Tourism: Sherkin Island
‘No, lads, I can’t stay out, I’m off to Sherkin in the morning’.
After a respectable three glasses of wine, I trotted home to get an ‘early night’ (does it still count after midnight?). The next morning was a mad rush to tend to some cats I was minding for a friend and then gather myself for the trip. Unsure of what the hell one would need for an island jaunt, I packed warm clothes, comfy shoes, socks and knickers; sure, what else is there? A sleepy boyfriend, a Spanish chica and two geriatric dogs greeted me at 8am sharp. We then picked up two more senoritas and began the drive to Baltimore.
We stopped off in Skibbereen to stretch our legs, stock up on some food, and more importantly, get booze. The backwards town that Skibb is, it pissed rain, dampening our dreams of a sunny weekend. Nevertheless, bhí an ghrian ag scoilteadh na gcloch in Baltimore and onto the ferry we hopped at a very reasonable tenner a go.
When we set foot on the island, we saw a mini-bus drive past and waited patiently in the sun for its return. After sadly realising there was more than likely no schedule for same, we started our trek to the hostel. It was hot. We were carrying bags. I was getting cranky. About forty minutes later we arrived, laden down and sweaty, where a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Emma greeted us and checked us in for another reasonable twenty five quid. We dropped our bags, had a cuppa tea and waited for the rest of the group to appear.
As soon as everyone was settled in, off we strolled around the island … and to the pub. But only for one. Seriously.
The Jolly Roger is a curious spot. There were more dogs than people and more than relaxed bar staff, meaning you may have to wait a while for your drink while they chat to the locals.
What I noticed more than anything was the cars on the island. The newest reg I saw was about 1997 and that had the boot held shut with rope. It would be ridiculous to imagine that any of these cars had any form of tax or insurance. But what harm, there wasn’t a fine member of An Garda Siochana in sight.
We trotted back to the hostel to drink some wine and socialise. Apparently there was a meteor shower on that night, but it went way over our heads … get it?! In other words, we missed it. There was food, drink, guitars and dogs keeping everyone entertained for the night and the laugh was had.
The morning saw more food, chats and music before we had to think about our departure. But first we hit the beach – an absolute must for visitors.
In borrowed gear I braved the cold Irish waters with some newly acquired friends. The first few body parts were painful, the feet, the knees, the belly. But they all went numb in turn. The only way to get accustomed to the somewhat torturous cold was to jump in entirely, and then it became really enjoyable, although the bikini top I had on was, let’s say, ill-fitting so I occasionally flashed someone. But soon follows the second worst thing about the beach: trying to get dressed while keeping your remaining dignity. Then follows the worst thing about the beach: the fecking sand. It gets everywhere. It should be some kind of Olympic sport to get dressed after a swim and have little to no sand on your person.
So with sandy socks we began the walk back to the ferry, which was much less painful as we had eaten and drank most of our baggage. Everyone there had failed to tell me that I had burned my nose and forehead; sure it wouldn’t have been an adventure if I didn’t get burned. On to the ferry we went, dogs and all.
I don’t see any excuse not to go to Sherkin. It’s the perfect place to head for a mini holiday. It’s cheap enough to get there and stay there, and it’s certainly an experience. After all lads, it’s in your own country, it’s a sin people don’t explore it more.