We are very used to life on our beautiful Hanse 375, and together we manage to get all jobs completed without getting in each others way, as though we have been doing it all our lives. Now we have two dear friends on board the game has changed. The only way to share an eleven meter boat with four people is to give each other space when they need it, and accept that four is not two. With Geerte and Maurice that is no problem whatsoever, as they themselves are easygoing and very considerate! To celebrate their arrival in Howth we cook a lovely bit of ham in the oven with baked potatoes and carrots. Unfortunately the potatoes are a disaster, as they did not bake properly at all and just disintegrated. Never mind, good company, lots of wine and "boat food" is always a success.
We sail out of Howth in beautiful sunshine and Geerte an Maurice take turns to steer the boat. Our destination is Dublin, we sail up the Liffey river to Poolbeg Marina which is just opposite the large commercial harbour and very busy and noisy it is too. After mooring the boat we walk into Dublin to explore and end up in a crowded pub in the Temple Bar and enjoy the live music. We eat oysters and bread rolls for supper accompanied with lots of wine. The taxi back to the marina is definitely a good investment.
The following morning we continue south, this time to Greystones, the wind is favourable and the sun is shining.
Greystones is a gorgeous little town, very popular with the tourists. Fortunately when you are on a boat you do not notice the tourists that much. We are advised to follow the cliff walk (about 7km) from Greystones to Bray. We set off in sunshine, unfortunately the weather changes and we have to walk more than half the distance in rain and drizzle. The walk itself was disappointing as the council had installed wire fencing all the way along to stop people falling off the path/cliff - maybe a good idea for health and safety, but a bad idea for nature and beauty.
Our next port of call is Arklow - a town which people in Greystone had advised us not to visit. We arrive on the pontoon and are warmly welcomed by the harbour master - always a good start. Our stay in Arklow is pleasant and is a welcome stop before our next passage to Kilmore Quay which is our final port of call before our departure across the Irish Sea to Milford Haven in Wales.
We celebrate our last evening in Ireland with a delicious dinner in the Silver Fox in Kilmore Quay before turning in for an early night. The following morning we are awakened by our alarm clock at 4:00am and prepare for a 5:00am departure.
After sailing a few miles offshore the breeze picks up to 20 knots and we put a reef in the main sail. The breeze continues for the rest of the crossing gusting up to 29 knots with a lively and sometimes confused sea state. We arrive in Milford Haven tired but happy after a fantastic day of sailing. By the time that everything is tidied up and after our anchor beer we discover that the only restaurant open for dinner is the local fish and fish shop Gordon Bennet. Well we can recommend it to all seafarers looking for honest food after a long passage.