Royal Cork Yacht Club
William O’Brien, the 9th Lord Inchiquin, and his five cohorts had the maritime inspiration to coin it The Water Club of the Harbour of Cork.
Now, a name-change and couple of port-swaps later, it’s one of Ireland’s most innovative and welcoming clubs with a membership totalling around 1,500 with 280 berths, which regularly hosts major world, European and Irish championships. If the planning authorities were a bit more lenient, it could extend its marina to 500 berths. Recently it elected Deirdre Tingle, it’s first lady rear admiral, who is in charge of dinghies. It has three representatives in the Optimist World/European team and one of its sailors – Peter O’Leary – along with Stephen Milne has secured a place at the forthcoming Olympics in the Star class. Always interested in recruiting new members, the club is involved in a primary school initiative locally where students are being taught sailing as part of their sixth class sports curriculum. From July 12th to 18th, Cork Week – the popular biennial sailing regatta and Ireland’s biggest – will be in town bringing with it sailors from all over the world to race six courses in 20-odd classes in what many refer to as one of the great fun and party regattas anywhere, once the serious competition has concluded on the water.
While the Royal Cork Yacht Club has full dining and bar facilities. there are a number of other options around Crosshaven, the peaceful sailing village in West Cork, that lies guard where the Owenabue River enters the sea at the mouth of Cork harbour. One of the landmark must-see pubs is Croinin’s on the Point Road harbour-front which, while a popular haunt for sailors, is also home to the Mad Fish seafood restaurant. Next door to the pub is Thecla’s gallery and craft shop which is well stocked with all sorts of craftwork by local artists including handmade candles, pottery, children’s clothing, paintings and jewellery.
Elsewhere the Moonduster Inn and Restaurant – also highly thought-of on the waterfront – Fusion, The Admiral Drake and the China Sea provide an eclectic choice for visitors eager to soak up the atmosphere, particularly around Cork Week. For those more interested in putting together their own meals, there’s the farmer’s market every Saturday in the village square.
Accommodation-wise, there isn’t really luxury on a grand scale with most offerings down the guesthouse avenue or small family hotels that have been in business a long time. A selection of what’s available can be checked out at www.crosshaven.ie and includes directions to most of those featured.