Round Britain – Up the Irish Coast

Arklow pontoon in the morning.

3 days of outstanding sailing, running up the Irish coast. First stop Arklow, where we stormed in towards the land at 11 knots with a strong sea breeze behind us. We moored against a pontoon in the river and met some of the local sailing club racers. Arklow is charming, friendly and will be absolutely wonderful once they have got a little problem sorted out. The Avoca river is one of the most polluted in Europe, partly from a copper mine upstream but also, astonishingly, because sewage is still discharged into the river. The government is being fined large sums by the EU and after 20 years of debate they hope to get a new water treatment plant next year. I hope it all works out, as we found it to be a great place.
The tides run very strongly up and down the coast so getting on the up escalator at the right time is vital. We had several knots under us and whistled along to Dun Laoghaire next. The wind deserted us just by Dalkey Island. The headland there is called, with typical Irish humour, Sorrento Point, and so it looks on a sunny day!

Plenty of space at Dun Laoghaire marina

Dun Laoghaire harbour is large, and I recall it from before the marina was built. This is a vast marina, constructed at the time of the Celtic Tiger, and now half empty. Luxury yachts are the first things to go when times get tougher. We were parked near the Customs vessel ‘Faire’ (pronounced ‘Far’, not ‘Fairy’…!) who had boarded us earlier in the day and tracked our progress up the coast. We must look dodgy!

The lights of Skerries

Onwards to Skerries to anchor overnight. Overhead there are planes coming in to Dublin airport at the rate of one every few minutes, but there is only one other yacht we can see on a glorious day.

Approaching Carlingford Lough

Then to Carlingford Lough. The marina has a very narrow entrance and is a bit basic, but very welcoming and not overpriced. A good spot to wait for frontal systems to pass by.

Haulbowline lighthouse at the entrance to Carlingford Lough