O Captain, My Captain! Self-Cruising the Emerald Isle

By Megan E. Kennedy
  |  Gorp.com
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I grew up in a small town nestled between serene bays, windy rivers, and the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, a love for all things aquatic was innate. By the age of thirteen, I had perfected the art of convincing boat owners that I was an expert captain, sailor, crewmate, deckhand, or whatever it was I thought they may need on board. Nevermind the fact that I couldn't keep straight which end was stem and which was stern, or had a terrible time securing motorboats to the docks, or couldn't tie a knot, set a sail, or rig a jib (whatever that means!). Acting with supreme confidence, I was sure that I could figure out all the specifics once on board.

So when the opportunity arose to go self-cruising on the inland waterways of Ireland, I didn't hesitate for a moment. Of course I can do it! Except, well—what the hell is self-cruising, anyway?

Although relatively unknown to many Americans, self-cruising-chartering your own mini-yacht is a well-established way to vacation in many parts of Europe. And Ireland, with its obvious connection to water, seems a most logical place to disembark on this truly unique adventure. Luxury cruisers are approximately 33 feet long x 12 feet wide, and can sleep up to eight people. I was shocked to see how spacious the boats really are: Their ingenious design allows for several sleeping areas, a kitchenette (complete with a gas oven, refrigerator, and cabinets stocked with pots and pans), bathroom with shower, and a large 'salon' area. Several charter companies along the Shannon River rent cruisers for weeklong excursions or three-day vacations—the perfect compliment to a longer stay in Ireland.

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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