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rideblog is in Ireland!

Old 08-08-11, 03:24 PM
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rideblog is in Ireland!

Yes, we're here, and I'm slowly processing the billion photos I've taken, then writing up our adventures and posting them when the crappy internet connections allow.

Please enjoy our little bike adventure in Western Ireland. Days one and two are up, with much more to come. The scenery, incidently, only gets prettier.

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Old 08-08-11, 03:42 PM
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have fun SP, and watch yer six.
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Old 08-09-11, 09:18 AM
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Watch my six? As they say here... "What the feck?"
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Old 08-09-11, 09:29 AM
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Great write up. Looks like you are having a blast. I was in Ireland with my family in March. I had a hard enough time driving on the narrow roads up to the Cliffs of Moher with all the tour buses & trucks, how is the cycling?
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Old 08-09-11, 02:38 PM
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The cycling is actually pretty good. None of us were hit (we're done now and heading home tomorrow morning), and the drivers seemed pretty used to groups of cyclists. We stayed off the main roads about 90% of the time anyway, taking as many tiny back roads as possible.

I ended up with a HORRIBLE head cold that struck me yesterday. Before I realized what was wrong, I was just so exhausted I could hardly function. We were riding into town with a, no kidding, 40 or 50mph headwind for at least 30 miles. At one point, riding along a relatively flat, downhill section, I realized I was pedalling so slowly in my granny gear that the last 7 miles were going to take me at least 2 hours, if not more. I called my colleague, who was giving our Support Van Parent a break and driving the van, just to tell him where I was (I take a lot more stops than the kids, as our official photographer) and to get a Coke. "Do you want me to come get you and drive you the last few miles?" he asked. "No... Yes," I said.

It was the most terrifying seven miles of my life, and he is an excellent driver. Nothing on earth is more terrifying than driving those tiny back roads on the wrong side of the road. We were both white knuckled and panting by the time we arrived in town.
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Old 08-09-11, 09:01 PM
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Soooo jealous. I've gotten to visit Dublin once and Loved it. I've since then looked into Ireland a lot more and I'm pretty sure I'd love it and want to move there someday. A bike trip would be a dream of mine. I'm glad to hear you had a good time and saw such amazing country side.
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Old 08-09-11, 09:16 PM
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Snarky, glad you're having as much fun as you are! Be safe way out there on the other side of the pond.
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Old 08-11-11, 11:32 AM
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Well, I'm home safe and sound, with no crashes of any magnitude. I do have the Worst Headcold Ever (tm). Fortunately, it came on as we were headed home. It made me LOVE flying even more!

I have Day 3 up, and will get the other days up soon. They just keep getting better...
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Old 08-11-11, 11:38 AM
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Some photo highlights so far:











That's not even the start of the really scenic stuff... yet to come: the Aran Islands, Cashel Bay, the Twelve Bens...
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Old 08-11-11, 01:17 PM
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I remember Doolin well! Hopefully Gus O'Conner's was still open and your group got to hear some good traditional music.
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Old 08-11-11, 01:35 PM
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Wow, what a trip! Thanks for sharing ..

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Old 08-11-11, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by snarkypup
It was the most terrifying seven miles of my life, and he is an excellent driver. Nothing on earth is more terrifying than driving those tiny back roads on the wrong side of the road. We were both white knuckled and panting by the time we arrived in town.
Great. Just what I needed to hear.

My gal and I are flying into Shannon in October and will be married in County Clare/Doolin (near the Doolin castle, which you call, "this local... castle thing"). We'll spend a week around that area, then take a car (manual transmission, of course, to make it even more challenging) around the island (Cork, Waterford, etc.) and up into Dublin, which we will then quickly ditch the car for foot and mass transit. And a week of sightseeing and honeymooning. Hopefully we'll get some cycling in too! We are certainly interested in doing some riding and if it happens, it will probably be in Dublin.

Your pictures are great! I like "The Last Music Cafe Before America". I can't wait to see it all in person.

Oh, if you had only one piece of advice from your Ireland trip, what would it be?

Safe travels!
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Old 08-11-11, 03:51 PM
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Thin Man, congrats! What a lovely place to get married. It was really pretty.

