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Technical Gremlins in County Donegal, Ireland

Sarah at abandoned hotel

We have been a little quiet lately, but we have had a weird few days. A lot of annoying technical problems and again a lot of wind or no wind. So it has been difficult moving further down the West coast of Ireland as it is so exposed to Atlantic swells and some big wind.

We knew, we had to go to the Killybegs in County Donegal because it was one of the few places in the UK we could have the Viking life raft serviced. We would also have liked to sail to Donegal town but it’s situated at the end of a long estuary that is too shallow for our 2M draft.

Killybegs is a very active fishing harbour, the largest in Ireland which we learned had a constant smell of fish (dead and alive) in the air. The harbour facilities upgrade has been under way for 4 years or so and are still not close to being finished. But the marina people are really friendly and there are some very nice places to eat in Killybegs, especially if you like fish.

The friendly people at the life raft service centre, GRLiferafts came to the boat to pick up the life raft and were able to service it for us in one day and deliver it back the next, this was excellent service at a very good price.

Killybegs also has a very well stocked chandlery and full boat servicing facility at Mooney Boats and we picked up a few spare parts. There is also a reasonably priced launderette in the town.

Our Webasto Heating started to misbehave (shutting down after running for 10 minutes) on our journey from Derry. Steve’s diagnosis after eliminating problems with fuel supply, power supply, and a lot of testing this and that, suggested there may be a problem with the burner unit and after checking with Ian at Mellor Online (the heater supplier) Steve set about replacing the burner (yes we have spares for most things). Initially it seemed to fix the problem.

We were very close to St. Patricks Day and decided to stay and experience this. It was quite lucky we stayed in harbour as our heater decided to stop working again, so now we decided to order a replacement and ship the old one back for testing and repair as it was still within warranty. (Ultimately we will end up with a complete spare heater aboard, important for our remote sailing plans)

Donegal is a beautiful place in Ireland, so we got some days to go play tourist. In Killybegs you can visit the St. Cathrines Church and well which is a ruin that dates back to the 12th century. It seems to be very visited by people coming to pray at the well.

The local St. Mary’s church is also very pretty and was restored in 2012 and had a very special chiming.

We also had to test our new electric outboard and found a sunny day to take a trip to exotic Rotten Island – an island with a lighthouse on it. The electric outboard did a great job and is very nice and silent.

And with some fine weather it was a good opportunity for Sarah to climb the mast and check everything was looking OK

The food in Killybegs

We became locals at The Fleet Inn which had one of the best vegetarian burgers and often life music – both traditional and normal pop music. We had a great St. Patrick’s there with live music and great service and songs about the British rulers.

Steve was amazed by the fish and chips at the Marina Café, which had both great fish and chips.

At Ahoy cafe we had an amazing lunch and very good chips, but the breakfast we had was a little disappointing. They did serve the best coffee in town, we think.

Mrs. B’s coffee house did not serve the best coffee, but made a delicious fish taco and pavola cake and cheesecake.

We had a really nice meal and a great red wine at Andersons boathouse and the tiramisu and pancakes with ice cream also tasted delicious. The espresso martini was not the best, but it made it down.

Bus Trip to Malin More

After St. Patricks Day we learned that a lot of wind and very high waves would arrive at the end of the week. As there are not a lot of protected anchorage’s or harbours near by, we were forced to spend some extra time in Killybegs. We decided to take a trip to Malin More to look at the big atlantic swells.

It is very easy to get the bus and it is also a very pretty trip in the Irish landscape. The walk there is really pretty and we had a sandwich at the museum with old Irish houses. We didn’t feel the need to go into them, but the cafe also seemed like a little museum.

We had heard that The Rusty Mackerel in Teelin had a great reputation and walked the 3 km from the bus stop along the river. It was a nice walk and the expectations were high and only grew as we could see all the awards they had won. The place is really cosy in a 18th centuries building, but we ended up in a weird corner, where we were looking into a wall and next to a window that was not well insulated. They asked us a few times if it was ok to sit there, so it seemed like they knew it was not a great spot. We didn’t have a great experience with the food either – it wasn’t bad but we had expected excellent and the fries were very dull. It just wasn’t very interesting food and the live music that should be on didn’t come before we left around 8 pm.

But the friendlyness of the Irish people showed again, when we were offered a lift back to the bus stop, and right next to the stop we could hear the traditional music flowing and ended up waiting for the bus in there with another pint.

Donegal Town

We took a trip to Donegal which is a very cute little town with an old ruined castle dating way back. It was been restored and had the roof redone with the same building technique as the original.

It also has a famine graveyard with a little memorial of all the people who lost the life in the Great Irish Famine. You can also see a big kettle the English people sent for the Irish to cook in, but are not really sure how this would help during a famine. But they could make a big meal for 800 people if you had stuff to put in it.

We had a great lunch at The Weaver’s Loft, but it was a little hard to find on the first floor of the clothing shop.

We also had a nice ice cream at Little Mama’s where they have some different variants, which is aways nice to try.

When we went back to Donegal town a second time to grocery shop we had a somewhat disappointing lunch at Simple Simons, where Steves mushroom sandwich didn’t taste of much, Sarah got the wrong pie served which tasted fine but nothing exciting.

The new heater arrived and worked fine until It was time to depart Killybegs and head north again, as we did our brand new heater stopped working so the problems continue. 😡😡😡

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