Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Derry to Omagh - Ireland 2016

SadiB looked at maps for hours in Derry, trying to decide where we'd go next. I had tossed out the possibility of heading up to Giants Causeway and continuing around in Northern Ireland and then making may way back down the east coast, but as SadiB tried to find quiet ways around Belfast, she just saw way more congestion that I wanted to deal with.

Also I had missed a few interesting spots on the way up, and wanted to hit some of the mountains a little ways inland from the coast, so I decided to head back south and explore a bit more in these areas.

In addition to highlighting the busier roads, making it easy to pick quiet ones, the OSM Cycle maps also color code cycle routes and I'd found their roads to be just my style. 

So SadiB mapped out a route that crisscrossed the Sperrin mountains following a couple of marked cycle routes. The ride proved gorgeous and had plenty of vertical. What it lacked was services, meaning I didn't have lunch til almost 4pm. I quickly realized that when I get away from the touristy areas and the coast, I need to start packing snacks and lunch. 

But I really don't know why this area is not popular with the tourists. The scenery was fabulous.



Saturday, July 30, 2016

Moville to Derry - Ireland 2026

I had arranged to have lunch with a friend in Derry. Derry is a short easy ride from Moville, and I figured I'd have a nice rest day, that is, until she told me I must to the GrianĂ¡n Ailigh, a very well preserved ringfort. I changed my plans and decided to head a bit more west, taking in another climb before heading for the ringfort.

The forecast had suggested I could pack away my rain jacket, but that quickly proved wrong. The clouds made for lovely dramatic photos at least.



I've joked a bit about SadiB, my alter ego on ridewithgps. SadiB sits up late at night planning the route for the next day. She finds the tiny white lanes, and seeks those that cross the most closely spaced contour lines. Then I download the route onto my GPS and follow SadiB's route the next day. SadiB and I are quickly becoming less and less friendly. She sends me up brutal climbs. She seems to be able to locate wind farms with ease. These, of course, are located at the tops of steep climbs, and uhhmmm, there's a good reason there are so many wind turbines here!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Buncrana to Moville - Ireland 2016

From my very earliest days with John, I remember hearing stories about the Gap of Mamore. It's like a ski jump, he said. It's so steep, he said. Anytime the subject of hard climbs came up, Gap of Mamore got a mention. So it has long been on the bucket list. But it's way up in Donegal at the north end of Ireland, on the way to Malin Head, the most northerly point. And Donegal is one of the most awkward places to get to from Dublin. It's either a long bike ride, or a train journey, followed by another train journey, followed by a long bike ride, or it's a long bus ride, followed by a long bike ride.

So this year, I made it a goal. I would do a long bike ride and then hopefully be well trained to climb this beast. 

I'd been watching the weather forecasts for several days, trying to time it to have the best weather. Of course, the weather forecasts are painfully inaccurate here, so it really was going to be a crap shoot.

I arrived in Buncrana the night before rather later than I'd hoped. I missed an earlier ferry by mere minutes, and had to wait an hour and a half to get the last ferry across. I found a B&B after a few tries and was warned to not waste time if I wanted dinner, since nearby places were about to close. I didn't have to be told twice. I dumped my bag and ran across the street in my cycling gear.

As I looked at maps trying to decide the best way to go, my waitress noticed and said her husband had cycled it a few times. She checked with him on the best way up and gave me directions.

I'd built it up so much that I barely slept. It was like the night before Mt. Washington!

The next morning dawned bright and sunny, but the breeze was coming from the north. Ah a nice headwind!

I headed out to Dunree and took in the sights there before turning onto the tiny steep road out of town. There are actually several ways to approach the climb, all coming together a mile or so from the top.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Gordahork to Buncrana - Ireland 2016

After a couple of days staying in one place, I grew restless. Gap of Mamore was calling. And I needed to head in that direction. The weather looked like it might even cooperate. It would be cloudy for another day and then sunny on the day I planned to climb Mamore. But I'm getting ahead of myself. First I have to get to Buncrana.

I bid my hostesses farewell and aimed the bike east. My first diversion would be a loop around Horn Head. The day started cloudy, but soon the sun was making brief appearances. If the clouds burned off I should get a great view at Horn Head.


