Six months ago, John's brother, Dave, asked us if we'd like to join him and his new bride for a concert in Dublin a week after the wedding. Sure, we said. We'll just pop back to Dublin for the day.
Well as that day approached and we were making slow but steady progress winding our way along the nooks and crannies and over hill and dale, I was trying to figure out how to get us to a train station. We could either do some loops around the south coast and head back to Cork, or we could take a more direct route north and get a train in Killarney. We had ridden out to Mizen head on my first trip here 23 years ago, and we had done parts of the Ring of Kerry on that same trip. Ring of Kerry is probably the busiest set of roads in Ireland in the summer, and therefore was not one we had even planned to ride, so it was easy to just bypass it on this occasion. And John really wanted to avoid the busy city of Cork as well, so we made the decision to aim for Killarney.
After winching our way up multiple sharp climbs the day before, I began to question my route making. Also we had met another couple touring who mentioned the castle/B&B in Castletownshend, so I did a bit of work on the route to take in the castle. With our new plan to head north I also cut out a loop down to Baltimore and out to Misen head.
I will do a technology post soon, but on this day we had some technology fails and John didn't get the new route, which took us some time to realize. We usually ride together, but often John will stop for a few photos, and I may pose for one or two, but then roll along ahead, giving him a chance to do some speed work, catching up. This is when it's important that both of us have the same route!
As I sat at the castle wondering why John hadn't caught up, I sent him a text and looked at my stalking/tracking app on my phone to try and find him. Our GPSs report position periodically and we can use Find my Friends or Find my Phone apps. None is foolproof as it depends on having a signal and sometimes the location is old.
We eventually reconnected, but then got separated again, before realizing we were not following the same route.
We reconnected at this fabulous cafe in a repurposed church in Skibbereen. It's the first time I was in an old church whose views to the outside through the windows were obstructed! I'm so used to ruins that I was surprised to see actual windows.
As we bypassed a few peninsulas, we still found plenty of hills and nice scenery winding our way toward Bantry, where we stopped for lunch at the Box of Frogs cafe.
Can I get dessert first?
BTW, We will get back to the southwest coast at a less busy time of the year. I have mapped out a route in Kerry that crosses the middle and should see less traffic.