Advice? Don't drive. I know that's impossible, but drive as little as you can and rent something small. The roads are super narrow and everyone drives very fast. I'd cycle more than drive. While that sounds counter-intuitive, people were very respectful of us when cycling, but nearly killed us when we were driving. There are few real hills, and you can see way more on a bike. Doolin has tons of Irish music, so you'll have no trouble finding it. We found great Irish music everywhere we went. The area is so depressed that they are doing all they can to woo tourists.

Other advice... see the Aran Islands. I fell absolutely in love with Innishmore. What a lovely place that was! And cycle along the sea road between Rossaveal and Cashel. That was my favorite ride, even though it rained. We stayed in a 4-star hotel in Cashel (one of only 2 in town, as far as I can tell) called Zetland Country House. Worth staying there. It was GORGEOUS and had a wonderful view of Cashel Bay, as well as a great pub with live music.

Otherwise, have fun and talk to everyone. The Irish are very friendly once you break the ice.
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Old 08-11-11, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by The Thin Man
then take a car (manual transmission, of course, to make it even more challenging) around the island
One nice thing: manual is set up just like here, in the H shape with all the gears in the same spots, just you shift with your left hand. Otherwise, no new gear set-up to memorize.
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Old 08-11-11, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat
I remember Doolin well! Hopefully Gus O'Conner's was still open and your group got to hear some good traditional music.

We didn't go there, but we did get to hear some good stuff. The kids were far less interested in listening to Irish music than I thought they would be. Mostly, they just wanted to hang out and watch youtube videos together in the evenings. Kids are weird.
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Old 08-11-11, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by snarkypup
We didn't go there, but we did get to hear some good stuff. The kids were far less interested in listening to Irish music than I thought they would be. Mostly, they just wanted to hang out and watch youtube videos together in the evenings. Kids are weird.
Sounds like an amazing trip. I definitely need to visit sometime in the future. I'm a kid myself, but once organized a trip to the country with some friends of mine to visit a family I knew with lots of land, guns, go karts, etc. All they wanted to do was stay inside and play video games. No sense whatsoever.

And by the way, I keep forgetting to mention it, but did you know you have your own band? I'm close friends with some of the members. Here's a video, and for you impatient types, it gets particularly funky around the 2:45 mark.
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Old 08-11-11, 07:27 PM
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Thanks Walks... I didn't know I had a band, but I like their grove! Very cool.
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Old 08-12-11, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by snarkypup
Thin Man, congrats! What a lovely place to get married. It was really pretty.

Advice? Don't drive. I know that's impossible, but drive as little as you can and rent something small. The roads are super narrow and everyone drives very fast. I'd cycle more than drive. While that sounds counter-intuitive, people were very respectful of us when cycling, but nearly killed us when we were driving. There are few real hills, and you can see way more on a bike. Doolin has tons of Irish music, so you'll have no trouble finding it. We found great Irish music everywhere we went. The area is so depressed that they are doing all they can to woo tourists.

Other advice... see the Aran Islands. I fell absolutely in love with Innishmore. What a lovely place that was! And cycle along the sea road between Rossaveal and Cashel. That was my favorite ride, even though it rained. We stayed in a 4-star hotel in Cashel (one of only 2 in town, as far as I can tell) called Zetland Country House. Worth staying there. It was GORGEOUS and had a wonderful view of Cashel Bay, as well as a great pub with live music.

Otherwise, have fun and talk to everyone. The Irish are very friendly once you break the ice.
Yes, the driving is hair-raising. Glad you had a great time overall. How was the back road from Ennis to Doolin? The weather was evidently good enough for the ferries to run the days you needed them. I'd love to hear more about the whole trip sometime.
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Old 08-12-11, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by snarkypup
Thin Man, congrats! What a lovely place to get married. It was really pretty.

Advice? Don't drive.

...

