'All I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by' - Sea Fever by John Masefield.
The sea has a way of getting to you. A siren call that for a lot people is impossible to resist. Once tasted there's no going back. It's a part of you and you it. It's mysterious, vast, beautiful and, yes, dangerous. It commands, nay demands, respect and is no less alluring for it. Being honest, that's probably part of the appeal.
We're surrounded by it here in the Kingdom. The majestic Atlantic our constant companion. It speaks to us and draws us in from far and wide. No question its charms lured Pat Lawless to Ballyferriter, to Gortadoo more precisely, in the 60s.
The Limerick native made Corca Dhuibhne a home from home, building a timber chalet that served as summer home for him and his family. Looking back, Pat's son Peter can draw a direct line from that decision to the life he's led and the journey he's about to embark upon.
It was in Kerry that young Peter's love of the sea was born. It was those summers in Kerry, those Easter holidays, those trips down to west Kerry every chance his family could get, that made him a sailor.
Without that, Lawless wouldn't now be preparing for the challenge of his life: a solo voyage, non-stop, unassisted around the world, via the five great capes using traditional tools (a sextant and paper charts).
"We grew up sailing, we grew up in the water," he explains.
"My dad had a Naomhóg - you know the currachs - and we used go to the Blaskets every year and all of that. We were always on the water or we were fishing. We camped on the Blaskets every year for a week or so before it was popular! There was no one there. When we were kids we had the whole island to ourselves.
"We just grew up with it and if you grow up with golfing you get into golfing I presume. We just grew up with the water and nature. I got my first boat when I was twelve I think. I got it for my confirmation. I just love it. Some things are just in you. I love sailing. I love the water and I've sailed all my life.
"I'm a professional sailor. I sail for a living. I deliver boats for people locally and internationally. Say you bought a boat in France and you wanted it brought back, I'd sail it to Ireland for you or from Spain or wherever.
"This was the next step then. The Everest of sailing is to sail non-stop around the world. To be the first Irishman to do it is an extra bonus. It's a record breaker as well as a personal achievement."
Since those early years, the Dingle peninsula has always had a place in Lawless' heart. When he left school at 16 he moved back to Ballyferriter to fish lobsters with local man Ger Kavanagh before moving a couple of years later to live and work in London.
The bond with west Kerry remained strong, however. Always back and forth whenever he could before eventually moving back here full-time. Peter lives now in Annascaul with his wife Kathy. His son PJ lives in Killarney, while his two daughters Emily and Rachel live in Limerick. All are on board, pardon the pun, with Peter's voyage.
"Well it wouldn't be happening if my wife hadn't agreed," the 53-year-old says.
"She encouraged me. You couldn't [go otherwise]. How could you? You'd have no wife! She encouraged me. She knows how much I love it. She just made me promise to come back the same. My daughter Rachel is on my support committee and is a huge driving force in the whole campaign.
"My daughter Emily is hugely supportive. My son PJ thinks it's very cool. My brothers, my sister, everyone's behind me. I'm blown away with the response, and the help and support I'm getting from strangers is incredible, you know?"
It's certainly a voyage to capture the imagination. There's something romantic about the notion. Man and boat, wind and sail. A stripped back existence oh so much different to our-day to-day lives. The solitude alone would be hard to get your head around.
"I must be a bit odd because I enjoy it," Lawless explains.
"I don't sit still. I'm always doing something. We don't watch TV at home, very seldom anyway, maybe a Netflix movie. So I'm always doing something. On a boat you're always busy. You're always repairing something, you're hooking, you're cleaning, you're a doctor. You have to be everything for yourself. I enjoy the peace.
"You can put everything where you want and do everything you want. You'd want to be able to be into your own company. I get along with myself if you know what I mean? I enjoy my own company. Now I've never done eight or ten months on my own so it will be a challenge.
"There's another angle to this story as well in that I'm eight years sober as a recovered alcoholic. I don't know whether I want to broadcast that, but I'm proud of the fact I gave up drink. I learned a lot in that period of my own mind and my own capabilities.
