Sunday, May 19, 2019

Ahoy...Great Blasket Islands on the Horizon!

It does not take long to figure out we don’t want to miss a trip to the Great Blasket Islands and the ticket office for the tour boat is almost next door to our B&B.  (Remember we are staying at Harbor Nights B&B...I figured, what could be bad about staying at the Dingle Harbor?). A quick stop there and we have our ticket for an 11:00 a.m. trip which circles the far out Blaskets and then a stop at Great Blasket with some time to walk around a bit.  

Our boat is the Jessica Kate and she is pretty fancy!  Able to take 12 passengers, we are a motley 7.  The weather gods have blessed us with a sunny day and fairly calm water.

Very comfy and state of the art vessel....seaworthy?  Oh yes!

Away we go!  Leaving Dingle Harbor astern, we keep watch for Fungie the famous dolphin.  What do you know!  He shows up in the wake for a quick hello.  Or maybe it was goodbye.

It takes about an hour to fly across the sea to the furthest of the six Blasket Islands.  Oh MY!  At first, just amazingly rugged and beautiful...

....and then more rugged....

....giant steep cliffs rising straight up out of the SEA to the SKY....

...on both sides of the boat as we thread through a cut between the island “shore”....or, no shore.

Then appears “The Castle Rocks”....and I see WHY!

Totally amazing formations surround us.  Again, this is wild in the true sense of the word. WILD.

Ok, one more look.  Can you believe it?  This place exists.  We saw it!

Now on to the largest of the Blaskets, where one a community of about 160 lived.  It wasn’t an easy life, but the sea provided and no one went hungry.  Each family had a cow, a few sheep, and then...a plot of potatoes.  They cut peat from the land for heat, and harvested fish from the sea.  In 1953 the Irish government finally moved the remaining residents to the mainland due to no health care services and winter weather made transit impossible.  The abandoned stone buildings remain.

Our boat picked up a mooring bouy off shore of the landing cove and we got into a rubber dinghy.  

Our shore ride awaits.

It is a tricky landing with the captain driving the dinghy right up on a concrete ramp, and jumping out my foot sinks into the sea.  A chance to test my new waterproof Keen hiking shoes.  Guess what!  They ARE actually, waterproof.  And ocean proof.

The Jessica Kate waits for us while we explore for an hour.  They say there’s a cafe!?  

Yes.  Why not?

We find the cafe!  One cuppa tea and a scone please.  And yes, that was about all they had...oh, and milk for the tea!
Pretty amazing there is anything at all!  There are three remaining actual buildings on Great Blasket.  One is a cafe.  One is a hostel!
I never find out what the third one houses.

Right at the appointed time...which felt way way too soon...our captain arrives to take us back to Jessica Kate.

We motor away from this place, with a lot of wonder.  I wonder what it was like to live here, in such an isolated place, with a small community of people, a few animals, the hillsides, the wind, the sun and the sea?

Then dolphins break the surface of the water and everyone points and shouts!  Back to reality.

We spend another thirty minutes outside of Dingle Harbor enjoying these beautiful marine mammals.  But where is Fungie?  I guess we got our visit this morning.  Back to the harbor we go after another day full, FULL, of surprises.  More wild on The Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland.

Tomorrow, away from Dingle we go, and goodbye to County Kerry.  It will be hello to County Clare!

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