Day 122, Monday 1 May
Mayday, Mayday… Deja vu? I’ve certainly written this before. It was Day 58. A whole year ago.
The wind has dropped. Pre-fuelled and ready to go with another good Full Irish at Pam’s tastefully modernised Frenchville B&B, overlooking Galway Bay. Thank you Pam for your kind and generous support for the RNLI.
A pretty straight, gently undulating coast road all the way to Rossaveel for the Ferry.
A surprisingly compact, modern looking boat off-loaded an even more surprising number of passengers. Some with lots of wheeled luggage, heading for the car park and many more with little or none, mostly heading for the waiting Galway bus. Very easy to separate the returning Bank Holiday visitors from the Islanders. The population of the Aran Islands is only around 1,300 but big enough to muster a Gaeltacht football team that’s currently riding high and good enough to win major games against bigger mainland teams.
A fast crossing with just enough rolling and pitching through a gentle sea swell to justify the lid jammed on to my coffee cup. The ferry’s cargo of about 45 passengers, one bicycle and several large trays of seedlings and plants, were soon at Kilronan quay on Inismor, the largest of the three inhabited Aran Islands, just yards from a mighty Severn Class Lifeboat.
Seamus O’Flaithearta, (aka O’Flaherty) ex LOM and original islander with a distinguished 49 year service with the RNLI was waiting to meet me. A great character with a great name.
For 175 years, the Aran Islands Lifeboat Station has covered the dramatic, rocky wilderness facing outwards to the Atlantic Ocean. Formerly known as Galway Bay until 1995, the lifeboat crews have been presented with over 20 awards for gallantry. Take a look at more of this Lifeboat History.
Time for a ride around Inismor before refuelling. Probably a great sunset from the west side and still warm enough here on the SE side to sit outside to drink Guinness and eat chunky chowder and Irish Stew.
Wish we could have got there to see you at Conamara, Steve. The weather was great where you were but, alas, the possibility of CBs (cumulonimbus clouds, too scary to contemplate in a small aeroplane) over the Irish Sea put us off. We hope to meet up with you at Sligo.
Understood. Look fwd to seeing you in Sligo!