Friday  Dateicon  23.6.2017   Tigericon  427km Total:4553km  Ferryicon  Total:441km  Feeticon  11.46km Total:224.73km

I hadn't originally planned to head straight for Belfast when I got to Northern Ireland but even though I had to shorten my stay to one night I still didn't want to skip everything I'd intended to see.
So because of that the detour is pretty ridiculous as I head south via the northern coast of Northern Ireland.
Thus I start off by heading in completely wrong direction and head for The dark hedges an avenue of beech trees which is something of a natural phenomenon and so picturesque it's frequently used in tv and movies for instance in HBO:s Game of thrones.

From there it isn't far to Ballymoney, the birthplace of Road racing legend Joey Dunlop and the city have made a memorial garden to commemorate him and his brother Robert (father of this years senior TT winner Michael).
I obviously couldn't miss going to Joey's pub even though I couldn't drink anything stronger than a cup of tea.

And when in the neighbourhood... are so called famous last words but with the coast being so near I couldn't resist.
I walked for a bit along a nice hiking trail between Dunserverick and Ballintoy.
It's was very scenic and even though the winds where heavy it wasn't hard keeping warm going up and down the cliffs by the coast.
After that brisk walk I went by Dunseverick castle on my way back down towards Dublin.
The only thing remaining of what I presume once was a grand castle is just a couple of rocks from a wall to a side building but since it was erected sometime in the 400:s it's pretty impressive that there's anything left of it at all.

So now I begin my journey south and since I had about 150kms to ride just to get back where I started this morning I only stop refill either energy or fuel.

I do a detour to a scenic route by Spelga dam which with its wuthering 365m is the highest "pass" in Northern Ireland.
Even though the differences in altitude are rather modest here compared to the alps it makes a very big difference on the weather and like by now many times before the weather is pretty crap at the highest point only to get gradually better on the decent.
The weather does change quite a lot of time during the ride to Dublin but riding in to the city and up the Dublin tunnel it was like I'd switched climate zones, the rain clouds where gone and had been replaced by a deep blue sky and sunshine.

I check in and head out on the town.
Since I hadn't eating anything except protein bars since breakfast I felt lunch was a bit of a priority with it being almost 8PM.
After a quick bite at a noodle place I walk to the Temple bar area which is a land mark in itself but more so for me personally because it's in a song by Swedish folk rock heroes môra-Per and while in the Temple Bar area why not go to the Temple Bar?
The fact that there was a very talented folk band (ladlane) playing live just made that the decision all the easier but unfortunately I wasn't more than a few sips in to my pint of the black stuff before they thanks the audience and got off the stage.
Fun fact: Temple bar is noted in the Guinness book of records for housing the longest marathon guitar playing ever of 114 hours, 6 minutes and 30 seconds.

Well the bars are practically wall to wall here so even if this gig is over there's no reason to fret.
It's just a matter of walking down the street, sticking your head trough the doors and listen for the greatest tunes.
I'm not going to lie, it wasn't quite the traditional Swedish midsummer celebration but I wasn't suffering either.

I eventually end up at the Portherhouse where a trio of young lads where playing Irish folk like the place was on fire.
When they did Dropkick Murphys Shipping up to Boston I almost had an eargasm.
There where some dark stuff and a bit of amber here as well but when the band bid farewell I though it wise to do the same.
I couldn't resist sticking my head in a few other places on my walk back to the hotel but I had been a long day so I didn't really hear anything more alluring than the though of a nice warm bed.

 

So you really think I have to pay to be able to leave here on a motorcycle?

The dark hedges or the road to Kings landing if you so will.

Joey and Robert Dunlop Memorial garden


Joey's bar

On the causeway coast way

Dunseverick castle

Spelga dam and the pass

Temple bar

 

Saturday  Dateicon  24.6.2017   Tigericon  0km  Ferryicon  Total:441km  Feeticon  16.87km Total:241.6km

The first thing I do is go and leave a bag of laundry of at a laundromat because it's very sorely needed.
There's been a lot of places with shared bathrooms on this trip so I haven't been able to handwash my clothes like I usually do.
I get a "mini Hogan" for breakfast which in reality is a full English not only had the to be honest pretty disgusting black pudding also contained white pudding.
The taste and consistency was pretty mush like Swedish pölsa and much like the pölsa I'd much rather remain blissfully ignorant of the content so I didn't even check that until after I'd already eaten it.
The white pudding get pretty much the same review as the black pudding.

It wasn't like I'd really intended to head for the Jameson distillery right after (admittedly very late) breakfast but somehow I still ended up there.
I got confirmation from ticket sales that I would be able to do the tour and still get there in time for my Guinness tour at 2PM.
So away on distillery tour I go and obviously just to get everyone in the right mood it starts out with a wee dram.

After learning about Jameson history and the manufacturing process we got to dry another three drams.
It was a nice tour and it was with easy steps and a smile on my face I went on to the Guinness storehouse.

I'd opted for the "connoisseur" experience so inside the hung a VIP-lanyard around my neck and directed me to a VIP-area of a bar to wait for the start of the experience.
Our guide/bartender for the day greets us and takes us to a hidden away part of the floor where a bar I special built for this purpose, according to Guinness themselves one of the most exclusive bars in the world.

There we for an hour and a half get to learn everything about Guinness history and brewing by a very dedicated and knowledgeable guide.
Thoughtfully the tasting where half pints and to our hosts great disappointment must of us seemed to think that the "traditional" tap Guinness still was the best.
The whole thing ended by each of us getting to pour ourselves a full pint.
The tap is supposed to be fully opened with the glass in a 45° angle to gradually be tipped into an upright position as the beer fills up to about half the harp on the glass.
After that the beer needs to "rest" for a minute before topping up the glass (this time you press the tap backwards instead of pulling it forwards).
A Guinness with a crown is called a proud pint and is supposed to be filled without it spilling over the sides.
Am pretty proud of myself for fairing better than most of the bartenders on this trip and that's after four whisky's and two pints.

