"When Piggies Fly" Part 3: An Autumn Coddiwomple

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Rhode trip, Jul 8, 2017.

  1. radmeister

    radmeister Been here awhile Supporter

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    Looking forward to this ride report, Trippsters. If you are going to ride The Ring of Kerry, I recommend The Blind Piper in Caherdaniel. Great pub, good food, good beer and very cozy.
    #41
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  2. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    "If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now
    ...it's just a Spring clean for the May queen.
    Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run,
    there's still time to change the road you're on."

    I never gave hedgerows much thought before. But they were bound to become very familiar as we rode. We set out on the morning of July 14th, down narrow lanes and country roads as we skirted west around Dublin.

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    An occasional peek through the shrubbery revealed green fields and plump cows, but mostly, the thick vegetation crowded in close to the roadsides.

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    Grey skies proclaimed, "Welcome to Ireland!"

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    Small suburbs marked the intersections, and traffic was light.

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    Uh-OH! First driving test. It's a one lane bridge... and the car is in the middle of the road... which way do I go? Left, that's right. Phew!

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    We gradually worked our way into the hills that rise to the south of the city, and the view opened up. The skies too, opened into patches of blue.

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    The Wicklow mountains loomed ahead. Forests covered these lower hills.

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    There was some foresting going on here, and a military practice range behind a high fence.

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    and apparently, a trash problem....

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    ...nearby....a pile of trash.

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    We left the trees behind, and the countryside opened out as we entered Wicklow National Park.

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    Long sweepers combined with tight twisties as the road snaked through the low mountains.... some of them could fool you if you went in a little hot.

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    A little dell where the narrow part of the valley offered some protection.

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    This is the old Military Road...built by British troops. There were east-west paths through the mountains, but this north-south route enabled them to move their army more quickly to where they were effective...

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    Through Glendalough, and then climbing again.

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    Through a string of small crossroads villages...

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    Ended up in Carlow, in a little old hotel...The Red Setter. Parked our little piggies in the courtyard...and went for a wander about the town.

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    This is 'The Liberty Tree' that commemorates the Carlow Massacre of 1798, when hundreds of rebels and townsfolk were killed in the Potato Market in an ambush by British troops.

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    Ended the day with a nice Indian dinner...because what's more Irish than a curry?
    #42
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  3. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    The next morning, it was out of the courtyard and down the narrow side street.

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    Gassed up...or "petrol" as I'm trying to remember... and then a quick glimpse... "Look, there's Carlow Castle" as the morning traffic hustled us out of town.

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    Ahhh...that's better, and its a lovely morning for a ride in the country.

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    "Um, Mrs Trip, you have just ridden your motorbike through a National Monument!" I'll bet they frown on that type of thing here!

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    We're wandering our way through the countryside

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    Narrow roads that follow the contours of the land... My Father would say "Roads laid out by the cows."

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    Farms and little villages along the way.

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    Hmmm....is that a castle in your farmyard?

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    I doubt this gets much use... in a country with excellent cell phone coverage!

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    The village of Grange... with a thousand year old Norman castle... in a farmyard!

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    The name in Irish first, then in English below.

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    Whoa!... and here's another one! I don't even know the name...it's just out in the backyard!

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    Peering over the edge of an old bridge....

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    The posted speed limits are really something... Oilhed called them "insane" in a post I saw... and I have to agree. This road has a posted limit of 80 kph... that's 50 miles an hour! It's only one lane wide, winding with a blind corner every 100 yards. Combined with my tendency to wander over to the right hand side of the road.. Whoa!

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    The gatehouse to an old 19th century country estate....

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    When we climbed the hill beyond, you can look back and see the estate itself...

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    Churchtown... just a tiny little village out in the country side. A pub. A takeaway. We found our way to the unmarked house, with an apartment out in the back that I'd found on Airbnb. An older woman with dogs and horses let us in... and gave us the basics of coffee and toast to make us at home. We'd bought a few things before we arrived... and settled in for a comfortable night.

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    There was covered parking for the bikes, and as we relaxed, a gentle rain fell.....

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    #43
  4. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    If you cross by the water from UK, coming off the ferry you get covered in disinfectant spray from all sides, underneath too. Fortunately it is so often raining on either side, we always have the waterproofs on.
    Wicklow is a great introduction to Ireland, lots of small roads over the "mountains". Especially beautiful with a slight mist to add to the romantism. Liked your photo of Sally gap, a bit of rain and it explodes in to full drama.

    Plenty of meandering and proper Irish roads - how are you getting on with the green lane marking...
    #44
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  5. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Ha, ha. No complaints from me!

    Still a Harvard worthy screen name.

