Ireland day 0745. Friday 13 October 2023- Beara day 3 *

Ireland day 0745. Friday 13 October 2023- Beara day 3
Today’s summary Drove to the end of the Beara peninsula and took the cablecar to Dursey Island.   Had a good walk on the island, then on the way back we stopped off at the local Buddhist Centre for a cup of tea, and in Castletownbere for an excellent lobster dinner
Today’s weather Heavy rain all night but by morning it was dry and sparkling bright with only a very light rain shower in the afternoon.   Gale force northerly wind.  Appx 14c
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of our route)
Close-up location
(The orange line shows where we walked)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s walk as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Dursey Island

(Summary blog only.   Last full blog was Day 0368).

A truly outstanding day today, one of the best.

This morning, at last, the sun was shining – although to be fair we had traded the rain of the last few days for a howling gale.   But, undeterred by the wind, we drove right to the far western end of the Beara peninsula and caught the cablecar – yes cablecar (it’s the only one in Ireland and one of just a handful in the world that cross open ocean) over to Dursey Island. I was amazed that it was running despite the gale and the foaming sea below, but the operator said it would have to be a lot stronger for it to be stopped.

It’s a remarkable machine – it looks like something a bunch of Scouts would knock up as part of a team building challenge.   It was closed for much of the last two years for repairs, and only reopened a few weeks ago.   So we were doubly fortunate to be able to catch it today.

The ride is refreshingly simple.   You simply get into the car, which is hanging waiting for you, and when the operator in the nearby hut gives the “thumbs up” sign, you pull the doors shut, lock them shut with a hook that looks like it came off a garden shed, and off you trundle.  But despite the gale force wind, the cable car is remarkably stable, which is quite reassuring as you contemplate the unappealing and boiling sea raging what feels like hundreds of meters below your feet.

Once safely across, we had a decent but very windy trek up to the Napoleonic-era watchtower at the high point of the island (Cnoc Bolai, at 305m), and found a sheltered spot for some lunch.   The views were truly spectacular- vivid blues, greens, and towering mountains.   We soon started to get cold, though, so retraced our steps part of the way back, then dropped down to a lower-level track, fabulously out of the wind, for the rest of the return journey.   We were soon back at the cablecar station and the operator on the mainland side must obviously have had his binoculars out, because as soon as we arrived, the cablecar set off from the other side to come and collect us.   A straightforward journey (flight?) followed, creating a perfect end to an altogether excellent outing.

On the way back to Eyeries, we stopped off for a cup of tea in the local Buddhist meditation retreat (lovely) and finished this perfect day with lobster for dinner (good value at €45 each for three courses including wine) in Castletownbere.

Now it’s fully dark and the skies are clear – so it feels like it’s time for a bit of stargazing in this official Irish “Dark Skies” site.

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

Inside the cablecar.   Compact and cosy and also remarkably clean (sometimes you have to share with cows and sheep that are being transported to and from the island) To infinity, and beyond!
We actually followed the Beara Way up along the spine of the island.   It’s a good path, and well waymarked.   It’s a shame that most of the rest of this beautiful 200+km long distance path isn’t like this.   By some estimates, as much as 70% is on tarmac Watchtower on the top of Cnoc Bolais – built around the beginning of the 19th century to lookout for a Napoleonic invasion that never came
Prayer flags at the Dzogchen Beara Tibetan Buddhist Retreat centre, on the way back to Castletownbere Delicious lobster dinner at Breen’s excellent Lobster bar in Castletownbere.   The whole town is one of the liveliest I’ve come across in Ireland, actually (and that’s saying something!)
Lunch in the lee of the Napoleonic Tower on Cnoc Bolais
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 8453 m
Max elevation: 247 m
Min elevation: 19 m
Total climbing: 379 m
Total descent: -379 m
Total time: 03:12:33
Download file: Dursey Island compressed corrected.gpx

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