We have two new boats for 2021, Dursey Navigator and Dursey Voyager, both equipped with the latest in navigation, communication and safety features.
We will leave from the scenic Garnish Pier, once the centre of a thriving mackerel industry with 100 fishermen plying their trade from traditional fishing boats. (Please note that Garnish Pier is situated 22 kilometres west of Castletownbere and NOT the pier for Garish Island at Glengarriff.)
With the Skelligs visible in the distance, we pass the dramatic island of Dursey, home of Ireland’s only cable car and learn of its long history including its use as a Viking slave base, the misfortunes of its Gaelic Chieftains and the mass slaughter of the islanders who were thrown into the sea by rampaging English soldiers in 1602.
As we steam out towards the Bull Rock watch out for a wide range of whales, dolphins, basking sharks, seals and otters and a dazzling array of seabirds which forage in these rich feeding grounds.
The dramatic and wave battered Bull and Cow Rocks with their distinctive natural arches, one of which we will travel through if weather permits, are absolutely unique. Once considered the path to the underworld the Bull Rock (Tigh Doinn) is home to a colony of noisy gannets and your guides will give information into the lives and the strength and courage of the men who manned its isolated lighthouse from 1889 to 1991.
On the Calf Rock, third rock of the trio, view the remains of an older lighthouse, which was destroyed by a great storm in 1881 and relive the dramatic rescue of its crew cowering in its broken base.
Returning to port, there is a chance to see the southern side of Dursey Island, steeped in history and still actively farmed, and to recall the destruction wrought by The Great Famine and subsequently by mass emigration.