"So it's not a worry to me to be eight or ten months alone. I don't know if that makes sense. I gave up the drink. I used to drink too much and I gave it up, but you learn an awful lot about yourself when you do something like that."
A definite inspiration is his late father Pat, who in the 90s sailed solo around the world, albeit not non-stop like Peter is going to attempt. Stories of his adventures certainly sparked the imagination.
"My dad would have told me stories of coming up along the coast of South America and he stopped at the Las Perlas islands and he said they came out to him in dug-out canoes. I mean that appealed to me when I was young," he says.
"Not many people would get to see that - those days are nearly gone. Now obviously I'm going solo non-stop. I'm not going to see anything really. I'm not going to see much land. I'm not going to see any people for eight to ten months, because of the way I've chosen to do it.
"There's a good possibility I won't see anything. It's funny - the line of sight at sea isn't huge. If you were looking at your chart plotter, which shows your position, and you could see Tenerife and you're thinking 'I'll be able to see that soon' you won't be able to see it until you're really up on top of it and Tenerife is quite high.
"A lot of people get very disappointed sailing around Cape Horn because it's foggy they never get to see it and some people get a really nice day... There's a possibility I might not see anything after the Skelligs!"
The plotted course is one of the traditional shipping routes back to the days of tall ships and clippers. Down the Atlantic, around South Africa, along the Indian Ocean and around South America before heading back up through the Atlantic and home. It's quite a demanding route.
"The tricky part with Cape Horn [in Tierra del Fuego] is that you've got to go right down to fifty [latitude]. You're right down in the wild area and it's a thousand miles to go down there. You're not just flying down around there. I'm only doing seven or eight miles an hour at a time.
"To do a thousand miles you're a good while going around it, so the chances of getting severe weather down there are quite high. That's why it's famous. Once I get around there I'll be well happy.
"[It will be] quite cold, sleet and snow. Not much further down you've the Antarctic. It's cold down there. Cold will be the problem. Staying warm, food - getting good quality food to keep up your energy."
The potential for hitting storms is pretty high to say the least. It's not something you can prepare for necessarily. You just have to put a lifetime of experience on the seas to use and, after that, hope for the best.
"I was delivering a boat from Greece to Ireland, a 40-foot yacht and we were in the Mediterranean," Lawless recalls.
"The Mediterranean is normally very calm and lovely, but this was the worst weather I'd ever experienced. It was two days and two nights and it was pretty bad. The waves were breaking into the cockpit, they were breaking over the boat, and there was nothing we could do.
"We were too far away from land. We eventually got into the Balearic Islands. We stopped in Minorca. That was bad now. While you're there and while you're in it you've just got to keep the water out of the boat and you keep the mast up if you can.
"You do the best you can to keep everything going. Your instinct - your survival instinct kicks in big time. And your experience, don't get me wrong, you need experience. All the sails were down. The boat was just running on its own with the wind.
"I'm going to experience quite a lot of that. I'm sailing the route that... after I turn left from South Africa, the route is called the roaring forties. They call them that because the wind is always roaring! Below that is the furious fifties and they say below that there's no God!
"So, yes, I'm going to meet quite severe storms, even hurricane force winds at times. I've an exceptionally good boat that I picked especially for this reason. Like anything there's a lot of luck involved. How severe the systems will be, how severe the weather will be.
"I'll have weather forecasts that they didn't have years back. I might be able to [skirt around]. It's not often, but you might be able to sail just south as fast as you can or north as fast as you can. I'm going to be hammered by a good few of them and you hope for the best."
Given those challenges you'd imagine you'd want every tool at your disposal. Lawless, however, is seeking that stripped back experience, sailing at its most pure.
"One of my exams that I had to do was called the Yachtmaster Ocean," he explains.
"Part of that is that you still have to be able to use sextant and paper charts, I suppose primarily because if the instruments went on the boat you'd still be able to get back. I actually liked it. I really liked it. I grew up using paper charts before we had electronic devices so the sextant was just an addition to that.