I may just have to take their word for it, regarding the view

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Glenveagh - Ireland 2016

My friend, Jenny, gave me grief for calling the Benbulben ride a rest day. Well she should approve of the way I spent yesterday. I slept late, had a relaxing breakfast, worked on some blogposts, and then took a short spin to visit a friend who moved here recently. The two of us drank coffee and talked for ages. At some point, hunger drove us to take a short spin into the village for lunch. It was so great to see this friend after almost three years and a lifetimes worth of changes to both our lives. While we email and text regularly, there is nothing like a real face to face chat. I love having new places to visit when my friends move away. But I still miss going out for coffee and lunch and bike rides together. So this was a real treat.

Now today, I made up for that rest day. But I have to blame my friend. The route is hers. She promised great views and awesome roads.


I'm sure there is a view out there somewhere!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Ardara to Gortahork - Ireland 2016

One of my hopes on this trip was to catch up with a friend who lives in Donegal. I sent her a text saying I thought I would be in the area that night, and she replied saying she'd made arrangements for me to stay with some friends nearby, her place being too small for guests. This was a kind and gracious offer, but it meant I had a long ride and people expecting me.

Naturally SadiB, my alter-ego on ridewithgps, routed me over quite a few climbs nod through a wind farm, with a gate at the far end. As I turned onto the road leading up to the wind turbines, I was actually turning away from an angry barking dog, so I really did not want to turn back. There were no signs indicating private or dead end, but the ... Uhmmm ... Road was a bit rocky. And I got right up next to the turbines. It was very cool, and noisy!

Then I reached the end of the road and found a fence and gate and sign. I figured if they had a sign here, that they'd prefer I climb over the gate, rather than backtrack across the place I wasn't supposed to be. So I got to appreciate exactly how light or heavy my gear is.

Then it was on an up another endless climb down to another gorgeous but empty beach.

The sun came out shortly before I reached my destination for the night, and I quickly realized why my friend has made this her home. It is just gorgeous.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Killybegs to Ardara - Ireland 2016

I was so impressed with our brief visit to Donegal in 2014 that I started planning a return trip right away.  Naturally, the first place I had to come back to was the Slieve League Cliffs.

The weather was slightly better than our previous visit, where we huddled behind a sign and then quickly took photos and headed down. This time at least I made it up and back down to the cafe before the torrential downpour. Then I spent well over an hour in Ti Linn with soup and coffee and scones waiting out the rain. I'm okay if it starts while I'm on the road, but there is nothing harder than leaving the warmth of a cafe to head out into the rain!

Then it was on to Glencolumbkille, where my jaw dropped when I rode around the corner to see yet more impressive cliffs. It's the unexpected sights that have been the most impressive.

Although the views descending the Glengesh Pass were as fabulous as I'd remembered! Someday I must climb up it from the Ardara side so I have more time to take in the view!


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sligo to Killybegs - Ireland 2016

I spent ages online trying to find accomodation for my next night.i initially thought it should be no problem on a Sunday. I first looked in at the nice hotel in Killybegs where we stayed last time, but they were full. And then nothing else showed as available in Killybegs. Next I looked in Donegal town, again with no luck. A few other searches proved fruitless, until it seems someone's temporary reservation in Killybegs expired and a room popped up there on my search. I quickly reserved it and mapped out a route.

It was to be a long ride, so I wanted an early start, so I didn't lollygag too much at breakfast. Looking back for photos it seems it wasn't the most inspiring of days as I have almost no pictures.

However it is a day that sticks in my memory, thanks to an aggressive little dog, who took a bite out of my leg right in front of his oblivious owner. As I let out a scream, the man asked if I was OK. I said "no your dog just bit me" I had slowed down to check a turn. I was trying to figure out if the road I was planning to take was private or if the sign was for the house. As I was coasting, the dog came around from behind and sunk his teeth in.

I asked if the dog was current on vaccinations and was assured he was. I suppose in retrospect I should have asked to see documentation, but I just wanted to get away. I backtracked a bit, washed out the wound with water, and applied some antibiotic cream.

After a good clean up in the shower, I applied a Compeed-like plaster. This was good for keeping road muck out of the wound, but a week later, when I finally took it off, there was still a good puncture in my calf. It finally started to heal once I left it open. It was a real shock though. John got bit near Mt. Leinster and then me. In all our trips here, this is the only time we've had bad dog encounters. Sadly it has caused me to yell at any dog that tries to herd me along the road!


Friday, July 22, 2016

Sligo - Benbulben Circuit - Ireland 2016

A couple of years ago, John and his brother, Dave, and I went on an unsuccessful search of good weather in Ireland in November. We started in Wetport and rode through torrential rain that came down sideways and left us shivering, wet and cold. My weather app suggested heading north. So we loaded bikes into Dave's jeep and headed to Sligo.

