Clare Island visited by Tallship Thalassa
For the first time since Grainnuaile’s day, Tallship Thalassa moored overnight at Clare Island, the Clew Bay ancestral home of the infamous pirate queen.
She arrived into the bay to great fanfare, as the 160 residents of the island, and scores of others visiting especially for the occasion gathered to view the spectacular ship arrive under full sail. The island ferry The Pirate Queen led a crew of local sailing vessels out to welcome the Thalassa as she approached the island, and a bonfire was lit to greet the crew and passengers. Afterwards, the Sailor’s Bar hosted a celebration of traditional music, song and dance.
Dutch-owned, the Barquentine Thalassa is an imposing and seaworthy sailer, rigged according to old tradition but fitted with every modern safety convenience. It embarked on an Irish Tour departing from Belfast and finishing in Galway.
The day after their arrival at the island local company Adventure West showcased its magnificent and unspoilt beauty as they guided them through some challenging activities. In the morning, in very wet conditions, they did some climbing and abseiling on the south west corner of the island. Despite the miserable weather, they all enjoyed themselves and successfully completed a 38 foot, and 78 foot climb plus an 89 foot abseil down the sea cliff. In the afternoon the rain cleared up, and they headed to the north east corner for coasteering, which they claim to have been one of the best things they’ve ever done in their lives!
Tired, but exhilarated and happy, the vessel and its crew departed the island early on Thursday morning.
Westport has been long associated with the Pirate Queen and 2013 sees the inaugural Grainnuaile Festival taking place in Clew Bay from the 13th – 15th September. This unique festival includes an adventure race, ale festival and Yawl Race. For up to date information on the festival or to find local accommodation and activities, log onto www.destinationwestport.com