HAVING grown up by the sea my entire life, sometimes I wonder if I take it for granted? For almost quarter of a century I could see the water ebb and flow from my bedroom window in Crosshaven... now the sea is just a five minute stroll from my doorstep.
If the last 18 months has taught me anything, it’s how lucky we are to live where we do - with beaches, a river, woods, walkways and more within our reach.
But as close to sea as I live, it’s a rarity that I get out on the water. If you don’t sail or own a power boat, or kayak, there’s not much opportunity to spend time ON the water.
If I am honest, in my 40 plus years, living next to the ocean, up until now I’ve just largely admired it from the seashore.
I do recall a wonderful trip out on a fishing boat to see the Tall Ships as a young girl... and I remember a speedy spin on a rib with friends during Cork Week, and another glorious day out with former work colleagues on a very big and impressive yacht. But that was many moons ago.
Now it was time to get back out on that ocean again... with my own kids in tow.
Recently myself and my family had the delight of undertaking one of the new Cork Harbour Cruises, on board the Cailin Oir, around the harbour - actually we had the delight of two trips!
First up the media invite to hop aboard on the launch weekend - followed by another personal booking the following Saturday, because we enjoyed it so much.
And I know it will be third time lucky again, when we book in the coming weeks - they’ve just also launched a tour to Spike Island... but more on that later. And if I am not being too greedy, I’m also tempted to book one of their twilight trips - for adults only - who doesn’t need some ‘me time’ after being cooped up together all those months of lockdown!
First... back to our inaugural trip. We boarded the boat at the Hugh Coveney Pier. For anyone visiting, you will find parking a few minutes from here, in the village car park. We went on the Crosshaven Harbour Tour (1 hour) - so we travelled out past Currabinny, Fort Camden, Spike Island, Fort Davis and Cobh. You can sit on the top deck, or lower deck - we tried both on each trip, and were not disappointed as we took in the military and shipping sights around the harbour - and the stunning natural beauty too.
It was such a joy to sit and relax and soak up the sunshine and sea air.
Also we felt the children were completely safe as they perched on the seating, looking out at the water. And the hour trip was the perfect length of time for them - just enough for them to enjoy, but not too long for boredom to set in.
I’m hoping to sneak away to enjoy the Crosshaven Twighlight Cruis (2.5 hours), with my husband, or even a group of friends - it’s not a trip suitable for children, as you can savour a well deserved tipple as you cruise out the harbour.
They have also launched the Crosshaven to Spike Island Tour (3 to 4 hours). It departs also from the Hugh Coveney Pier, and brings you across to the award-winning attraction, and back again. We have done the tour from the Cobh side, which was a bit of a trek - but what a treat to find such easy access to it now available on our doorstep here in Crosshaven.
The boat also does Private/ Corporate Charters (1-4 hours). They can cater for up to 100 persons.
See corkharbourcruises.com for times, dates and costs
FROM CORK CITY
The Cailin Oir also does a number of trips from Cork city.
They run a Cork Harbour Scenic Cruise (2 hours), where they leave from the Old Bonded Warehouse in Cork City and cruise down Lough Mahon, passing Fota Island.
There is also a Cork City - Mini After Lunch Cruise (1 hour), a guided tour down the Banks of the Lee - taking in historical sites like Blackrock Castle.
Also they do a Sunset Cruise from The City (2.5 hours) where you can leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and enjoy the sights and sounds of the harbour at twilight.
Again see corkharbourcruises.com for times, dates and costs.