


The site were St Canice’s Cathedral was built in the 13th century had been the site of Christian worship since the 6th century. Over the years and after initial construction the structure has seen modifications, additions, the ravages of war, and re-building. The bishops seat inside is made of stone and visitors are encouraged to sit in it and listen to a recorded history, is dated to 1120. A complete history can be found at, http://www.stcanicescathedral.ie/visitors-information-page50542.html


The weather warmed and everyone seemed to appear at the grassy commons near the Castle. So, we did the same and enjoyed a picnic lunch while watching school kids practice Hurling.


Played for over 3000 years its like lacrosse, but the sticks don't have nets.

We visited the Hole in the Wall Pub and enjoyed an Irish coffee. This 20x20 foot Pub has an amazing history and was a hangout in the 1700's by the Duke of Wellington. Cram 7 people into this tiny bar and it's just one big conversation.


While rummaging through an antique store, the shopkeeper recommended we visit the Medieval Mile Museum. It opened only two weeks earlier. It is the 13th century site of St Mary’s cruciform church and graveyard.


After 5 years of archeological renovation the museum displays 800 years of artifacts related to Irish history.


We chose to take a guided tour lead by the museum curator. Better yet, we were the only ones, making it a private tour.

We will miss Kilkenny! Nadia and Corey have been terrific hosts, with a beautiful home, in a fantastic location. They are genuinely warm, friendly, helpful, and caring. Staying with them as been like staying with family. We enjoyed evening chats, and morning talks over wonderful breakfast! Tomorrow we are traveling by train back to Waterford then bus to Wexford.

Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy

Ireland's Oldest City

22 March 2017 | Kilkenny, Ireland
The snow & slush that fell overnight had just melted as we left Waterford on the 1100 train to Kilkenny. While on the train we could see the snow capped hills in the background. Burr, we had so many layers of clothes on that we could have been stunt doubles for the Stay Puff Marsh-Mellow Man. At least we had more clothes in our bags, than on.


About 30 minutes later we arrived in Kilkenny and soon found our way to the Tourist Information (TI) Center. We asked for a map, but what we really wanted was for them to hold our bags, just as they did in Cashel. We were surprised to hear the reply of, no. We were told that it was a new policy for "health & safety". Little did anyone suspect, several hours later, there would be a horrific terrorist attack in London.

Since we arrived hours before our check in time of 1500, we had tea, soup, and brown bread at Syd's (Sid's) Pub then headed to tour the famous Kilkenny Castle. Before paying we asked about leaving our backpacks with the ticket agent while we toured. We explained that we didn't want to accidentally knock over an 18th century treasure. They were more than happy to hold them for us.


Kilkenny is the oldest city in Ireland and the original castle was a wooden structure built in 1173 by Richard De Clair, known as Strongbow. But after that structure was destroyed a new, more per permanent stone castle was built, in 1213. Much of it survives today.

In 1391, the castle's title was transferred to the Butler Family. It was eventually modified to imitate a French Chalet and became a stately home. It entertained wealthy guests and dignitaries, including King Edward VII, in 1904.




However, it fell into disrepair and most the items inside were auctioned off. Finally, the "Keys" were transferred to the people of Kilkenny, to be managed by the Department of Public Works (DPW), in 1967 for the price of £50. Today's the Castle continues to be restored but for the most part it has been returned to its 18th century grandeur.

Several hours later, we knocked on a big red door with the shiny brass #83, on Upper Patrick Street. This was the home of Corey & Nadia, our Air B & B hosts for the next few days. We knew they were at work but Nadia's mom was visiting with them and would be there to greet us.

"Welcome" she said with a twinkle in her eye, arms wide open, and even a bigger smile. What a greeting! We very quickly learned that Nadia's mom was from Bulgaria and spoke very little English. She soon learned that we spoke no Bulgarian. No worries, a smile & hand signals worked as our best translator.

After showing us our room we settled in, unpacking a bit. We had a wonderful cup of coffee and some delicious chocolate chip cookies. With a map in hand we set out to explore some more.

Later, we met up with Nadia who recommended Kytelers (Ket-ners) Pub for dinner (http://www.kytelersinn.com). Another Trad Pub we took the last table in the large main seating area. Good choice, as a pint of Kilkenny Beer showed up, the musicians started playing. We had boiled bacon & cabbage (yes again, but it's really good) and a bookmakers sandwich (kind of a stake sandwich with onions & mushrooms). Food, music, atmosphere, all great!

After walking over 7 miles today we think we coverd much of the city center. Returning to #83, we got together with Corey, Nadia, her mom, and Corey's brother. The six of us chatted for about an hour and we were instantly made to feel like part of the family.

Tomorrow, we are off again, glad we have good walking shoes, to explore the Medieval Mile.

Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages,
Wendy & Jeff

Waterford

21 March 2017 | Portree Guest House, ireland
Waterford is by far the largest town we have been to so far. Hard to believe but this is the fourth we've explored. It's an inland seaport that is Ireland's oldest city.


It was founded by Vikings in 914 A.D.


It's a working city instead of the resort towns of Cobh & Kinsale. There is a lot of traffic and several small retail shops, bakeries, butchers, a marina, and even an Aldi Grocery Store.

We are staying at the Portree Guesthouse, http://www.portreeguesthouse.ie/welcome/4534298109. It's kind of a Hybrid B & B. This 300 year old building which was once the private residence of a wealthy government official has bunk rooms on the ground floor and 27 private ensuite rooms & suites on the other floors.

Certainly not 5-star the Portree is gem in the rough. The owner is very friendly and he & his family live on the premises. It's one block off the river in a quiet, but close to everything location. We were told by a third party that this was recently the site of a TV Hotel makeover show which has yet aired. The owner is working on upgrades as money & time allow.


One reason to come to Waterford was to tour the Waterford Museum of Treasures. Waterford crystal began here in 1783. It is a major source of revenue for the town. Even this time of the year we saw bus after bus drop off tourists. The company has gone through financial ups & downs even closing its doors briefly. Today it is one of two Waterford factories, the other in Poland.


We were lucky enough to grab a guided tour in between buses watching the process of making crystal from start to finish.


Because the furnaces stay lit there is an engineer on premises 24/7.


We were able to see crystal pitchers, decanters, and customer presentation pieces being made.


And those that were flawed were destroyed and the material recycled. Wendy got to "remove from inventory" a decanter, worth about $300, that was not cut properly.


But not this custom piece!


To become a Master cutter takes eight years including a 3-5 year apprenticeship.


This brief YouTube is a 48 year veteran cutter. To him, "it's not a job, it's my hobby". This is how he enjoys his day.


Custom made pieces are assembled using blocks of crystal.


The blocks are, believe it or not, glued together with Lock-title glue. They are then cut, shaped, and polished to create items like this crystal guitar. Rumor has it that it's for Bruce Springsteen, shhhh!

After a full hour touring, the tour drops you off in the retail section, surprise-surprise.
We could not resist getting a small remembrance of our trip to Waterford. Oh yes, they ship!

Down the street from the Portree is the The Grattan. Claiming to be a bar-bistro it has good reviews on Trip Advisor. We were at the end of the lunch rush giving us a quiet meal. We split two entries, one was Bangors & Mash which is English not Irish, but very good. The other a very Irish, boiled Bacon & Cabbage. Huge servings for under €10 each.

The owner & cook came by to chat and like so many people we have met was genuine, warm, funny, and had at least a few stories. Aside from the Rob Roy in Cobh, this is the friendliest pub we have been to so far. Ah, the research continues!

Tomorrow we are off to Kilkenny. There we will be staying with Corey and Nadia in their Air B & B.

Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy

Its a Long Way to Tipperary

20 March 2017 | Waterford, Ireland
Instead of taking the more direct route to Waterford, we decided to take a side trip to Cashel. So, we left Cobh on the 0800 train to Cork. After a short walk to the bus station we picked up tickets for the 1000 departure of the X8, headed for Dublin Airport. By noon we were standing at the foot of the Rock of Cashel.

There was a change in the weather coming. The damp air blown by 20+ knots of wind out of the west made us glade we "layered up" this morning. Getting off the bus we new our morning porridge would run out soon, so we stopped in at the The Bake Shop. All of the breads, sweets, and cookies , in the case, looked wonderful. We chose to fortify ourselves with two sausage rolls. This was a great "eat & go" meal of sausage in puff pastry. Yummy, makes my mouth water just thinking about it!

We stopped in the Tourist Information (TI) Center for a map. The offered to lock our bags in there storeroom to make moving around town easier, a huge help.

Just a short walk up an inclined 500 meters from the bus stop and TI, this well preserved, medieval structure dates back to the early 1200's but the history of Cashel goes back to the 5th century.


This was the strong hold of the Catholic Church in Tipperary County, its massive cathedral overlooks several "smaller" Abbie's including this 13th-century Cistercian Abbey known as Hoare Abbey.



As you can imaging this structure is under constant preservation. Today, unfortunately, the Cathedral was closed but the good news was we were treated to our tour free of charge. The web site lists the average visit of 1-2 hours, which was about right, including a video presentation.

Off to the Cashel Folk Village (http://www.cashelfolkvillage.ie). Undaunted by a passing hail storm, Bernard the current Curator, was a wealth of information. Highly passionate about, not only Cashel history, but Irish History as well. Bernard is the son of the last sole caretaker of the Rock of Cashel, or simply The Rock.

