Our departure point last weekend was Ventry, near the town of Dingle. From there we made our way to An Blascaod Mór, the Great Blasket Island, homeland of Peig Sayers. A small community lived on this island until 1953, when they were re-located to the mainland. Close by the beach is a large colony of common seals, curiously observing us as we collected some passengers for the rest of the trip.

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P1020865Our next stop was Inis na Bró, with its cathedral-like rock formation to the north of the Island. In the distance was An Tiaracht, rising out of the waters like a great pyramid.

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Onwards to Inishvickillane, second home to the family of Charlie Haughey, the controversial politician who held sway over the country in the 1980’s. The only permanent inhabitants of the island are a large family of Red Deer, seen here on the eastern cliffs, not far from the Haughey residence.

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We headed then towards open water, where a different world awaited us. I spotted a harbour porpoise, then an ocean sunfish basking on the surface until the boat came too close. Then suddenly, a cry from the front: “dolphins approaching”. A small pod of common dolphins surrounded the boat, leaping out of the water and rushing close to the bow at breakneck speed. It was over way too fast. Before I had a chance to take any photos, they had lost interest and we were heading back to the mainland, Manx shearwaters, gannets and puffins escorting us back to land.