Photo by Jason DeVarennes

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. 



Yep, that is the road right up the middle

I'm the little spec


Looking back down

The climb from Castlemaine. Seems neither of us stopped for photos on this one.






Unexpected towers and castle ruins are everywhere.




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