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Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Monday, November 3, 2014

Ireland - Sligo (Yeat's Country)

I admit it. I was starting to grow weary of the rain. I looked at the weather forecast, and determined that we'd need to head up to Northern Ireland if we held out any hope of getting photos without puddles. I fired off another email to our friend, Constance Winters, to see if her schedule had freed up any, but she was still swamped. So we didn't even have a proper excuse to cross the border. 

However, since David had joined us and we had access to his car, we decided to take advantage and hit a few of the farther flung areas that normally would us take a few days to even get to by bike or train. And we'd just get good use of out of our rain gear.


We mapped out a ride out of Sligo and loaded up the car. We actually had sunshine and rainbows while driving, but just as we pulled into Sligo town, the heavens opened. We quickly found a coffee shop and decided to have lunch. The sun poked back out so we decided we better make hay and go for a bike ride.

We didn't get very far. The light was brilliant and John had to stop every 10 meters to take yet another picture of Benbulbin. Benbulbin is a very distinct mountain that dominates the landscape north of Sligo town. As we headed out of town along a series of steep rollers, John found a series of better views from which to stop and capture the perfect shot.

I've accused David of being a famewhore, as he indulges John's constant photo-stops, by riding back and forth - up and down steep grades, just so John can have a cyclist in the perfect shot with the perfect angle of light. I'll pose once or twice, but David will ride the same stretch of road repeatedly until John has filled an SD card! However, even the ever-accommodating brother noted that daylight was limited and we had a long ride mapped out.

While waiting for the photographer to catch up again at a turn, David and I scanned the map and decided we could cut our planned ride short, and give John plenty of chances to take more photos.

But then we turned into Drumcliff, and the cause was truly lost. Without realizing it, we were doing an Irish literary tour. After spending the previous week in James Joyce country, we were now in William Butler Yeats country. We wandered around the churchyard at Drumcliff to find the gravestone of W.B. Yeats. Then we took another break at the nearby coffee shop. At this point, we realized we were not making any forward progress, so I pulled out my phone and checked out the prices for accommodation in Sligo. I was surprised to find quite reasonable prices at the very fancy looking Glasshouse. So we decided to head straight back to Sligo and we'd just attempt this loop again the next day.






David and I joked at breakfast that we should at least make it 9 miles without a photo stop, since we were starting out the same way. What we didn't take into account was that the light would be at a different angle in the morning that the previous afternoon.

Fortunately I have gotten to know the photographer over the years, so I had plotted two routes, one longer and one shorter, so we would have options depending on his mood and the light.

We quickly realized we'd need to take the shorter option.



It was another one of those changeable Irish days, where if you weren't happy about the weather, it would only take a few minutes before it would be different.





I even got into the act and snapped a few shots!

A rare shot of the photographer

















10 comments:

  1. John needs to practice shooting from the bike without stopping. :-)

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    1. John does have a point and shoot for on the move shots, but he brought more of a proper camera on this trip. At least he only brought *one* lens this time. He had two lenses on our trip in the Cévennes a couple of years ago, and much time was spent stopping to change the lens!

      Of course he'll also tell you that some of the time to take photos on this trip including taking off gloves and wringing out the water first!

      I OTOH just have a tiny point and shoot. I think it's pretty obvious which photos are mine and which are his. I just include a few my photos so there are at least one of two pictures of John!

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  2. Stunning! I really want to take the bikes out to western Ireland soon but I keep getting distracted/lured by trips to the Continent instead! Maybe in 2016.

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    1. There were certainly a few times on this trip when I questioned why we weren't in warn sunny Italy instead!

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    2. I've done warm sunny Italy... got heatstroke! Not to say I wouldn't go again...

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  3. Fantastic pictures. Captures sligo perfectly. We love sligo which is turning into the outdoor capital of Ireland. Check us out at www.outdoorfitnesssligo.com or www.Facebook.com/outdoorfitnesssligo

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    1. Peter, Thank you to the pointer to such a great resource. I will check it out more thoroughly before my next trip!

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  4. Your Irish adventure series with the lovely narratives and wonderful photos is truly a treat. You guys really have the ability to render beautiful portraits of Ireland and the unrivaled cycling venues it offers. Thanks for sharing. Jim Duncan

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    1. Jim, You are too kind. It's very easy to show Ireland in a good light!

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  5. Kathy and I also happened across Yeats history, stumbling across Thoor Ballylee on our drive from Galway to Limerick. It was his family residence for some time, and is now a museum. Highly recommended.

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