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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Rhode trip, Jul 8, 2017.
Enjoying this Mr n Mrs Rhode trip!
Ha! You will love Ireland, but bring good raingear! It is like the polar opposite of Tucson!
So...how's the ankle doing?
Looks nasty, but otherwise it's not really impeding our trip. Very lucky, I guess.
Did I mention that it rains in Ireland? Well, so far we'd been lucky there too. Oh sure, a little shower here or there, but nothing that's a bother. But that's about to change.
We woke to overcast skies... a heavy mist in the air...on the verge of actual rain. We rode down to the ferry docks.
a fresh wind whipped the river into a mild chop. The crossings only 15 minutes, and we stayed with our bikes... so not much of a view.
The petrol station that I expected to find on the other side was closed... so we rode in search of gas. A light rain was falling steadily now. The GPS routed us towards the town of Kilmihil, the closest petrol station. On the way into town, we passed an old cemetery that caught my eye.
We wandered around it in the rain. Felt like a movie set.
Or a Victorian novel.
Tanks filled, we headed on to the coast and followed it north.
The wind was powerful off the ocean, and bands of rain passed through.
Off in that direction...The Cliffs of Moher... you can almost see them through the mist.
Young Irish horses... frolic despite the weather.
The rain came in earnest now... sideways with the wind...
We put our heads down and rode on without stopping. Made it to Doolin by early afternoon. We were a little early for check in at the B&B we'd booked... and they wouldn't let us in. Bastards. We found an alternative that was more accommodating, and moved our gear inside...glad to be out of the storm.
Your ankle looks a tad tender, so I guess that means no flat tracking on the TW for a while, I'm really enjoying the ride report, the fantastic pictures and writing, it's a treat to follow along.
You two take care out there.
They use something similar out here on the pre-existing logging roads when they are going to log an area. That's what we thing they do it for.
Now, you two just stop "horsing around". Someone's gonna get hurt with this type of horseplay.
Absolutely gorgeous this country is.
Next morning...let's see, it was Thursday, July 20th, we headed east out of Doolin. We tried to book an additional night in town... but it was not to be with the weekend coming.
Not far inland is the town of Lisdoonvarna.. only about 700 people live there, but it was well known for it's music festivals.
They don't hold the music festivals anymore... but if you're feeling lonely....it's the place to go.
Because it's the home of the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, coming up in September... and lasting a whole month. Up to 60,000 lonely hearts from around the world will be enjoying nightly concerts and dances, and just generally looking for love! Europe's biggest singles festival.
Through town and back into the countryside for us....
What a change from yesterday... lots of patches of blue to brighten up the skies...
Sure, you can see the puddles left by a passing shower... but it's great to see the sun as well.
The remains of an old castle house. Most of the relics you come across don't have so much as a sign. "Ahh...that old thing..." the locals say.
A little country farm.
I don't think I've ever seen hand raked haystacks before....
A country lane....
We're headed to the Burren.
The ground gets rockier as we get closer.
Unusual walls made of vertically stacked stones.
The Burren is one of six National Parks, and has Europe's largest Karst landscape.... miles of limestone paving....
Tough grazing...grass struggles to grow between the rocks...
Other spots green and lush... Mrs Trip rides through an enchanted forest...
One of the small towns that linger on the edge of stony land....
A tower house somewhere near Kinvarra... we stumbled upon...
No one pays attention to it...other than the cows....
We rode along the shore of Galway Bay, heading towards the city... and came across an old manor house... stripped and forlorn....
But as we got close to Galway itself, we came across a well kept wall and manicured grounds. I peered in through the gates....though built in the 16oo's...it's a mansion still occupied today....
Really great pics. Thanks for posting.
The first time I crossed the Connor Gap, it was a blizzard storm at the top. A young family arrived soon after us, and in the middle of the winds and sleeting snow, the man took his (I presume) very young child - as in still swaddled - and held him up in offering to the four winds. Mam looked adoringly on. Once finished, normal behaviour returned and they ducked back in to the car and sped off.
The limestone pavements of the Burren are unique in Europe. Plants from both the Arctic Tundra, brought down by the glacial Ice Ages and the remnants of the pre Ice Age Mediterranean plants which can only survive in the narrow cracks and crevices because of the shelter and heat store of the limestone.
It was along there some where, having lost my glasses overboard on the ferry, a heard of cows came by while we were map reading. Cows are quite shovey beasts and one in particular lifted its tail right beside me... Being blind, I was not able to see the ground or my feet to adjust my position. Fortunately, trawlers man's waterproofs shed the deluge like shit off a shovel. And the blessed rain of Ireland washed off the rest.
Great photos and stories. Glad to read of the joys people have, even if tinged with some adversity.
Enjoying the ride along. makes me feel I should go there.
