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Two week Ireland tour (pics)

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Two week Ireland tour (pics)

Old 10-29-04, 07:45 AM
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Two week Ireland tour (pics)

In june, me and my brother took off from our doorstep (Londonderry) and set off for Cork, travelling along the west coast, staying at various youth hostels along the way.

We made a few problems in the planning though, from my weekend rides with the local club, I got it into my head that 60miles per day would be totally within our limits and my brother misread the map scale making each day twice as long as it should have been! Needless to say the first day I totally died and almost turned home . We had to ride the bus from Letterkenny to Donegal after completing 62miles, into a headwind. That night whilst we sat in the pub, we calculated a more tame pace and route to get us to Cork within the fortnight.

Lack of training on my part really slowed things down, but i noticed a huge improvement in endurance over the course of the fortnight, but due to excessive cider, and food, never lost much weight Also having a dodgy breakfast in Bundoran gave me food poisining for about 2-3days, so i just stayed in a youth hostel and threw up for a few days.

Word of warning to anyone doing a similar tour, if you plan on taking your bikes onto a bus, no matter where your going, its a flat rate of around 15euro which is usually more than it cost for an adult fare. We got the plane home from Cork to Belfast, which was cheap, but yet again were raped on the price of bike carriage.

It was an excellent trip, the weather really was on our side, only getting rained on as we entered Galway, and a day or so after that.

Ok onto the pics, first set are of the boat from Magilligan to Greencastle, some of the beaches around Bundoran (great surfing spot) and a few from Aran island (really worth the visit)
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Old 10-29-04, 07:46 AM
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These are the rest, another cliff photo, and some more scenery, also a weird set of statues in Galway.

The cows were by the side of the road one time we stopped for a rest, and they are the friendliest cows ever!

Weird thing was on the trip, we only got ONE puncture Fair enough we were on a dual carraigeway with the wind behind us @40mph, and it was a complete blowout, but even still we were lucky. Also there were only a handful of crashes (most of them funny) from my brother learning how to use the clipless pedals (even took me down once from leaning the wrong way)
There was a more serious crash when my brother decided to slam on the brakes in the middle of the road when we were doing over 25mph, i grabbed a handfull of mister brake lever, and slid down the road on my knee, taking a meaty chunk of flesh off. Permanent scar there, but it's all good.

Enjoy folks, i sure enjoyed doing the tour!

Last edited by Dazza; 10-29-04 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 10-29-04, 07:55 AM
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I was in Ireland mid September. We saw the sun I think one day and it was so windy it would blow you down. We toured by car mostly the west Galway, Connemara, Dingle peninsula and rented bikes on the Aran Islands. Beautiful country you live in for sure.
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Old 10-29-04, 08:03 AM
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Thats true, we thought about renting a bike around Aran, but we took a tour bus, a welcome change You really don't want to trust the weather here, always expect the worse, which is why the only trousers i brought were waterproofs! Galway is a beautiful place, and most definately my favourite area that we visited. We were going to do the dingle penninsula, but ran short of time due to my food poisining.

Also people would often laugh at us when they heard what route we took, as going north to south is a mug's game, to many headwinds, which TOTALLY drained me. Found myself being rather depressed on the bike a few times because of it, didn't seem to affect my brother that much which is weird. If i were to do it again, i'd fly to Cork and take off from there, with the wind behind you it would be so much easier.
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Old 10-29-04, 08:18 AM
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Cliffs of Moher???
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Old 10-29-04, 08:25 AM
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They are indeed my friend, you ever been there? Nice place, especially when the weather is that good, and there are hot american tourists everywhere!
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Old 10-29-04, 08:29 AM
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Do the Lemmings jump of those cliffs???
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Old 10-29-04, 08:39 AM
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Nope, just the leprechauns!
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Old 10-29-04, 09:33 AM
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Wonderful ! I lived in Ireland from 87 to 98 and what a beautiful country it is and great people I met, friends for life ! Ireland though I found was a difficult place for riding, weather is one and roads are also tough in most places, drivers are not very kind to cyclists, and these were the years when I almost gave up on cycling, still I think by bike is a great way to discover Ireland ! If I had an opportunity to go back in time, I would make a better effort to meet with other riders or join a touring club over there. I rode mostly from Galway, my favorite of all places where I lived, towards Cliften (tough) or Kinvara towards Doolin or towards Mayo via Tuam or Cong, then towards Skerries and North, south towards Wicklow while I lived in Dublin. I have travelled north to south east to west and through very remote areas mostly by car, bus and train, and always enjoy going back visiting friends and traveling around with all these wonderful memories. What a great country!
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Old 10-29-04, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Dazza
They are indeed my friend, you ever been there? Nice place, especially when the weather is that good, and there are hot american tourists everywhere!
Yup, I spend 10 days bumbling around the coast of western, and southern Ireland. The Ring of Kerry was one heck of a day-trip! Shockingly, the weather was fantastic for the bulk of our trip. We stayed in B&Bs, and had a great time. The locals were so nice. I can't wait to get back!
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Old 10-29-04, 10:10 AM
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Your definately right about the drivers Cycliste, i remember travelling into Sligo on that trip, it was the busiest road i have ever seen, and a few of the drivers obviously didn't see our bright coloured jerseys, and damn near hit us.

