06/13 As more and more stone fences started appearing it became pretty clear that I was in the area known as the Burren, a 250 sq km area characterized by the exposed limestone landscape (Burren means “rocky place”). Not much grows here except for the odd tree and some shrubs. I’ve definitely never seen anything quite like it. Camping here would have been sweet but it’s all fenced off. No water either–the limestone doesn’t hold it on the surface very well. I guess pounding in tent pegs might have been a problem too.

There are about 45,000 stone enclosures called ringforts scattered across Ireland; most having been built between the 5th and 10th centuries AD. I think I saw that there are 450 in the Burren region. One of the best preserved ones is called the Caherconnell ringfort. I stopped in to check it out (7 euro) and, well, it was a circular wall of stones just like I suspected. 🙂 Reading up on the history was cool though.

Nice weather again but I hear tomorrow it’s supposed to get worse. Not too bad on the roads with traffic today. I had to add on some extra miles to stay on small roads but it was worth it. The CG where I’m staying is called O’Connors. It was 9 euro, the shower (terrible) is 1 more but she gave me a free token. I headbutted the wall washing my face because the shower head shoots almost straight down 2 inches from the wall.

Elevation Profile
GPX track

I was under attack for a bit

I was under attack for a bit

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What the ringfort used to look like

What the ringfort used to look like

Hard at work

Hard at work

Inside the ringfort

Inside the ringfort

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The Burren

The Burren

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They have one in every village--not sure if they work though.

They have one in every village–not sure if they work though.

Lot's of stone fences

Lot’s of stone fences

Mood:Good Weather:Cloudy/Mild
Wind:Brisk Wind Direction:Headwind
Avg Speed:10.5 mph (16.9 km/h) Top Speed:28 mph (45.1 km/h)
Avg Grade:3% Max Grade:11%
Total Ascent:2622 ft (799.2 m) Max Elevation:600 ft (182.9 m)
Distance:59.81 mi (96.3 km) Total Distance:27883 mi (44873.3 km)

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06/12 It was a bit of a long day but I was determined not to stay in another B&B. Galway has a few RV Parks within 100 meters of each other and I think I picked the one with the worst shower, Salthill. 10 euros to camp (+1 for the crappy shower). On the plus side the ground is flat which didn’t seem to be the case with the one next to it. Nothing worse than waking up in a ball at the bottom of your tent.

Lot’s of rain showers today. With it being a bit colder there’s a big positive in that the cheese I bought for my lunch didn’t melt. 🙂 The low clouds messed up the view of the mountains a little but from what I could see they were quite dramatic and everything; just like the guidebook said. I stopped at Kylemore Abbey and got a look at that. The fee to get in further was 12.50 euro so I settled for some pictures from the parking lot.

Traffic wasn’t bad until I got on the last road before Galway, the R336. Non-stop traffic the entire way and no safety lane of any kind.

Elevation Profile
GPX track

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Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey

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Mood:Good Weather:Rainy/Mild
Wind:Strong Wind Direction:Variable
Avg Speed:13 mph (20.9 km/h) Top Speed:31.5 mph (50.7 km/h)
Avg Grade:2% Max Grade:9%
Total Ascent:2613 ft (796.4 m) Max Elevation:318 ft (96.9 m)
Distance:77.32 mi (124.4 km) Total Distance:27823 mi (44776.8 km)

Comments Comments Off on Leenane, IE to Galway, IE (14 ft)

06/11 Another B&B tonight. This time in the little village of Leenane. I did have the option of camping if I would have ridden another 12 miles but it was 50 miles into a headwind all day and I was done. Staying here might work out better because I’d like to visit Kylemore Abbey and staying at the campground would have meant an eight mile detour the next day.

Today marked the start of a couple days of riding across the peninsula known as Connemara. The scenery has been described as: “…being like that out of a fairy tale. Its mountains are a deep and rich color of green and when the clouds roll in it seems almost magical.” I think after 3 years I’ve seen too much. Magical to me is not seeing sheep and cows everywhere, not seeing endless B&Bs and not one freaking campground, not having everything enclosed by barbed wire fence, not having my only wildlife sighting be a roadkill rabbit, not seeing chopped down forests and not worrying about getting flattened by a speeding car every minute. That’s magical. This is Costa Rica.

Honestly it may sound like I’m in a bad mood but I’m not. 🙂 I’m just disappointed. I should stop cropping/editing out things from the pictures so people can see what it’s really like and now how I would have liked it to have been.

Elevation Profile
GPX track

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The Doolough Tragedy referred to here was actually pretty sad.

The Doolough Tragedy referred to here was actually pretty sad.

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It's a Chi House!

It’s a Chi House!

Mood:Good Weather:Cloudy/Mild
Wind:Brisk Wind Direction:Headwind
Avg Speed:11.2 mph (18 km/h) Top Speed:30 mph (48.3 km/h)
Avg Grade:2% Max Grade:9%
Total Ascent:1868 ft (569.4 m) Max Elevation:275 ft (83.8 m)
Distance:50.07 mi (80.6 km) Total Distance:27746 mi (44652.9 km)

Comments 1 Comment »

06/10 Turns out the next campground wasn’t quite far enough and I ended up making it here in pretty good time (70 miles in 5 hours and 20 minutes). And I owe it all to Advil. My rear end has been sore since pretty much the Netherlands. I’ve been ignoring it since I’m out of ideas for seat adjustments, new gels/balms/powders to try and bike shorts are too expensive to be buying new ones all the time. I never even think to take pain killers but I happened to see them sitting in my bag this morning and thought why not. They sure made a big difference.

The weather was fantastic. Just a bit breezy out of the west but not as bad as yesterday. Lot’s of sun and it stayed around 62 F most of the day.

This CG is probably the best one I’ve stayed at in the UK or Ireland so far if only because it has something that none(?) of them had before–trees. Not a lot but I was actually able to pitch my tent under one. It was 8 euro (1 euro shower).

Not too much going on for the ride today. Passed through a million tiny villages but most were quiet because it’s Sunday. The mountains on this side of the island are visible now and tomorrow I should be right in the middle of them.

I happened to see the movie No Saints for Sinners the other night. It was very cool because the first bit was shot in Belfast and I recognized a few of the places. The guys in the movie also talk just like the guys that live there.

Elevation Profile
GPX track

This was me at the end of the day

This was me at the end of the day

Which way?

Which way?

Cute

Cute

One of many villages

One of many villages

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Aww

Aww

Road suck more

Road suck more

Shanonbridge

Shanonbridge

Mood:Good Weather:Sunny/Mild
Wind:Brisk Wind Direction:Headwind
Avg Speed:13 mph (20.9 km/h) Top Speed:28.5 mph (45.9 km/h)
Avg Grade:1% Max Grade:%
Total Ascent:1699 ft (517.9 m) Max Elevation:320 ft (97.5 m)
Distance:69.25 mi (111.4 km) Total Distance:27696 mi (44572.4 km)

Comments Comments Off on Shannonbridge, IE to Belcarra, IR (105 ft)