The good weather fled when we arrived. Then our first ride had too many photo ops that we didn't cover much distance thanks to too much good light. This is what happens when John carries his good camera. I have to adjust distance goals way down, because he keeps disappearing off the back, stopping to take photos, or has his victims, uh I mean models, ride back and forth past some nice background, until he gets the perfect shot.

Our second ride out of Sligo started the same as the first, and Dave and I realized we'd need to change from our planned 75 miles ride to the 40 mile version that circumnavigated Benbulben To be fair, the light really was nice that day. And the 40 mile route was one of the nicest loops I've ever picked off a map.

Sadly poor Dave suffered more punctures that day than one might normally have in a year. We used every tube the three of us carried, and then patches too.

When I asked for suggestions in the area, John reminded me how nice this loop had been, and suggested doing it in reverse. So a plan was hatched to do a short ride without gear. I called it a rest day, but my friend, Jenny suggested I didn't understand rest.

It was an amazing day. I love the riding around Sligo and this loop really is worth a repeat.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Castlebar to Sligo - Ireland 2016

After enjoying the great Western Greenway so much, I was intrigued by the trail out of Castlebar. While it is nice to have a dedicated cycle path, this one had a few very tight turns and a couple of seriously steep sections that would challenge the skills of most of the folks I saw riding along the path. My route to Sligo started out on the path and then picked up a few other regional cycle routes that showed up on the OSM maps. It turned out much of this days route followed the tour de Humbert, a regional circuit marked with signposts.

The Castlebar Ents

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Keel to Castlebar - Ireland 2016

I woke to mist and fog. I'm so glad that I got out to see Keem the evening before. Always ride out the tailwind. Always take advantage of sunshine!

After blowing the turn a couple of days ago, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to get back to Achill and how many times I wanted to do that flat stretch of road between Mulranny and Belmullet. I decided twice was enough, and even though it would mean missing out on the climb to the radar station that Dave had told me about, I opted to head inland and take the road by Nephin to get Windy Gap with Castlebar as my destination for the night.

The fog slowly burned off, and I had another great day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Belmullet to Keel - Ireland 2016

As I mentioned yesterday, I managed to completely miss Achill Island and then hunger and frustration clouded my judgement and I found myself in Belmullet. After texting John and hearing back from almost every member of his family, I knew I'd have to backtrack and take in the Island. I looked at various options and the weather forecast and finally decided to do just that, backtrack and take the turn I'd missed.

Now I don't want to disparage the weather in Ireland, but SUMMER was predicted to arrive and depart the following day. So the best place to be for Summer Day in Ireland would be Achill.

I was up early, applying sunscreen, before turning into the dreaded headwind, going south. The wind turned out not to be as bad as I feared. I made good time down to Ballycroy where I enjoyed a great coffee and scone. The views from here were already amazing. It would only get better.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Delphi to Belmullet - Ireland 2016

Wait... Belmullet? How did that happen? Weren't you on your way to Achill Island?

Well yes. I was. But we will get to that...

First, I had to climb over Sheefry Pass into Westport. I've now done this climb three times. We did it twice in 2013 and I remember loving it so much that I did it a third time instead of the coast road. One of these days. I must do the coast road. I'm sure it's gorgeous.

After descending into Westport, I hugged the coast and then picked up the Great Western Greenway. When friends had asked about this bike path recently, my brother in law warned them off, saying it had loads of road crossings, with the cyclist not having priority. Well I'm glad I ignored him. Sure if you are doing a time trial, it might be annoying to have to stop at all the side roads or deal with gates. But for the touring cyclist, it is such a pleasant way to get to Achill, even on a busy sunny day, when loads of families on rental bikes are also making the trek,.

The problem happened when my GPS route left the greenway before the end. I saw a sign up ahead with maps and info so I rolled along further to check it out. When I left the path, my GPS had arrows going to the right, and I followed.

Big hills were off to both sides, so I didn't suspect anything. But then I popped out on a main road and saw a sign that indicated the closest civilization was 7km to the left. My GPS was saying go that way, so I did. But then when I reached the town, another sign said Belmullet was 30 km away. I was hungry and thirsty and went into the shop for food before sitting down to check maps.

