My friend Catherine from Ever Changing Scenery recently went on a boat tour off the coast of Ireland, and offered to write a guest post about her experience. Enjoy!
Working in the travel industry comes with many perks, the best of which is having the opportunity to go on the ‘familiarisation trips’ that my company is frequently invited to attend. The tourism boards pull out all the stops, with unimaginable amounts of free food and drink, alongside visits to the area’s best attractions.
Failte Ireland & Discover Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way trip was no exception, and this is what led to me being in County Cork a month or so ago, discovering all that the south-west coast of Ireland has to offer. One of the many activities that we had crammed into our three days in the country was a boat trip on the Star of Kenmare.
The friendly guide welcomed us onboard, with the same character and charisma that we’d come to expect from the Irish folks. Unfortunately the skies were rather grey and misty on this particular morning, but again that’s something we’d quickly come to expect.
The boat swayed from side to side as we all settled down, and then we were off! The boat chugged along and the guide told us the history of the local area and tales of the people who had passed though.
You might think you haven’t heard of Kenmare before, but if you’ve ever read the Harry Potter books you’d be mistaken. The town is mentioned in the stories as the home of the Kenmare Kestrels, one of only thirteen quidditch teams in the UK & Ireland.
The area’s association with the famous wizard was rather fitting, as one of the first sights we spotted on our journey was this beautiful castle that wouldn’t have been out of place in the Harry Potter movies.
If you’ve ever dreamt of living like a king, you might be interested to know that this castle is currently on the market. With views out on to the ocean, your own moat and draw bridge and plenty of turrets to explore, it sounds rather tempting. The bad news is that unless you’re a millionaire it will be out of the question, with bidding starting at ten million euros.
We’d been told before the boat trip that alongside the castles we might get to see some seals, but I must admit I was sceptical. I’d been promised the same thing on many a boat ride before, and only ever caught a tiny glimpse of a seal’s nose bobbing in the water. I did not expect this time to be any different, but when the guide gestured towards one side of the boat and mentioned that we could see the seals I joined the crowds rushing over nonetheless.
Can anyone spot the seals in the photo above? No? I was pretty clueless too. As we got a little closer, it became a lot more obvious though.
This was certainly not what I had anticipated, but there they were, hundreds of seals laying out on the rocks! After years of disappointing ‘seal spotting’ experiences, I felt like I’d finally hit the jackpot! We watched on as the strange creatures flapped their flippers, before the boat moved on.
The trip was nearly coming to an end, but there was still one more great photo opportunity to be had. We headed up to the top deck and ‘Captain Patsy’ let us have a go at steering the boat!
The friend who took this photo seemed to miss the point though; you’ll just have to use your imagination to picture the steering wheel I was clutching. After a few twists and turns, we handed it back over to the captain to take us safely back to shore.
It was an excellent way to pass an hour or so and I would definitely recommend a boat trip on Kenmare Bay. It’s a shame the weather was not the best, but by the time we’d all piled back off the boat the clouds had broken, with the sun shining high in the sky ready for the rest of the day’s activities!
Catherine loves to make every day an adventure. At Ever Changing Scenery, you can follow her story and learn how to make your own life a little more adventurous! You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!