Antipole cruises

The Aran Islands

We left Dingle on Friday morning and Fungi the dolphin came to see us off.  We had a slow beat down to the end of the Dingle peninsula, which we then rounded through the sound inside the Blasket islands.


From here on the coast was just awesome, with steep-to cliffs and very unfriendly-looking rocks.  This stretch of the coast has little in the way of shelter for a yacht and, fortunately, we made good progress and decided to pass right across the entrance to the Shannon estuary.  We eventually made it into Killard Bay, which was not in our sailing guide, but which provided good shelter for the night after 68 miles.

On Saturday we had an excellent passage for the remaining 26 miles to the Aran Islands, with the cruising ‘chute up all the way.  We passed though Foul Sound between Innishman and Innisheer and made our way to Innishmore, the largest of the islands.  We anchored off the harbour at Kilronan in Killeany Bay.  Here we happened to meet up with Niall, who has just arrived back in Galway with his new boat Aircin, an Ovni 395 like Antipole.  We went on board for a drink and to appreciate the new boat.

IMG_0572From the Aran Islands come Aran sweaters, knitted with intricate patterns which were unique to each family.  It is said that one outcome of this is that when a fisherman’s body was washed up, it was possible to identify him by his sweater.  We noted stone memorials along many of the roads, which are in memory of those lost at sea and who have no grave ashore.

On Sunday we dinghied ashore and visited the Aran Sweater Centre. Tony consulted them about his much-loved forty year old Aran sweater he was given by his parents and which has frayed at the bottom. The shop contacted a knitter, who, despite it being her day off, came in to have a look.  Mary very kindly took us to her house and gave us tea and bagels while we chatted and she deftly re-worked the bottom of the sweater and made other repairs – it looks great again and is all set for another forty years!

An anticyclone has developed over Ireland and summer has arrived.  After weeks of hiding from high winds in misty anchorages, we are basking in sun, have the bimini out for shade and are plopping in over the stern to cool off.  We have no wind to sail onward and so are making the most of it here.

The folding bikes have come in handy for exploring this delightful island, which is blessed with some lovely sandy beaches, as well as rocky shores.

On Monday we cycled to Dún Aonghasa, which is perhaps the most spectacular pre-historic hill fort in Europe, dating from around 1500BC and added to over the millennia.  It is sited high up on a clifftop surrounded by an extensive Chevaux de frise (closely-set stone pillars), to make approach difficult.  The ramparts only needed to protect it on one side – the other side is a sheer 300′ cliff drop into the sea.


We are soaking up the sun while we wait for enough wind to move on.  Today Tuesday we took Antipole into the harbour and beached her so Tony could scrub her off.  It is a very wet job involving lots of trips into the water to collect buckets of water – just the thing on such a hot day.

More news in due course
with our love
Ynskje & Tony x

One thought on “The Aran Islands

  1. Susan Bloom

    Loved the story about your Aran sweater but thought that you might have splashed out on a new one in a different colour!! Don aunghasi is very spectacular – knew what they were about in those days, when it came to protection. Sounds like you’re both having a very exciting and sometimes scary time together and it’s keeping you on your toes.
    Love Sue xxx

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