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Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Glengariff to Killarney - Ireland 2016

We arrived in Glengariff just as it was starting to rain. This rain was forecast to continue through the night and throughout the next day. We are in Ireland afterall! Despite the dire weather, this was one of my favorite days.

We had three big climbs planned. The first was over the Healy Pass. While all the tour buses headed down the main road along the coast, we'd get the climb this pass in peace. Healy Pass is one we had done on my first trip in 1993 and I had fond memories. It is a gorgeous climb on a tiny one lane wide road.
 

The battery in John's camera died and his spare battery decided not to work. At some point after descending Healy I handed over my RE. I'm not great at taking photos when climbing, or descending for that matter! And it wasn't like there was much to see! Still it was beautiful in its own way. So apologies for the lack of photos on Healy.

We reached the far side and I spotted a cafe/garden off to the left. Without saying a word, I turned up the drive. After 23 years together, I thought John would know! He turned around a minute later.we then had a nice road along the shore heading into Kenmare. From there, we would skip most of the craziness that is the Ring of Kerry, aiming for the quietest way across.

 
But first, hot soup and Paris Brest pastries would provide fuel for the upcoming climbs. The sun even poked out long enough to make outside dining possible, but it was only temporary.

 

The climb up to Moll's Gap was on a bigger road, but traffic wasn't bad, likely helped by the weather. But when we turned onto the Ring of Kerry road at the top, we were a bit shocked to be warned that oncoming vehicles might be in the middle of the road!

We were on this road for maybe half a kilometer, and I kid you not, we saw three giant buses. I'm certainly happy that all those folks aren't in separate cars, but I wouldn't mind smaller buses on these twisty mountain roads!


Fortunately, we turned off onto a tiny road down into the black valley, and didn't see another vehicle for ages.


 

I'm surprised my seat bag looks so full. I'm wearing most of my on-bike stuff here!

 

 

 

I can easily tell from the photos whether we were going up or down. As soon as the road pitched up, I warmed up and off came the gloves and jacket and arm warmers. This was the climb up the Gap of Dunloe. We'd missed this climb on our tour in 1993 when we broke a freewheel on the Ballaghisheen Pass and had to coast down into Kilorgin to buy a replacement. The road up the Gap of Dunloe was unpaved in those days, but now has a great surface. It was a joy to climb, but the descent has to be one of my all time favorites, both for the scenery and the swoopy road. 

 

And the weather made it all the better! A friend climbed it a few days later and complained of traffic, so maybe the weather helped with that too!

 

 

 

 

Lower down, we started seeing folks walking and then this horse and buggy. That was it for traffic!

We rolled into Killarney and found it completely packed. Oh right, Saturday night. We checked the train schedule and decided to take the train back to Dublin that evening, rather than search endlessly for accommodation in Killarney.

We had a great day in Dublin, and then joined Dave and Siobhan for the concert before taking the train back to Killarney Monday morning to resume our tour.


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