For the most part, people in South are extremely nice, although there were a few weird guys who took a major disliking to us when they found out we were from the North, and realised what religion we were. I'm telling you, some people can be so narrow minded. One thing that i thought was weird was the fact that most of the Hostel owners were from England, obviously money to be had!

IIRC we travelled to Cliften from Galway and found it tough as hell, but for the most part the whole trip was hard going.

Hopefully next year when i have my licence, i will go for a trip in the car, maybe save some money (You would think a bike trip would be cheap, me and my bro spent over £1400 in two weeks!)
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Old 10-29-04, 10:12 AM
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Galway really was fantasic, we ended up staying for about 3 days there, met a really friendly Italian guy called Luigi, a funny dude to say the least! Some day ill go back to Galway for longer, get a better taste of the local beverages
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Old 10-29-04, 12:10 PM
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There was something about cyclists that to me that did not equate with the general behavior automobilists shared with each other on the road, I found drivers usually courtuous and not agressive at all, at least in rural areas, a true reflection of the way people lived with each other.
The people of Ireland would turn for the best the most fearful individual about any hope in humanity..
I have more stories than this thread could contain, among the best: One evening, my car broke down, this guy picked me up on the side of the road (unthinkable over here) and not only gave me a ride to the nearest town (I think it was Mullingar), but knocked the door to a local mechanic (at ~ 8 pm), got me a replacement belt, insisted on paying for it, drove me back to my car and helped me replacing the part, had a great chat about one another's country, when I asked "how can I thank you ?", "next time you see me on the side of the road, give me a ride" he replied.
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Old 10-29-04, 12:47 PM
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The Republic of Ireland gives some amazing stories,

I was over with some uni friends in 1992 doing a back packing holiday, and we decided to camp in the gap of dunlow for a few days to let the blisters heal. A local came up and asked us to move to which we agreed, then he asked us if we would hire teh horses for a trek one evening, we said yes, and the response 'OK you can stay there, no problem'

So by giving in on every point we actually came out tops in the discussion. still to this day not sure how it happened
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Old 10-29-04, 01:34 PM
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Our family did a driving tour of the south of ireland in the august of 2001. It is an absolutly gorgeous countryside, with some of the sketchiest driving ever. really nice people, too. We were lost somewhere, and we pulled into a gas station. we break out the map, and suddenly, we've got like 3 people helping us...we didn't even ask! good people. lots of cows, too, though the beef wasn't that good. good fish, though. really good fish. oh man. in this one restaurant, I had this one fish that was wrapped in bacon with a white sauce... that fish...so good.
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Old 10-29-04, 01:57 PM
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Very beautiful scenes! Thanks for sharing. I hope to tour there sometime soon.
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Old 10-29-04, 02:10 PM
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i think i'd be a stronger cyclist if i lived there. competing with the wind must be really tough! add wind-swept rain to the mix and that's a hard pill to swallow.
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Old 10-29-04, 05:27 PM
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True, i couldn't believe how friendly some people could be.

This one guy who owned a youth hostel (funny man) greeted us, and showed us our rooms etc. 15minutes later we get a knock on the door, its the guy wondering if we want a lift into town, we tell him that we are tired after the long day and we REALLY need food quickly, but thank him for his kind offer. So we eat and have a seat for a while, about 30-45 minutes pass, and he knocks again, tells us that he now heading into town, and so we accept (full bellies, rested legs, and an image of a glass of ice cold beer in our heads ). He drives us into town in this car he had (a Fiat Uno, which he bought for 30euro ) and shows all of the best nightspots in town for some authentic irish music.

