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A very early start at 6:30am on a Sunday for a very specific purpose.DaraghONeill

I enjoy sailing and “Eithne May” is our boat, a Morgan Jiles Sloop that is moored in the estuary at Rogerstown, Rush Sailing Club, north county Dublin which we use for recreational sailing. I live in south Dublin so we have 40 minute journey, but more importantly today we have to be onboard Eithne May at low tide which is at 8:15am.

Two of my four children Ellen & Hugh have decided to come with me as able assistants. As could be expected the early  start makes rising them a difficult task but they are up and readying themselves sooner than expected.

Having a good breakfast is most important so we agreed the evening before that a very traditional porridge would be the order for us which I prepare and is most enjoyable. I have time for the essential Nespresso coffee and a quick check on my iPhone for any email that may have been received overnight from the hotel that may need a response. All events went well and nothing significant to report.

We depart at 7:00am and with a quick stop to collect some parts we arrive in Rogerstown just at 8:00am to hear the weather forecast on the radio - a bright clear day, temperatures 12 to 19 degrees with westerly winds force 2 to 4. It was currently 12 degrees and the breeze was fresh. Although only going on board to carry out our repair work, the sea and weather forecast go hand in hand regardless; respect for the sea is rule number 1.

To get on board Eithne May we have to use our dinghy and travel down the estuary, the tide was still falling out of the estuary, so we were on board 5 minutes after leaving the slipway. We have to replace what is called the mooring riser (the rope from the boat that attaches to the chain on the mooring anchor block), it is quite a physical and messy task but we get it completed. Why it has to be done, well that is a story in itself for another time.

The sun is shining & the wind is blowing down the estuary a good force 4. It is a beautiful morning and being out on the water is very relaxing as I watch Ellen & Hugh practice their rowing in the dinghy while tendered to the boat. With our task completed we make our way back ashore.

Back at the slipway we see a group of people waiting to go out to sea. I curiously make conversation & inquire as to where they were going. Lambay Island for an excursion I’m told. This beautiful Island six miles off the north Dublin coast is privately owned and previously you could only arrive with permission of the owner Lord Revelstoke. In recent years it has become a tourist attraction with the service operated by Skerries Sea Tours. They have a fast boat “Rib” which takes 15/20minutes to make the 6 mile trip from Rogerstown. Having been on the Island myself sometime back I told them they would thoroughly enjoy it. Not only is it a full working farm it is a Sea Haven for Birds and Wildlife including Wallabies, moved from Dublin Zoo in the 1980’s. If you have the sea legs for the trip I would highly recommend a visit.

We are home by 1:00pm; it is a Sunday after all so the requests from the Kids to drop & collect are a normal part of most weekends. In between I make some time to watch the Open Golf where Irish amateur golfer Paul Dunne was playing exceptionally well in the third round. While taking care of the calls for the “shuttle service” it was quite a relaxing afternoon.

Sunday is probably the day when we all dine together for dinner. During the week, with work, school activities and sport s it is not possible. Sarah has planned that we would have a BBQ and hopefully dine Alfresco, although we tend to use the BBQ grill all year round for grilling meats. My role today is the “Grill Cook”, all the marinating, slow cooking of ribs, preparing salads etc. Sarah has done and I usually attempt to take credit when we sit down.

When we are ready it is decided that it is a little too cool outside so the table is set inside. With all six around the table the conversation & discussion is diverse and sometimes heated but all in good fun.

We decide to relax in the garden after dinner with a glass of wine and a couple of the kids join us. Despite it being July it is quite cool, the kids disappear indoors one by one, we get blankets over our legs but eventually go inside after an hour.  It has been a very enjoyable day.

Daragh O’Neill
General Manager
TALBOT HOTEL, Stillorgan, Dublin