Otherwise, have fun and talk to everyone. The Irish are very friendly once you break the ice.
Thanks for the reply and nuggets of advice! I'm getting more and more excited for our big day, even though it's well over a month and a half away.
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Old 08-12-11, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara
Yes, the driving is hair-raising. Glad you had a great time overall. How was the back road from Ennis to Doolin? The weather was evidently good enough for the ferries to run the days you needed them. I'd love to hear more about the whole trip sometime.
JV
Well, come on over to rideblog! Jon, it was great, and your advice was invaluable. We found few of the roads too busy to cycle, but whenever we could we got the kids onto smaller and smaller sideroads, just so they could be kids and ride like idiots. Ennis to Doolin was pretty, but a bit overcast, and as a first day, the hills were brutal for a lot of the kids (we were heavily jetlagged, too). All of the later days were better, both in terms of weather and the energy the kids had for what we were doing. The ferries ran, and I'm going to write up the Aran Islands post today or tomorrow. I fell absolutely in love with that place. Gorgeous! My co-worker thought it looked too isolated and lonely, but I wanted to Move There Now! He used your advice on the last day, coupled with the kids' desire to stay on the coast, and we both went up toward the Twelve Bens as you suggested AND rode down the coast to Roundstone. It was a long day, but a heck of a gorgeous ride.

And you were right: cycling was easy and safe. Driving... not so much.
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Old 08-12-11, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by The Thin Man
Thanks for the reply and nuggets of advice! I'm getting more and more excited for our big day, even though it's well over a month and a half away.
It's going to be amazing. You'll love the area, the people and the sights. Perfect spot for a honeymoon!
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Old 08-12-11, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by snarkypup
Well, come on over to rideblog! Jon, it was great, and your advice was invaluable. We found few of the roads too busy to cycle, but whenever we could we got the kids onto smaller and smaller sideroads, just so they could be kids and ride like idiots. Ennis to Doolin was pretty, but a bit overcast, and as a first day, the hills were brutal for a lot of the kids (we were heavily jetlagged, too). All of the later days were better, both in terms of weather and the energy the kids had for what we were doing. The ferries ran, and I'm going to write up the Aran Islands post today or tomorrow. I fell absolutely in love with that place. Gorgeous! My co-worker thought it looked too isolated and lonely, but I wanted to Move There Now! He used your advice on the last day, coupled with the kids' desire to stay on the coast, and we both went up toward the Twelve Bens as you suggested AND rode down the coast to Roundstone. It was a long day, but a heck of a gorgeous ride.

And you were right: cycling was easy and safe. Driving... not so much.
Okay, I'll definitely check out your blog. I'm so glad everything went well. Didn't you love those cliffs at Dun Aengus? In the US they would have been protected with coils of razor wire and warning signs with skulls and crossbones, but there you could just walk right up to them (or over them, if you wanted to) without a fence or a warning sign to impede you.
Hold on, I think there was a LITTLE warning sign of some kind back at the bottom of the hill where you start the walk up to the fort.
Seeing your pictures really makes me want to go back and ride around for a couple of weeks...AND NOT DRIVE.
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Old 08-12-11, 04:24 PM
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Jon, those cliffs were one of the highlights of the trip. We talked about how amazing it was to be able to just BE there (and that they let three of our boys, who were travelling around without us for the day, up to the site without any supervision at all!) without the above mentioned razor wire. Though my co-worker did get yelled at for picking up a historically significant pebble.

I just posted Part 1 of the Aran Islands. I took so many photos, and we went to so many interesting spots, that it needed to be a multi-parter. At first I thought just two parts, but I think it will end up being three! Dun Aengus is in Part 2.

A few photos to tease you all into yet another rideblog visit:





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Old 08-12-11, 08:23 PM
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Thanks for posting the photo's, it's been 20 years since I was in Ireland and it looks like nothing has changed! Now I want go back!!

I laughed at the picture of the mule on your blog, I stopped to pet one ( a mule ) and the owner, a gentleman whose name was Michael appeard, claiming ownership and warning us the mule was dirty...so there it was again, "Micheal's dare tee ol a$$"

Thanks for the memories and the laugh.
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Old 08-13-11, 07:56 AM
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Ha, Velognome, given my co-worker's affinity for donkeys, the temptation to call him a "fecking dare-tee jacka$$" was almost overwhelming! It was just too much fun...
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