    Thanks, Stan!
    #45
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  6. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Thanks, Radmeister. We may well have been there...visited Caherdaniel about 10 years ago on a walking holiday of the Kerry Way.. so other than a bit to the Gap of Dunloe, we skipped the Kerry Peninsula this time. And I feel like despite the bit we've covered, we've missed so much.....
    #46
  7. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Yes, I was very surprised not to get at least a quick once over of the bikes... but maybe that was done when they unloaded from the plane and we didn't see it. We'd especially been warned "NO BUGS" splattered on there.
    You're right, Wicklow was a great place to start.
    As far as finding our way, I have a map and a road atlas with me, and each day we'll take a look to see what looks like a good destination. I like to reserve a place to stay the night before...so I know where we will find a bed. Then I'll look for interesting roads...it helps that I have a topographical map... and then sit down with my GPS and laptop, and plot it out in detail. We prefer the smallest roads... it would be very difficult without the GPS to follow it. I have Garmin City Navigator for Europe, and it has worked out very well!
    #47
  8. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    We left our bucolic country home to blue sky and puffy white clouds... out hostess came out to see us off. I think she was intrigued by the diminutive Mrs Trip on her own motorbike.

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    There's a lot to see today, as we continued our ride across the middle of Ireland... and I'm afraid I've got a lot of photos to get through....

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    First up, the village of Liscarroll, with it's well preserved castle looming over the town.

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    It's a Norman castle, first built in the 13th century, and the scene of a major battle in 1642.

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    Then we rode on, a short ways away, to the castle at Kanturk.

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    It's interesting that in the 300 years between them, when this one was built in 1601 it was intended more as fortified house, with it's large windows and more welcoming façade. The need for defense had diminished over the years.

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    This one is very well preserved, and you can actually go inside, though everything that was wooden was destroyed by fire long ago.

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    Then we rode on west, through town and country, names I can't recall...

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    Beautiful blue skies followed us all day... as we followed a stubborn herd of wayward cows...

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    a country church.

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    Beautiful lilies adorn a country house.

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    Into Killarney, with it's traffic and crowds, but we rode a fun section of the Kerry Way through the twisties in the Park... no photos of that...too much traffic to stop!
    But here's what is known as "Ladies View"

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    It really is beautiful there, but we quickly turned off and headed into Black Valley.

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    Ireland's highest mountains, the Macgillycuddy's Reeks tower overhead. The Black Valley was the last place in Ireland to be connected to electricity due to it's remoteness.

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    We followed the road out to where it ended, and then doubled back...

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    Red deer in the Black Valley.

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    at the fork, we started to climb uphill...

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    switchbacks climbed the hillside

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    At the top...into the Gap of Dunloe...

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    Its a beautiful, rugged place... but not remote enough to keep the hordes at bay... and the downhill side was crowded with horse drawn carts and rent-a-bikes and walkers...all out enjoying the day.
    But soon beyond, we were back on our own again....

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    We snuck onto the Dingle peninsula the back way...

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    With just enough of the main road to get a welcome to Castlemaine. And to ask the question, "Who the hell is the Wild Colonial Boy?"

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    We had to follow the main route for a ways, enough to get a fine view of the beach at Inch Point... if you need more evidence that the Irish are a hardy race...
    It's not what I would call a beach day...

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    Soon enough, we broke away, and found another road.

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    and around another bend... another castle... no idea of it's name, not even a sign.

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    keeping watch for who knows how many years over a stony strand....

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    We rode on a high road, winding along the hilltops over Dingle Bay

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    The cows and a few farmers were they only ones about enjoying the view.

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    Eventually, the road started down, headed for Dingle Town...

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    I'd booked us into a cheap (relatively speaking) hotel in town. But when we arrived, they told us they had a large student group who were staying, and might be a bit "lively". They offered us a room at a different property at the same price, and we quickly accepted. It was closer in town, and much nicer. Our room even had a harbor view.

    We went out for a walk through town, and had a splendid seafood dinner. As we walked back, I stumbled on the curb. My foot folded under. I heard a nasty crack. Damn. An old skiing injury...I blew my ankle out 40 years ago. Its been a weak spot ever since. I knew as soon as I heard it. It started to swell immediately.

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    What a klutz!

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    #48
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  9. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Oh bugger! A cold compress do the trick....
    #49
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  10. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    So sorry to see that swollen ankle, boy-o! I really hope it's "just" a sprain and not a break, though even sprains can be awfully bad. And of course it had to be your left foot....mit der shifter. Hope this does not derail the trip. Get well soon!
    #50
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  11. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper Supporter

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    Ouch!
    #51
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  12. Turkeycreek

    Turkeycreek Gringo Viejo

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    "The diminutive Mrs Trip on her own motorbike." People would be wise to remember their Shakespeare.
    “Though she be but little, she is fierce!”
    #52
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  13. TheAdmiral

    TheAdmiral Long timer

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    Let me say this in my most eloquent Idaho voice...


    Holy Shit what a ride! :)

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    #53
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  14. docwyte

    docwyte Long timer

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    How much on coming traffic was there? Those roads are really narrow!
    #54
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  15. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    Thanks Nick, Blader54, and Bob for the well-wishes. Remember I mentioned the harbor view room? Well, it came in handy.