I got a new GPS for this trip. John has been using the Wahoo Elemnt for a while and has nothing but praise for it. The big selling point for me was wireless integration with ridewithgps. The wireless feature meant that I could leave the laptop at home and just use my tiny iPad for mapping. The Garmin devices with wireless capability insist one use Garmin Connect. I'd had no luck bringing rwgps routes into Garmin Connect and didn't like their route planning software. So the Wahoo was a big win there. The only problem is the Elemnt is still very new and has some missing features that are really useful when touring, the most critical of which is panning. You can zoom in and out, but you can't pan. It also doesn't cope well with overlap, especially if you get off course.

Now if you aren't driven by hunger, this may not be an issue.

But when I went to read the sign on the greenway, I got on an overlapping section of the route and the device decided I had done the island, so I should go north.

By the time I realized my mistake I was 30 tailwind enhanced kilometers beyond the island. Then I made it worse by letting hunger cloud my judgement and continued to Belmullet.

I sent John a text saying what I'd done. He told me I must go back and that his brothers and sisters agreed. Achill was not to be missed.

The route below is now corrected, so one can't make that mistake!

Stay tuned for Achill tomorrow. 

The descent off Sheefry Pass is swoopy and fun.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Clifden to Delphi - Ireland 2016

If I'm going to blow the budget I might as well go for it. The hotel had onsite seaweed baths. I'd heard about these a while back, an advetorial on the airplane or something. The idea is you soak in a really hot tub filled with seaweed. The heat opens the pores and the seaweed does some magic. Whether  seaweed baths can really help with whatever ails you, it is certainly relaxing to soak in a hot bath with low lights and soft music. I enjoyed my bath after breakfast, as my warmup for the ride ahead.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Athenry to Clifden - Ireland 2016

John and I have spent extended time apart many times in the past. When his mother first got sick, he got stuck in Ireland for a while because his employer had lost critical paperwork for his work visa. Then when we were in New Zealand, he went back to the US for.a while to keep his residency valid, while I stayed and had our house redone. After my father got sick, I spent lots of time in North Carolina. Then after we moved to Greenfield, I still had to travel back to Cambridge for a few days, every three weeks, for my cancer treatments. So we can survive apart. But the fact that I can list the times we have been apart might suggest that we haven't spent too much time apart. In fact most people know us as that tandem couple. So not just two people together, but two people on the same bike. So let's just say that being apart can feel odd.

Also, Most times we've spent apart, except for the residency trip, have also been marked by illness. So this occasion, at least, will be a pleasant change. This trip to Ireland is my victory lap, if you will. I have recovered and now it's time to put my strong healthy body back to work on having fun!

Until recently, I hadn't had more than a few days in a row without some sort of appointment. But my calendar this summer was free and wide open. While I probably should have said, OK, time to find a job, instead I said, I want to tour around Ireland. Then my brother-in-law conveniently decided to get married in July and gave us a reason o come in the summer. 

Of course someone in the family still has to work.. We still need health insurance afterall. So John could only get away for three weeks. I, on the other hand, didn't have another appointment until late August, so I booked my return for a few days prior to that appointment.

Well today was the start of the solo leg of my tour.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Liscannor to Athenry - Ireland 2016

We stayed in the Cliffs of Moher hotel, but have no Cliffs of Moher photos from this trip. I'll have to scan in some of the slides someday from our visit in 1995. But if you've ever looked at a travel guide for Ireland, you've seen the photos, and I certainly can't do better!

Sadly one of the big problems with touring in the summer is crowds. I've heard from more than one innkeeper that bookings are way up this year from folks afraid to travel to mainland Europe. So the touristy spots are not just packed with foreign tourists, there are lots of Irish checking out their own country too. Now this isn't a bad thing unless you are on a bike tour trying to make plans on the fly and find accommodation when you are tired of riding! Or if you just don't like crowds.

We've heard the best way too see the Cliffs now, is to do an all day walk from Doolin or Liscannor and get this bus back from the end. But we had two problems with that. First we really didn't have proper shoes for walking all day, but the bigger issue was that time was running out. John was aiming to head back to Dublin the next day where he had planned to ride a 200km Audax event on Sunday before flying back to Boston on Tuesday. (Someone in the family has to work).  So we needed to aim for a train station Saturday morning. Therefore we plotted a course for Athenry (avoiding crowds in Galway) and headed inland.

I suppose if the weather had been better with promising views, I might have bid adieu to John in the morning and started the solo part of my tour early with a visit to the Cliffs. But with poor visibility, I chose to spend our last day together, flying through the Burren with a screaming tailwind. Yes I said it, we had a screaming tailwind for most of the day.