Everyone should come here. Like Mexico, the people are what makes it great...friendly and outgoing, with an easy manner and quick to laugh.
And when it's 105 degrees and dry as old bones in Sonora.....
You must have noticed the walls. Dry stone walls out in the west. Strange and wonky walls. For no seeming or discernible purpose.
I was told the heartless English at the time of the Great Famine would not had out dole - the men had to work for relief. So much per yard of wall built. Fine work for the already starving masses.
Some places the walls are so close together it makes spaces too small to be useful. Walls climbing mountains, over boulders, over other walls.
A monument and a tribute to a people who would strive so hard to keep their families alive. And a reminder of how heartless a remote ruling class can be.
Sort of thing I ponder when riding along in the rain or mist, the beauty and unbending hardness of a landscape of bog and rock - imagining how hard it was to survive, how many families didn't. How close to death a nation came. Indomitable spirit survives.
Damn. Rain again. We left Galway in a steady rain... and took the main road north.
Pretty much didn't stop until we got to the town of Cong. (well, except we seem to be stopped in the photo above, don't we.)
We had met a couple at the top of the Gap of Dunloe, who said they live there and what a great town and we had to visit it. So we did. In the rain.
It's where the 1952 movie, The Quiet Man, was filmed.
Things were certainly quiet there in the rain, although there was a walking tour complete with umbrellas making their way through the streets.
The ruins of Cong Abbey cast a grey eye over the town.
We parked the bikes and wandered around.
A steady rain is falling.
A quick walk through the graveyard.
The stones lean at drunken angles.
We left Cong, and rode along Lough Mask. Small islands taper off into the fog.
Hills rise on the western side.
This area is known as "Joyce's Country" as in James Joyce... and it's beautiful, despite the rain....
The rain has swollen the rivers, and it boils beneath us as we cross a small bridge...
The rain pauses... is that blue sky? It's Ireland teasing you... only a moment and the rain returns....
We turn west and start to climb up the mountainside...
The clouds descend as we rise higher...
At the top, you can't see more than a few yards. I can hardly see Lynn's headlight behind as we follow the curves up and over the summit. There's no one up there except us and the sheep.
It clears a bit as we start to descend, and cross a wide grassy moor....
Waterfalls tumble down the hillsides, swollen from the rain....
The track gradually descends from the pass....
visibility improves as we ride lower... the rain keeps its steady beat....
We cross another river, overflowing it's banks, on a small bridge...
Then follow the valley down into the town of Westport. It's been a short day, mileage wise, but it has taken us a while because of the rain. We had a coffee at a small shop, and then found our lodging for the night, a BnB. I bought a newspaper... so I could stuff my boots to try and get them dry.
And how's the ankle? It had a cold, wet compress today.
You sure do notice the walls. And I'm a life-long New Englander... we've got a few walls of our own. Ours are often nothing more than linear piles of rocks... the weather sees to that. Some of these are built so high...you have to wonder to what purpose?
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'
Quoting Frost in Joyce's 'hood. You are both bold and eloquent
The story I was told growing up is that the stones are from the fields which were cleared so they could be ploughed plowed.
That would work in place where there was a field. And sure, there are places where that is obvious. When the only thing in there is rock or bog, not so much. The centre and east are more verdant. So not everywhere.
Here, in Yorkshire or Derbyshire, that would certainly be the case and south eastern France too. Probably everywhere with similar geology - if there is soil enough there to make arable worth the effort. Otherwise you have goats or similar.
But it was not an accident that many of the ships carrying the dispossessed, the huddled masses, the Immigrants left from Bantry.
West Ireland, the total randomness of the wallscape would belie the field clearing idea. And much of the arable agriculture was done by hand digging - lazy beds, not ploughing.
It was an agriculture economically out of the middle ages. A rented croft and a small piece of land. A family plot "just" viable for a family - in the good years.
The difficulties of hauling even a small plough through a rock field - and mostly if animals were to be had, it would likely nothing larger than a donkey, but probably the wife.
Not surfdom, not quite slavery, sharecropping on postage stamp sized land. Food to produce, tithes to pay.
Mindful of where we are, back on topic - it leaves an interesting and thought provoking modern day landscape.
Looks like the house from Father Ted!
Mr. and Mrs. Trip, are you going to go to Isle of Man?
I've seen other riders riding Isle of Man but they're usually going too fast to take pictures along the way.
No, not this time.
It's been tough keeping up with the ride report: I've only really been able to post when we've taken a day off... otherwise, we ride during the day, then evenings are spent on dinner, searching for lodging and a destination for the following day, and then plotting a route. It's been complicated the last few days by the summer "Bank Holiday", the prime 3 day weekend of the summer...today is their Monday off.... and lodging has been difficult to find.
We actually only have 2 and a half days of riding left at this point, time has flown by. But here's a map of where we've ridden so far....