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    They let us have the room for an additional day, and I took full advantage. Mrs Trip iced the ankle and wrapped it up in the Ace bandage I had in my first aid kit. Fetched me take away food while I laid back and "rested" it for 24 hours. We figured better a day here than more trouble down the line.

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    The swelling subsided a bit, but then the bruising came out. I've been lucky though.... while its still swollen, I've been able to shift and walk on it without issue... The riding boots actually help, I think, and we've still been wrapping it every day.
    #55
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  16. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    :fight
    That's for sure!!

    And that's just a few days in. I wish my photos could do it justice.

    There's not a lot on those roads, but when you least expect it..... Even car vs bike, one usually needs to stop and pull over to let the other pass. I'm also surprised how many intersections have "yield" signs instead of "stop". You can't see what's coming. "I guess you just ask yourself, well, do I feel lucky?"

    #56
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  17. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    And sometimes you round a bend and find a herd of sheep or cows in the road! Experienced both around Dingle. Great to hear you're on the mend! The boots probably give the joint some good support, easing some of the work your sprained tendons would have to do and letting them heal faster. And what a place in which to recuperate!!
    #57
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  18. Rhode trip

    Rhode trip guided by voices Supporter

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    ...So there I was, cleared for travel after resting the ankle for 24 hours. We wrapped it up and stuffed it into the boots, loaded the bikes, and headed west. For the last day, i'd been eyeing the Ogham Stones atop the hill across Dingle Bay...sighting them between my toes. So we rode out to the end of the peninsula that forms the outer shore of the bay. When we got there, though, we found it would be a fairly involved hike up to the top of the hill to actually see them, and a little too much to tackle on the first day back on my feet. The sheep shared their view of Dingle Town across the bay, however.

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    We followed the shore road along the peninsula back.

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    and got a first hand look at how they keep the hedgerows in check...

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    Then we continued west along the south shore of the Dingle peninsula.

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    Slea Head marks the westernmost point of Ireland, and is, arguably, the westernmost place in Europe. Beyond lies the Blasket Islands.

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    A road side shrine marks the furthest curve around the point...

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    and looking west....

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    The narrow road hugs the side of the cliffs

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    and follows the coast as it curves back to the east along the northern side.

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    Through the small town of Ballyferriter

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    One of the incongruities of Ireland is it's cold, it's grey.... and palms grow there... I'm surprised every time I see one....

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    The road winds back to Dingle Town

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    where we topped off the petrol, and then north out of town towards Conor Pass.

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    It's Ireland's highest mountain pass... climbs gradually above Dingle Town

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    You can see the Atlantic to both sides from the top

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    Descends more steeply on the northern side, and the road narrows...cars have to stop and pass one at a time on the narrow switchbacks...so I couldn't stop for a photo!

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    We rode along the northern side of the peninsula

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    Through the town of Tralee, then north to Ardfert.

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    Ardfert Cathedral was built on a site originally occupied by a 12th century church, with the cathedral built in later years. The site was originally home to a chapel supposedly built by Saint Brendan, the Navigator. We wandered around for a while.

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    This is the remains of the oldest church built there.

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    An ornate sandstone doorway into the cathedral.

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    Downspouts carved in the shape of faces.

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    From Ardfert we rode north, along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way.

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    I assume this is a water tower.... but all I could think is "Mmmm...cupcakes"

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    Little towns along the shoreline....

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    And then, Ballybunion. Sure, there's a castle there. But it's about 62 degrees out. Overcast, with scattered showers. Hey...Let's go to the Beach!

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    Ballybunion is a beach town.... arcades...souvenir shops... crowded streets and no parking....

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    We hurried on through. Further north, along the shores of the River Shannon, we came across another castle... Carrigafoyle Castle.

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    Built by Conor Liath O'Connor-Kerry in the 1490's, it was considered one of the strongest irish castles, and was known as the 'Guardian of the Shannon"
    In 1580, it was occupied by 50 Irish soldiers, and 15 Spaniards who had arrived the year before... it was besieged by the English, who bomarded it for 2 days, finally causing the collapse of the west wall. Many of the defenders were crushed... the survivors were put to the sword.

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    We ended the day a few miles further in Tarbert, where we'll catch the ferry across the River Shannon in the morning.

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    #58
  19. VTbeemer

    VTbeemer Traveler Supporter

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    Great pictures!!

    You and I lead parallel lives.

    I live in Vermont

    I also keep two bikes in Tucson AZ full time.

    I am also shipping a bike to Ireland later this year, out of Montreal on AC. Though I will look into the carrier you used.

    Carry on!!

    Dan
    #59
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  20. Passim

    Passim Still here

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    I marvel at the effort it must of took, to build these castles and cathedrals of stone, the blood and the sweat to stand these walls, these barriers, and the blood that it took to defend these walls of stone and the dwellers within, from willing foes. It's all a bit sobering and humbling.
    #60
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