We started the day under cloud cover, but it had started to clear by lunch. Now this is Ireland, so we rode the last 10km in a heavy shower!


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ballybunion to Liscannor - Ireland 2016

I was making great progress trying to get caught up with my posts, and then had several long days or days with dodgy Internet and have now fallen way behind. Time to get cracking again.

After our great find of cliffs in Ballybunion, we pressed on north, avoiding Limerick by taking the Ferry at Tarbert. 

We had been corresponding with an Instagram friend who was also traveling around the west coast and arranged to meet for drinks in Liscannor, near the Cliffs of Moher. As we rolled through Lehinch, rain started to fall... Heavily. We passed a golf course packed with folks playing, despite the storm. We were later told its one of the best courses in the country and folks book more than a year in advance, and play not matter what the conditions. I don't think we can criticize. We rode into our heaviest rain yet. 

We found a great hotel with friendly staff and began the evening ritual of washing shorts, hanging wet stuff to dry, showering and finding dinner. 

After dinner, Carrie Anne and Victor stopped by and we hung out in the bar until the wee hours getting to know each other and talking bikes and Ireland. What a pleasure to make a connection with someone you've only known through cute cat and bike photos before.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Camp to Ballybunion - Ireland 2016

Now if you've been following our tour in Ireland this year, you know that on my first visit to Ireland, back in 1993, I brought my tandem over and John and I headed out to the southwest coast to tour around the pennsulas. We had a great time exploring the touristy areas at a quiet time of year. We also managed to blow a freewheel apart on a completely traffic-free gap. Fortunately we were close enough to the top that it made for a very short walk, then a nice coast down into Kilorgin, where we were quite lucky to find a shop with a replacement freewheel and even more importantly, the tool to remove the broken one. Well thanks to this turn of events, we missed the Gap of Dunloe, but we made up for that a few days ago.

But the other thing that happened as a result, was the new freewheel had much lower gears, and John felt the need to find a climb worthy of them. This is the infamous, in our household at least, climb from Castlemaine to Tralee. It was brutal. A promised spectacular view from the top was not to be, since the fog was so thick, I could barely see John's back on the tandem. 

So that day, when we reached the next climb from Camp back over toward Dingle town, John tried to steer the tandem up a tiny little road, with a sign that said, "Not suitable for Horse Caravans" which in local parlance means Bloody steep. Having just recovered from one of these climbs, I vetoed it and we stuck to the main road.

So today, we planned to do both climbs. We left Camp on the tiny road, which no longer has an "Not Suitable for Horse Caravans" sign, and headed off to validate that my decision 23 years ago was correct. Now the truly observant readers may also remember that we did this climb from the other side just a few days ago.That is true, but we turned around at the top, so as not to miss dinner, and I didn't actually look down the far side or I might have noticed the ski jump nature of the road on that side!

I almost made it all the way to the top without putting a foot down. Sadly just as the road reached it steepest gradient, my rear wheel began to loose traction on the west greasy surface. And wouldn't you know when I unclipped and looked back, there was John with his bloody camera!

I finally reached the top and enjoyed the descent and some recovery time along the flat road into Castlemaine, where we turned up to the second climb of the day. I'm proud to say I made it up this one without stopping, although I had to take care not to get my tongue caught in the spokes!

After the climbs, it took a while for oxygen to return to my brain, but somehow we found ourselves in Ballybunion and what a pleasant surprise this little seaside town turned out to be. After finding lodging, we enjoyed a fabulous walk along the cliffs. 


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Phoenix to Camp - Ireland 2016

It seems that many residents of Northern Ireland, or Norn Iron in local parlance, flee to Dingle during marching week, or so it seemed based on our sighting of car registration plates and all the Northern Irish accents we heard on this day. Not that I blame them. The outer part of the Dingle Peninsula, Slea Head, is particularly stunning, and well worth the journey. But the amount of traffic and congestion on the way to and in Dingle town was off the charts busy. 

It was quite the contrast to our previous visit to Dingle, touring on the tandem in November of 1993. I swear when we arrived on that chilly day in November in search of a hot meal, the entire town was closed! Not so today. Dingle town was bustling, full of shops, cafes and tourists!