We visited this amazing pub called the Scotsman, cosy little pub, with some really great musicians there. We had arranged to meet the guy later that night for a lift home so we take ourselves to the pub he is sitting in, waiting for his wife to return. That day was my 18th birthday, and once he found that out he bought me a beer, and gave me a card ( a business card) and wished me a happy birthday etc. Really a jolly little stereotypical irish man, really quite funny and friendly. Probably the nicest guy we met whilst on tour, and in the main sitting room, the walls were absolutely COVERED in thank you letters, photos and emails etc from people who had stayed there at that point, dating way back into the 80's! Really a place which i will never forget!


i think i'd be a stronger cyclist if i lived there. competing with the wind must be really tough! add wind-swept rain to the mix and that's a hard pill to swallow.
Hmm thats true, there were a few really horrific cycles that stick in my mind, which really made us glad to get a fresh set of dry clothes on. Nearly threw up a couple of times, but my fitness freak brother kept me in line .
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Old 10-29-04, 05:38 PM
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We were lost somewhere, and we pulled into a gas station. we break out the map, and suddenly, we've got like 3 people helping us...we didn't even ask!
Haha that reminds me of a time we were lost in Ennis (the town George Bush visited in the summer, missed him by one day!) and we asked a woman to point us in the direction of the nearest youth hostel, she basically ran beside us while we cycled to and fro looking haha, recruiting more of her friends as she travelled up the street. We looked like real dummies, two lycra clad cyclists with a group of mumbling middle aged woman behind us

Also had the guy serving us in KFC wolf whistle us when we walked in haha, seemed like it was normal practice to that guy! Full of characters indeed!
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Old 10-29-04, 05:44 PM
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Looks like you had a great time! Ireland is now on the tops of places I must visit, thanks for the photos. I got a good laugh out of the slow...and very slow pictures!

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Old 10-29-04, 05:55 PM
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Hehe no problem, me and my brother had a good laugh taking those two pictures! The region we were in then was amazing, really annoying on and off type rain. We had a really long satisfying climb to the top of this huge mountain where there was a cafe with two of the HOTTEST waitresses i have ever seen. After a break and another slight climb we had one of the quickest descents ive ever done, really tight windy corners, i loved it (also love motorcycles etc so i was looking to get a knee down ) Of course dodging sheep on the way down was also quite good fun!

This thread rocks lol it's really reminding me of a lot of fun memories. There was this one campervan that seemed to be following us everywhere for a few days, owned by an older couple. We kept waving, and by the second day it really was quite comical, they even ran with us during a sprint once, along this really nice leafy area! Good times guys, thanks for jogging my memory!
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Old 10-29-04, 05:57 PM
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MY god Rob fantastic pictures! That picture of Cinnamon bay is defo my desktop, looks like paradise! Maho bay also looks quite acceptable .

Cheers dude!
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Old 10-29-04, 10:03 PM
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Those cliffs are gorgeuos! Reminds me of what we saw on our ferry from Swansea (Wales) to Cork. No pictures, because I ran out of battery by then (end of a loooong day).

We rented bikes in Dublin and rode to Howth; very pleasant, once we were off the main streets and on the lovely bike path. We had such a good time, my wife wanted to buy a bike back in NYC... which she did! Now we ride together here, albeit below training pace.
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Old 10-30-04, 06:16 AM
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Wales is a beautiful place also, my brother (in those pics) went to university in Bangor, in Wales. I visited him a few times, and apparently Bangor is one of the best regions in UK for mountain biking and shooting (right up my street ) Amazing scenery, good for rock climbing.

What did you think of Cork oboe? I was a bit dissappointed to be honest, way to 'touristy' for my liking, and looks like pretty much every other town out there The more i think of it the more i want to go back to Galway!
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Old 10-30-04, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by bac
Yup, I spend 10 days bumbling around the coast of western, and southern Ireland. The Ring of Kerry was one heck of a day-trip! Shockingly, the weather was fantastic for the bulk of our trip. We stayed in B&Bs, and had a great time. The locals were so nice. I can't wait to get back!
Here's a shot from my visit. You really get an idea of the size of these cliffs when you see people on top!
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