The last pint was "for the road" to bring along on the normal tour.
The standard factory tour was basically just illustrations of what the guide had already said but it was still worth it.
I get lunch in the top floor restaurant since I felt it was time to get something in my belly that wasn't alcohol, it's just after 4PM and I'm not going to lie, at this point I was pretty drunk.

I round up the tour by picking up the two pint-glasses I've ordered with my name engraved.
Quite possibly the stupidest thing you could possibly buy when traveling by motorcycle but I'm pretty sure I'll sort it out.

I make my way back to the hotel through a sea of rainbow flags, there's obviously some sort of pride going on this weekend and that's probably why I had so much trouble finding accommodation.

I rest (and sober up) for a bit before going back out where I get dinner at a Chinese restaurant.
I get a Crispy Duck before heading over to Temple Bar.
I practice the same method as yesterday, walking along the street and sticking my head inside the bars listening for good music but to my despair this is pure musical terror.
At one bar I hear la bamba and at another some kind of folkified version of lalala long.
The only reason I would go into either of those places to get a pint is so I could throw it the faces of the band.

I finally find a place where they're playing The Pogues. It isn't live but at least it's good.
But I just manage to install myself at a table with a pint of... guess what before a band starts setting up on stage and soon starts playing a bit of folk.
It was intermixed with a few crowd-pleasers as well but at least it was in the lines of 500 miles and not La Bamba.

When that band gets off the stage and starts dismantling their gear and another band sets up I get ready to leave, I don't even remember what the new band was playing but it wasn't folk and it wasn't good.
It's about 1PM when I get back to my room and I stupidly thought that by now I'd be one of the last elephants stumbling up the clangy metal stairs right outside my window and possibly also the last to bang the door so hard I actually feel it in my be but no...
A sleep-in it is.

 

This is humor

Jameson destillery






Guinness storehouse




Our private bar for the connoisseur experience.


I'll have to admit I'm pretty proud of this.


Spire of Dublin

Sunday  Dateicon  25.6.2017  Tigericon  0km  Ferryicon  Total:441km  Feeticon  17.86km Total:259.46km

Last day in Dublin.
I sleep in for a long time since I don't get much sleep at night at this rathole.
I'm going to get the laundry I turned in yesterday at 11 so I time it with breakfast at Hungry Hogans which is the next place over from the Laundromat.
After those chores I go out on the town.

I go to Dublin Castle where I can get a guided tour at 1PM.
The dilemma is that I really want to go to the Christ Church cathedral as well and that closes at the weird time 2.45PM.
So what to do?
Fortunately I'm not afraid to walk so I go to the cathedral at a brisk pace where I sweep like a storm wind through the place trying to take it all in and get back to the castle with a whole minute to spare until the tour starts.

To be honest the castle wasn't all that impressive but the tour was still very interesting because the guide was very passionate about her subject.
A nugget of information that came out during the tour was that at the tax office on the other side of the courtyard both Bram "Dracula" Stoker and Oscar Wilde worked.
At the same time no less and at one time it's said that they where in a bitter fued fighting over the same woman, a feud that ironically Wilde won.

Next stop is St Patricks cathedral.
But there a mass going on (it is Sunday after all) so I'll have to return when the mass is over in about an hour.
What do do? If there's been a theme for my stay in Dublin thus far it would undoubtedly be alcohol so the Whiskey museum seemed like the logical choice.

It wasn't really since the "tour" about Irish whiskey wasn't exactly delivered with gusto.
We did get to taste four different kinds of Irish whiskey though so it wasn't a complete waste.

So a bit warmer and light-hearted I return to St Patricks cathedral which was a very grand and impressive building.
Something that I was completely unaware of is that Jonathan "Gullivers travels" Swift was a Dean here and is buried in the church.

I walk passed St Audoens church on the way back but that beauty is closed so I'll have to settle for admiring its exterior only.
It gotten to be about time to head back to the Temple Bar district in search of some good music.
I hit the jackpot at the Temple Bar where the same band (ladlane) was playing as the first night I was here and they're playing with such energy it's truly a sight to behold.

I think it's completely amazing that you can just walk in (free of charge), sit down and take part of something like this without anyone even bother you that you have to buy something.
I obviously did  that anyway but that's because I have a weak character and anyway, the show was over by then because I didn't want to miss any of it going to the bar.
It's not just the beer that makes my steps flow easy on the way back to the hotel to plan for the journey ahead, Dublin has been one of the nicest cities I've ever visited.

 

In Dublins fair city,
where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone

Christ Church cathedral



Dublin castle



Chapel Royal, the castle chapel

Inside the castle, the salon

There is a mirror under the table. The reason my legs aren't visible is because it's an inspection mirror for others to see. They are from a time (1800:s) where they felt the need to make absolutely sure that womens ankles where covered because they where considered almost pornographic.

The throne room

This is a courtship sofa. The bride and groom to be where sat at opposite ends while the portion in between was occupied by their respective fathers. This was about as close as they got to each other before the wedding.

Portrait gallery

Winecooler made in 1890 in mahogany

St Patricks Hall

The State Corridor, at the far end of the hall is The Privy Counsil Chamber where the castle was formally handed over from the last English Viceroy to Michael Collins and the free Irish republic.

Whiskey museum


St Patricks cathedral


St Audoens church


Ladlane at Temple Bar