"My dad used to have the sextant and I'd see my dad practicing with it. I actually still have his sextant here. I'm going to use that on my trip. He gave me a present of it before he died. So I decided to use that.
"Now safety will come first and I have all the up-to-date navigation equipment that I'm not going to have turned on, but if an emergency arises I'm not a purist if you know what I mean? I'm not going to be silly about it. I really wanted to sail the world using the traditional tools.
"I will have a few communications. I will have satellite, I'll have internet. I'm hoping to, it's all down to the money. I'll have a very limited system where I can email, a very small email... you could compress a photograph and send it, but it would take a while. I'll be able to communicate with my wife daily or my family or whoever.
"Now - depending on sponsorship, and I'm talking to a company who might give me a better speed for sending videos - you could do a Vlog, which would be very cool. Worst case scenario I'll have basic internet. I can send photographs and blogs and stuff like that if I like.
"I also have an SSB radio that means I can communicate long distances, the sea version of a ham radio. You can get weather forecasts on that and people can talk to you onshore and give you weather updates, it's a very big CB. I won't have a mobile or anything like that."
Life on the boat - the Waxwing, a Rival 41 sailing craft - relies on discipline and preparation. Although not necessarily upon routine, as Lawless explains.
"I'll keep things running perfectly if I can and it's quite important to mind yourself as well," he says.
"You can only run the boat perfectly if you're mentally and physically fit yourself. So it's quite important to keep an eye on how many hours you sleep because at sea you'll kind of eat when you're feeling hungry. You never have a lunch time, you don't have a tea time, you don't have breakfast because you could be up at 4am. So you tend to eat when you're hungry and drink coffee when you feel you need it.
"There's no routine. It's not a real routine. I have to record all that, believe it or not. If I lie down for an hour I record that into my log, because, as I say, you've got to keep yourself fit and healthy. After that everything falls into place. The boat will keep going once you keep her going."
It's another six months before Lawless sets off and in the meantime he's hoping to raise additional funding, hoping for sponsorship for the voyage. He's also got a GoFundMe page - gofundme.com/f/peter-lawless-solo-nonstop-circumnavigation - to help him on his way.
"People I don't know are adding to it," he says.
"There's one guy who made quite a big donation and I got a contact for him and made contact with him... I said it did two things. It helped me buy stuff, but I said it was 'huge faith in your confidence in me' and he said 'of course'. It just builds you up, apart from people giving you advice.
"It's such a big task I've taken on, the support is great. It keeps you driving, it keeps you going."
It's a once-in-a-lifetime trip. A journey for the ages. Exciting, thrilling, and, yes, a little bit nerve-racking.
"If you aren't nervous, there's something wrong with you," Lawless explains.
"I'd have a very healthy respect for the ocean and if you weren't apprehensive I'd say you'd be cocky and you'd get in trouble. I've been at it a long time and I've see what it can do and what it can break. The power of the sea is immense.
"I'd be nervous, but I'd be very confident in my own ability and especially in my boat. The boat is incredible. She was built in the 80s so the hull is quite thick in her. They were overbuilt back then. She's an incredible sea boat and I'm replacing most of the equipment, so I'm giving myself every chance.
"I have a lot of emergency equipment which is vital. I have a device called a EPRB [emergency position radio beacon]. If I trigger that it sends a message to the satellites that will relay that to the nearest boats with my details and my exact location.
"There's lots of different stuff like that. They wouldn't be able to fly out but there could be a ship nearby that could help you. There is good stuff. I have AIS [Automatic Identification System] that [means] other boats will see me. It's like the new version of radar."
Being out there on your own on the high seas, it's not something most of us will ever experience or - truth be told - will ever even want to either. That's what makes those who do all the more remarkable. That's what makes them so fascinating to us landlubbers.
For more information on Peter's voyage and for information on how you can help him on his way you can check out his website at: https://www.peterlawlesssolocircumnavigation.com/.