This privately owned & funded museum holds artifacts going back thousands of years. One in particular, that we were able to hold, was Bog Butter. Dating back to the times when invading army's used a Scorched Earth method to exterminate the indigenous peoples. Locals would bury food, wrapped in animal skins, in the peat bogs to preserve it, in the hope they would survive the attack, they would have something to eat.

Bernard also had artifacts, memorials, and stories of The Easter 1916 Rising, The War of Irish Independence 1919-1922, The Irish Civil War 1922-1923, and The Great Irish Famine 1845-1851. A great story teller, he has obviously kissed the Blarney Stone, maybe even more than once.

We collected our bags and enjoyed a Chocolate Chip Cookie, once again at The Bake Shop, while waiting for our bus. We transferred at Cahir (pronounced Clair) to the route 55 bus which dropped us off in Waterford at 1830.

A side trip to an Aldi grocery store on the way to our lodging. We checked in at the Portree Guest House, kicked off our shoes, and enjoyed a dinner of bread, local cheese, and a glass of wine. The end of a long but fascinating day.

Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
Wendy & Jeff

Fairwell Cobh

19 March 2017
Fog & wind is how this morning started. So, after church we stopped at a small coffee & sandwich shop that we've eaten at before. We started in on a pot of tea, Eddie we are really getting use to this stuff, and then looked over the menu. Soup & sandwich sounded good.

Our waitress arrived who was a young girl that looked 15 and her name tag proudly said, Trainee. We didn't see soup & sandwich but did see soup & toasty. "What's a toasty" we asked and with her young confident smile our waitress replied, "toast". Ok then, we'll have one bowl of soup, tomato/basil-yummmmm, one soup & toasty, and one Ham & Cheese sandwich.

Then the plates arrived and now we know, soup & a toasty is the same as soup & a sandwich. We have leftovers for tomorrow's train.

After that we decided to, as Captain Dave used to say, " we are taking a slow bell this morning".

No, we weren't doing the pub crawl last night, we are simply savoring our last day in Cobh. What an inviting community. Most everything here revolves around the sea.
Fishing, sailing, and several shipyards & the Port of Cork just minutes away by train.

This area exudes history! Several historic residents of Cobh include Olympic Gold Medalist Sonia O'Sullivan, Anna Moore, first person to pass through Ellis Island, and Ann Bonnie, notorious pirate who sailed the Caribbean with "Calico" Jack Rackham, in the early 1700's.

This area has seen it fair share of maritime disasters. The Titanic's last port was here. She took on mail & supplies along with 127 passengers. Only a lucky 9 got off, one being Father Frank Brown, who is responsible for almost all photographs of the Titanic's passengers & crew before she anchored and departed Cobh Harbor.




The attack on the Lusitania is another maritime disaster which involved the people of Cobh. What is now the towns library was used as a temporary morgue and this Canard Office was used to triage' the living plucked from the icey waters. Residents took in survivors and literally gave them the shirts off their backs. After the past several days it is easy to say the the residents today would do the same thing.

Boating accidents continue. In fact, this mornings paper brought news of an accident were a dive boat capsized. All eight on board were rescued by members of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution RNLI (https://rnli.org) This organization is in some ways like the US Coast Guard.


Today, 95% of the men & women in the RNLI are volunteers. This YouTube video is used as a recruiting tool for new volunteers an fundraising.

We leave tomorrow morning headed for Waterford via the Rock of Cashel.

Fair Winds and quiet anchorages,
Jeff & Wendy

Kinsale

18 March 2017
We left our room at 0700 headed for the rail station. This would give us plenty of time to get there, even if it's only 500 yards away. After getting our tickets we sat at the station and ate a homemade scone for breakfast.

Then, at 0725, it happened. Like a scene out of "Return of the Living Dead", we watched the arrival of last nights partiers as they began showing up. Some looking as though they hadn't slept in days, shuffling along with that 1000 yard stare.

Once on the train the usual soft talking and early morning laughing was replaced with sleeping bodies. There were several bobbing heads which looked like those bobbing (Drunken) bird toys.

In Cork, we took the 0900 bus for the hour long ride to Kinsale. This quaint fishing village has been around since 1333. We took lots of pictures but this YouTube postcard from the development council says a lot. Enjoy!



Since Wednesday we have walked over 21 miles. Today's 4.5 km round trip to James Fort helped to add to that.


James Fort is in remarkably good shape as it was originally started in 1601 and came under attack several times.


From its vantage point you can see out to the Atlantic.

After all that exercise & fresh air we were ready for bit to eat. We bypassed the overly famous "Fish Fishy" for a recommendation of Jim Edwards Pub. Over a hearty lunch of fish & chips and Irish Lamb Stew we washed it down with local Kinsale Beer and contemplated what's next. Time will tell...;)

More later,
Jeff & Wendy
Vessel Name: Calypso
Vessel Make/Model: Westsail 32
Hailing Port: Clearwater, Fla
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