Monday 26.6.2017 274km Total:4827km Total:441km 2.04km Total:261.5km
It is with a heavy heart I have to bid Dublin farewell but I need to move on.
Despite having set a route west I start out by going south towards a scenic route via Old Military Road - R115.
It was a beautiful bit of road but unfortunately I could go the whole way across because of road works.
It was still a nice detour and lot better riding than the M7.
I make my way for the most part on B-roads to Tullamore and (the old) distillery.
While reading the description of the tour it sounded more like a whiskey tasting so I asked if there was any point to the tour at all if you can't drink and there was, the tasting came last on pretty extensive tour and I got a pensioner discount since I wouldn't be doing any tasting. (Woe is me).
While waiting for the tour to start I got lunch in the distillery restaurant where I got slow roasted pork marinated in... take a wild guess what?
It tasted sublime and for once I actually got something reminiscent of fries, for the most part the Irish shares the love of large soft and moist fries with the rest of the islands.
Not even the Scots who deep fry everything eats anything other than large moist fries.
The tour was very underwhelming, the guide was very uncommitted, talked crazy fast and finished all her sentences with okay?
The setting felt very much like backdrop but nearly everything was authentic according to the guide.
This is the third whiskey tour and even though I love Tullamore nothing comes even close to Jamesons.
Bushmills I rode right past because I would use that to even dip my paint brushes in bit I'm not going past Tullamore when I'm in the neighbourhood, no it was still a memorable stop.
While leaving Tullmore heading for Galway I opt for the motorway since it's started to rain and I just gets worse as I go along until eventually it's pouring down to the extent that I'm having trouble keeping the visor clear going into Galway.
I still manage to find my way to the hotel but the weather isn't getting any better so I spend the rest of the evening here.
I've suffered yet another setback due to my lack of foresight and the ferry I had intended to leave on is now fully booked and with so few days left of my trip I now have to lay the final touches to the end of the trip to make sure I make it back home on time.
Tuesday 27.6.2017 278km Total:5105km Total:441km 3.53km Total:265.03km
Today I'll be riding in a figure eight with both the start en end of the day in Galway as I've booked myself into the same hotel for two nights.
It's nice being able to leave some of the gear at the hotel, even though it's not really noticeable in acceleration it is in manoeuvrability.
I ride straight out to Clifden and the west coast and stop at Clifden Castle, a castle built 1818 but now a ruin.
The castle is for all practical purposes now situated in a cow pen and it was a brisk walk of about 1km to get to it but it was well worth it.
My first impulse when I wrote that it's fallen into ruin was to write unfortunately but that's not what I really think.
There something beautiful about nature taking something back like it's doing with this building with stones falling down and vines covering entire walls.
The fact that it took some dedication getting here meant that I practically had it to myself for quite some time before another couple of lost souls turned up, I really liked it.
But today is really less about sightseeing and more about riding, the route I'm following I found on some scenic drives website I've since forgotten but they definitely wheren't wrong.
It's just riding nirvana the whole day which culminates in the late afternoon when I ride into Doolough valley.
Known in Irish folklore because of a tragedy in the 1800:s when a group of famished where to report for inspection to two officials in order to continue to receive relief.
For some unknown reason the officials change the place of inspection to the other side of the valley and the famished needed to report at 7AM the following morning if the wanted to get any help.
Because of their already famished condition and very bad weather a lot of people didn't survive the journey, some of the perished where women and children.
To commemorate this horrible tragedy and the people society failed there's a memorial with a magnificent view of the lake.
There's definitely something of a paradox that something so horrible happened at one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, it felt like a very special place and I stayed there a long time.
Since I didn't really have the time anyway and had no plans to go walkabout in Galway I instead add a couple of dozen kilometres to the route and follow Galway bay all the way back to the hotel.
Wednesday 28.6.2017 243km Total:5348km Total:441km 9.18km Total:274.21km
I ride along the other side of Galway bay on the Wild Atlantic Way with spectacular views and superb riding.
I just stop once for a photo op before I ride on to Cliffs of Moher.
I don't really know what I was expecting because I'd just seen pictures of the cliffs before going but I was a bit taken aback by the whole touristy spectacle.
The fee of £3 was definitely all right, I prefer to consider it a parking fee because the visitors centre was so pathetic that I felt an urge to just turnaround at the door.
Just to give an example there's a "postcard machine" where you can pose in front of different view of the cliff on a screen and get your picture taken.
We are talking about the very same cliffs that are just 50 meters outside the door.
But the cliffs delivered , not even a million Americans with their mandatory plastic cups of coffee could take anything away from that experience.
I went along the cliff for quite some time snapping away like a Japanese with OCD.
The rest of the days riding was all right but the riding was definitely better before Moher than they where after but between Shannon and Limerick it was riding heaven all the way.
I check in to Pery's hotel which was a nice positive surprise, the garage was just across the street and the (triple)room was neat and very large.
I just get out of the shower and am ready to hit the town when the heavens completely open up.
I've had rain almost every day on the whole trip so it's not a phenomenon I'm unfamiliar with but this was almost ridiculous.
I walk no longer than the St. Mary cathedral, just about a kilometre and I'm completely soaked.
It's was a beautiful building even though it was hard to fully appreciate it in these conditions and at this time of day I could only see it from the outside.
I think to hell with it and walk to King John's Castle too because I can't possibly get any wetter anyway.
That was a bit of a disappointment, it wasn't a very impressive building from the outside and they've committed a grievous crime by building the ugliest glass building in the world on top of the old castle.
I get supper at a Japanese restaurant on my way back to the hotel and just take one step inside the door when the rain completely stops.
I stopped at a cow pen along the road to get a readymeal and sat and ate it leaning on the gate.
Some time during the meal I started to get the feeling that someone was looking at me.
The cow where on the other side of the pen when I sat down but obviously they wanted a closer look at what that mysterious figure was doing.