Friday, August 20, 2010

Ireland 2010: Anascaul and Fly Fishing

As a avid fly fisherman, traveling to Europe, and in particular Ireland, without at least a day on the water would be a disappointing holiday.  I carried along an abbreviated set of fly fishing tackle with the intention of doing some fishing in mind.  The Dingle peninsula is not a major area for fresh water fly fishing but there are loughs and creeks with trout.  The local tourist information center suggested Lough Anascaul (The Irish name is Abhainn an Sca'il), so we planned an outing and picnic to the lake.
The creek and bridge in the village of Anascaul
We have been to Anascaul on previous visits to Ireland, but mostly just a quick stop on  our way.  Anascaul is a small village east of Dingle, with a beautiful creek running through it (flowing out of Lough Anascaul).  The noteriety of the village is due to its most famous resident, Tom Crean who was a member on three Antarctic expeditions, and heroic member of both Robert Scott's British Antarctic Expedition (Terra Nova) of 1910-1913 on the ship Terra Nova and Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Exhibition of 1914-1917 on the ship Endurance.  He was also a member of Scott's failed first expedition Discovery in 1901-1904.  He returned to Annascaul following his naval and exploration career to open a tavern called the South Pole Inn, which is still open today.

Anascaul Lough--  A small lake above the village Anascaul.  The quiet of picnics and fishing here are interrupted only by occasional bleating of sheep on the far shore.
Lough Anascaul is above the village by a few kilometers, below a small cirque.  We stayed only a few hours but had a wonderful picnic and outing.  Isabelle was able to land her first trout--  hopefully planting a seed of enjoying the outdoors and fishing for future years.
Nate trying his hand at fly casting for the brown trout in Lough Anascaul.
Tom Crean--  A monument to Antarctic explorer Tom Crean is found in Anascaul's small park.
South Pole Inn--  Tom Crean's tavern in Anascaul.  The tavern has a beautiful location, on the creek just past the bridge into town.  Of course, we stopped and had a pint of Guinness before making our way back to Dunquin at the end of the day.
South Pole Inn--  There are many photos and newspaper articles on the walls honoring the explorer Tom Crean.
There was a group of locals fishing at the lake as well, using spinning gear.  Shortly after we landed the second trout (both were very small-- see picture below)  I noted that one of the fishermen went to his car and and switched to using a fly rod (he was a good caster too!).  Perhaps the ability to target and cast to rising trout with a fly rod brought him back to his senses!
Irish Trout--  Isabelle with her first catch (assist, anyway).  Not very large but a beautifully colored Brown trout.

I did not bring wading gear with me, and decided to get some "Wellies" while in Dingle.  These worked out pretty well for the lough.  While in the shop, the sales girl, in the best Irish accent asked me, "So are ye plannin' to do some farmin' while you're on holiday here in Ireland?"
Not to be outdone, Isabelle got a pair of her own Wellies, in hot pink,  from grandma.


  1. I have to post again today.. I am loving your Ireland posts a TON!
    Wellies and a Guineess and fly fishing.. all in one day? Heaven! Certainly you have arrived in Heaven!
    My favorite photo is the one Elaine caught of Nate taking a photo of his daughter! So darn precious!!! What a great daddy:)

    It just so happens I own a Powell Fly Rod... with my name on it even! Lucky girl, eh???

  2. Thanks-- I've just posted one I started earlier and got sidetracked.

    A personalized Powell rod? You are lucky, particularly if it is one of the older ones-- they are valuable. But either way they are fine fly fishing tools. Sad story though about the E.C. Powell company.