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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Posts from the travellers (and tomorrow's ride)

Andy has been in touch from Ireland reckons you guys should here about it...

In Kilkenny at the moment. Gets light very early so I have decided to sent some emails as the dawn chorus of gentle snores waft around the hotel room.
Weather has been very Irish. Soft rain, and a fair bit of it.
Siobhan met us at the airport and we found a very interesting singing/crying maxicab driver. Quite bizarre! Repairable damage to the bikes. Fine on arrival but soon started to rain as we looked for James Joyce, phone sims and something to eat. Dinner was 'home cooked' in the unit.
Wednesday was bus trip north to Tara (meeting place of Celtic kings) and Newgrange (oldest known manmade burial mound in all of the world - 5000+ years old. Very interesting history. No rain on the trip. Fish finger sandwiches for dinner. Yum o.
Thursday was lots more walking and even a free walking tour of Dublin, even stopping at the stature od Thomas Moore, poet and no relation. Ken managed to make contact with us and we found our airb&b apartment run by yet another eccentric Irishman. Another home cooked meal for Siobhan (who doesn't have to spell her name here!) Teen and Trev arrived on cue so we went for another walk, savouring the day light which only starts to dim after10.30.
Friday morning the cyclists went for an hour's spin around Pheonix Park then we all headed over to Trinity College to look at the book of Kells. In the rain again. You get used to it. Thursday was quite a nice day and Dublin was packed, tourists and locals filling the streets and shops.
It all happened on Saturday. Siobhan off to Nice early (experienced traveller that she is, she didn't need her parents to wake her up). We did walk her to the bus stop (not far) and wave her goodbye 'til France for me anyway.
Packed the bikes, bought a bike rack for the sag wagon which t&t picked up from the airport. Then we had no more excuses so just before midday we joined the Dublin cyclists and headed from the Wicklow mountains. Fortunately I couldn't find the route I wanted and we ended up skirting the Wicklows. It was still hilly enough for our loaded bikes. Lunch in the sun at Enisskerry before heading down to beautiful Glendalough and St Kevin's ruins. T&t had organised b&b accommodation. Post ride Guinness was the first one we had earned. Only 55k after our late. Lovely dinner in the mellow evening.
Ditched the panniers into the back up Megane and heads down for the day. Glo forced us to stop at Avoca at the yarn mill and for a look at the Ballykissangel set. Overcast with lots of soft rain. Used some very minor roads today and managed to stay on track but finished on the N10 into Kilkenny. Cars wait for us on the narrow roads, once again much better than back home. Made the hotel at 6.30 with 123k on the computer. Some short steep stuff on the secondary roads but otherwise undulating.
Will send the gear on to Glencar and ride unencumbered today as well.

This weeks mail…..

Kilkenny was a fascinating place, perfect little laneways and lots of very imposing churches for our after dinner stroll. Earlyish start in the morning with a couple of laps of the town to show Ken St Canice's church and then to find the way out. More soft rain made us wet for the morning. Lunch was toasties and hot choc in a pub in Urlingford. More rain meant no views all the way to the very impressive rock of Cashel, another old church/fort. Managed to work out how to fit the bike rack to the car and fit 3 bikes with racks without doing too much damage to anything and then it was off to the wilds of the Kerry mountains. Arrived at the foot of Ireland largest mountain around 8. Turned on heating and Ken lit the sodding fire to give us a bit more wamth.
Still ordinary weather the next morning so did some sightseeing with t&t as well as hitting the free wi-fi cafe and doing a bit of shopping for food. The house was so remote that our internet connection did not work. A guiness at the Glencar local was enough to encourage G and I to walk back with a few diversions along the way (dogs, pubs, very dark forests, tracks that did not go where they should have etc). Had to call for the rescue vehicle. Ken managed to get a few k's done on the bike.
Wednesday was the big one but we didn't realise it when we headed out past Lough Caragh. Lovely downhill to the Ring of Kerry. Stopped at a bike shop for a very grumpily delivery of a piece of cable outer. Another big lunch in a pub and then down to Valencia Island at the end of the Peninsula. Took the ferry to Knightsbridge then cruised around the slate quarries and various cliffs. Over the bridge to Portmagee and absentmindedly turned right instead of left. Great views of the cliffs, the Skellig islands and Puffin island. Turned right again for a monster climb which ended with us all walking up, and we didn't even have panniers! Back to the main road and a stop for a cup of sweet tea before the last 40k back home. We were not looking forward to this because we had already driven it and it looked bloody hard, and was. The pass was only 304m but we had come from sea level and had already ridden 100k's. Freezing cold on top after a reasonable Irish day. Celebrated with a G at the climbers inn. Then home to find Teena putting tea on the table.
Thursday provided shitty (that's Irish for wet-Steve) weather again for our planned trip to visit Liam's parents in Leap. The prospect of 80+k into a headwind over two passes made the choice easy. We would all take the car. Had a great lunch with John and Maureen, as well as afternoon tea and a tour of the local highlights.
Friday, we gave Teen andTrev a night on their own and we were back to the hard work of riding with the panniers. Early start meant that we did 40k in the rain to Tralee by midmorning for our toasties. Back roads were undulating to the ferry at Tarbert across the Shannon River. Ten more k to Buggles b&b in Kilrush - 100+k done by 4. Lots of hedgerows, off and on drizzle, no Australian drivers to be seen!
Early breakfast was at 8am so the weather had cleared by the time we rode out of town. Give the troops the choice of direct route (50k) or the route taking in Loop Head (100+k) and they decided on the later - couldn't say I didn't warn them. Wandered through various fishing villages, the closest pub to New York (Keating's) and back lanes to eventually get to the lighthouse at Loop Head. Celebrated with an apple and more back roads to Kilkee for a late lunch in a holiday town with the beach goers doing there best in what were fairly ordinary conditions. Top temp of maybe 18 in summer. Brrrrr.


Ride is on at 9am from Lancefield. Let me know if you can make it.

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