Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sheep's Head

This trip to Ireland began in mid September 2017 - I'm slowly getting around to posting 

You tend not to remember the sunny calm days when everything went smoothly. It's the days with a big mechanical or ferocious winds and cold torrential rain - those are the ones that stick with you. I'm happy to report that, at least we had no mechanical problems on our ride to Sheep's Head. However, we had some pretty serious wind and rain.

It is not uncommon to get high or gusty wind in Ireland. After all, it's the first land mass after 3000 miles of open water. Storms will pick up some steam as they come across the Atlantic. Wind is just to be expected. So I shouldn't even call what we experienced at Sheep's Head extreme, at least it wasn't extreme for Sheep's Head. But it was pretty extreme for me!

The final mile to and from the turn around point made for a serious challenge in staying upright and making forward progress. When we tried to get a photo in front of the sign, I struggled to hang on to the bike. What a contrast to the calm sunny day before at Mizen Head. Needless to say, we didn't take a hike out to the headlands and even stick around at the cafĂ©.  We took our photos and quickly headed inland.

The wind swirled and gusts constantly threatened to toss us off the road. Then the road we had planned to take turned out to be a muddy track. So we had to backtrack a wee bit before finding the next road across the spine down the center of the peninsula. This one led us to an amazing little goat path of a road, that was somewhat sheltered from the worst of the wind. However, sheltered from the rain, it was not. Ah, finally a proper Irish-weather day. The rain came in sideways.

Still I wouldn't want it any other way. You have to have days like this!

By the time we reached Bantry, we were soaked to the core. It was still early and the mileage was nothing impressive, but we were well and truly done. We stopped in the tourist office and inquired for an inn town B&B that wasn't over a bar. For those who haven't toured around Ireland, this is an important tip. Sometimes small hotels or B&Bs are over bars with live music. This is fine if your goal is to listen to live music until the wee hours, but if you'd like to sleep, it's a different story. Being a Saturday night, we definitely wanted to avoid being directly over any nightlife. We were directed to a place a couple of blocks away. It was perfect and even had an old CTC - recommended badge on the wall.

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