We started out from Castlemaine on the main road, but soon found the traffic was just too insane, so we pulled out the iPad, which we were using for maps and found a few "white" roads to follow. On previous tours, we have practically had to dedicate a whole pannier to maps, but this time we were using a combination of my tiny iPad mini, ridewithgps and Wahoo Elemnt GPS devices. If our planned route needed to be changed, we could consult the maps on the iPad, or even plot a new route for major changes and download that to the GPS. So we pulled off the main road and checked the map on the iPad. We found a series of smaller roads that paralleled the main route, and did the pre-technology thing of remembering turns: second right, next left, next left. This is how we used to do it with paper maps - acoustic versus electric navigation. Once on the quiet roads, both of us were quickly reminded of what touring in Ireland is all about! 

The day was spectacular with lots of blue sky and big fluffy clouds. So there were lots of photo stops.



Monday, July 11, 2016

Killarney to Phoenix B&B - Ireland 2016

After a great evening out with the brother and sister-in-law, we arose early the next morning to catch the train back to Killarney. Well early is relative. We had a late night, which seems to be the norm here. Then we had a three hour cruise, which fortunately ended at our intended destination! However by the time we had lunch in Killarney, it didn't make for the earliest of starts. We had booked a room at The Phoenix B&B just outside Castlemaine. It would be a short ride there, so I'd tentatively sketched out a bonus route to take in a couple of climbs after we checked in. In the end, it was late enough when we arrived that we decided to just head out and do the climb up towards Camp to earn our dinner, rather than the bigger loop and risk being too late for dinner.

The meal was among the best on the trip, so definitely not to be missed.  The Phoenix B&B is a vegetarian restaurant although they do have seafood. I definitely give it 4 stars, worthy of a detour or special trip!



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.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Glandore to Glengariff - Ireland 2016

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. 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Kinsale to Glandore - Ireland 2016

The plan had been to follow the Wild Atlantic Way and as such I'd loaded up routes from the Audax event held a few weeks ago. However we had heard some sections had lots of traffic, so I continued picking white roads, sometimes coinciding with the WAW, and sometimes because something else looked interesting.

It seems I, in my SadiB persona, had picked all the steepest roads, and even one trail.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Youghal to Kinsale - Ireland 2016

We left the popular seaside resort town of Youghal and headed toward Middleton where we found a great cafe with an awesome mid morning snack. This is one of the best parts of touring: eating anything you want, multiple times a day!


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Y'all come back now - Ireland 2016

The flowers on this trip have been amazing. I've only been to Ireland in the summer once before. We often have come here during blackberry season... well at least when we haven't been here in November. So I'm used to seeing the hedges ful of delicious blackberries. I had no idea they were packed with fuchsia and foxglove as well. !



Monday, July 4, 2016

The Coppertone Coast - Ireland 2016

No one is ever going to believe me about the weather here once viewing this post! 

After freezing to death at the wedding, I began to worry that I had seriously misjudged my clothing choices for the tour. I even began to wonder about having a few things mailed over! But then we got this day on the Copper Coast, or as I renamed it the Coppertone Coast. We left Carrick-on-Suir under cloudy skies, but found sunshine when we reached the coast in Tramore. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Mount Leinster - Ireland 2016

Bright and early Sunday morning... Well sometime before noon actually, we packed up our bikes for the start of our proper tour. The loose plan was to make our way south to the coast and pick up the Wild Atlantic Way. Sadly, John only has three weeks, so we will see how far he gets. My plan is to go all the way to Donegal. Hopefully I'll make it there.

For the first day we decided to climb over the shoulder of Mt. Leinster and make our way south to Carrick-on-Suir. 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Castlecomer - Ireland 2016

So... it isn't November! Why is that significant, you ask. It seems that I keep coming to Ireland in November, which isn't quite the height of tourist season here for a very good reason. Despite saying that, I've had amazingly good luck with weather on those late autumn trips, right up until 2014. That year saw us trying to chase down some good weather on the west coast and failing miserably. I made a vow on some particularly wet cold and windy day that I would return to cycle the west coast up into Donegal, just not in November!

So it isn't November...

This year, John's baby brother, David, who was cycling with us on that cold, wet and windy trip in 2014, gave us the perfect excuse for a summer trip by scheduling his wedding on July 1, a date we believed to be in the summer, until we shivered our way through the reception, bundled up in every piece of warm clothing we had, plus a few more borrowed from the family!

I should know better. I've been in Ireland in the summer before and I think the difference between summer and winter temperatures is only about 10 degrees Fahrenheit. A good winter day can be nicer than a bad summer one. I'm not complaining, just offering up a bit of explanation for why most of the photos include leg warmers!