Having arrived late last night at Wexford quay, I woke very early and realised we had settled in the silt, because the boat was leaning over at a rather precarious slant. So in my dressing gown I went out to bring in the slack on the shore ropes, I observed that we had settled about a metre away from the harbour wall, and made a mental note to shorten all the ropes once the tide had come in, which is what I did.
After breakfast I was on the deck and got chatting to a gentleman called Thomas who was showing his son the boat, I asked what he would do if he had but one day to see Wexford; he replied that we should take the guided tour. So eleven o’clock found us all outside the tourist information office in the company of a gentleman called Ray Corish. Ray introduced us to Wexford starting with the Vikings through to modern day fishing stories.
On the quay where we are moored, there were a line of very large mooring bollards, each named with its own plaque, and every plaque told a story. So I have a couple of quick brief tales. The bollard named Kerlough belonged to a cargo vessel and during the Second World War, Kerlough was returning with its cargo of oranges to Ireland travelling through the Bay of Biscay. Now Ireland was neutral during the Second World War, Karlough was called up by the German navy and was requested to make its way to collect survivors off a bombed boat. Karlough was able to rescue 150 soles and proceeded to bring them back to Ireland. The Germans asked if the captain could drop them in France, to which the captain replied, ‘no I can’t do that, because we are neutral, I couldn’t be seen to be helping you’. Then as the Kerlough came into British waters the captain was asked by the British government if he could deposit the prisoners in England, his reply was slightly different, he wouldn’t do it because he had rescued the men and Ireland was neutral. So he took the 150 rescued men all the way back to Wexford, where they were interned outside Dublin for the duration of the war. You may wonder what happened to the oranges…well they were all but eaten on the route back! The rescued Germans and their families still come back to Wexford and have a strong affiliation with the town.
Another boat called the Saltee, was returning from a fishing trip and was overloaded and so low in the water that she couldn’t cross the sand banks off Wexford. To her rescue came a number of smaller fishing vessels from the town and her load was shared. But they misjudged the amount that had been removed and she still beached on the sand banks and sank. Saltee is the wreck marked on the charts near the start of the buoyed passage in.
Another little gem’ is hidden in the High Street, a street with normal house fronts, but in the centre of the street is a theatre entrance, the house fronts are a façade. The interior of the theatre is made of Canadian maple and seats 800, during October they have the Wexford Opera Festival and performers from all over the world come to perform here, really quite stunning, and a genuine surprise to find in a terraced street.
A little later in the day I looked at my watch and realised that we should have been back at the boat to tighten the lines to bring her closer to the quay as the tide went down. Well we did laugh, we got to the boat, and by pulling on our lines we could rock Kantara, but she had settled and was too far off the quay to get too. So I wandered along to the fishing boats and borrowed a plank, which Sean and by then Simon went and collected. So we ended up walking the plank to get back on. Meanwhile a local gentleman called Alan Mcguire came along and said that he couldn’t help but notice we were having a bit of bother. So he had called up the sailing club and a rib would come down to see if they could help us, we were really embarrassed because the rib turned up and we were all sorted with our plank, but they didn’t seem to mind and waved cheerfully as they headed back to the sailing club.
Later in the afternoon we took a twenty minute walk up to the sailing club called the Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club, and availed ourselves of their facilities, the showers were piping hot, we also plugged all our electric gadgets in and had a massive recharge (There is no electric or water on the quay wall). We also enjoyed a few pints whilst Simon and I uploaded our respective blogs.
Dinner was a seafood risotto, which saying so myself was delicious, whilst we were eating about nine 300 Honda Goldwing motor bikes came over the bridge, close by, sounding their horns and flashing a variety of lights in a massive show, which took all of ten minutes and then they vanished back over the bridge.
We were after a little Saturday night fever, so about half nine we tried to get back off the boat, but because the silt is so built up right by the quay wall, you have to wait for a certain state of tide to lift you over the silt sill. We were never that patient, especially when it involves a pint of Guinness and some traditional Irish music, there were two photographers hanging about the quay and they helped by grabbing hands and pulling us across as we jumped, sometimes we aren’t as cautious as we ought to be.
This morning dawned fair, but the weather forecast warned of gale force 5/6 north westerly winds. So we tidied the boat, and made up our packed lunches and set off at 11.30am. Marian guided me out of the harbour and through the sand bank course of buoys, once out of the buoyed passage we headed south west past Greenore Pt and then Carnsore Point, taking the inside passage through the Bailies, where we had to watch very carefully for lobster pots. We managed to get the sails out and were cruising along in moderate seas until we got past Carnsore Point and then we motor sailed, where the sea state and wind changed. The wind today started at a north westerly and moved to a south westerly, all very confusing, lots of over falls, and certainly a gale force six.
It was especially rough coming into Kilmore from St Patricks Bridge and the safe water mark, and although the almanac states that there is 3 metres of water in the harbour, we went down to 1m coming towards the harbour on the suggested passage in, but we were only forty minutes off low tide.
We have moored up for the evening at Kilmore and have been persuaded by the harbour constable (someone who stands in for the harbour master) to stay two nights. Sean got chatting to a gentleman called Pat on the pontoon, who has spent nine years sailing around the world with his wife, and that’s where we are off in a minute after our dessert. (Dinner was a stir fry, made by Marian and Simon, and pudding is a slice of homemade treacle tart and custard.
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We enjoyed our time at Wexford and Kilmore Quay, to continue reading the rest of our journey sailing around Britain and Ireland, return to our blog.
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