Tour Reports

By Eddie Smyth
Snow. It covered the hill tops, lawns and cars. It was freezing as I stepped out of the door into the blinding sunlight. I don’t fancy crossing the moorlands on two wheels to get to Dublin in these conditions, there was ice aplenty. Good job my ferry is not scheduled until 14:30.

 

Saturday Morning. Glenmacnass to Dublin. Not far enough

 

The sun was not only bright but the rays created enough warmth to work their magic on the surface of the earth if not the temperature. I loaded the bike slowly and eventually departed the guest house with firm handshakes from Shay and his smashing hospitality (he’s a lapsed biker) and the Hungarian couple who set off in their hired car just before me. It was a great end to the week. Only thing left for me now was to check out the Glenmacnass falls, 5 miles up the hill on this military road and carry onward to Dublin and the ferry home.

Military road leading down to Glenmacnass

Military road leading down to Glenmacnass

The snows were slowly disappearing but the cold kept stinging the extremities when I stopped for a photograph. This road is handy but it’s a shocker by way of condition. Many pot holes were filled but now resembled speed bumps. Random and plentiful. Shingle was scattered like confetti on a church path. Ditch drops on both sides of the road could not be ignored as irrelevant.

The camera is lying, it’s enormous

The camera is lying, it’s enormous

Cyclists were emerging like cockroaches from behind bin bags over every crest and every corner as I tried to avoid the hazards under my wheels. Great views I am sure but the winds had kicked up now and I still had no heating in one of my gloves. 20 miles or more of single track (or narrow enough to be) with puffing cyclists and even a masked lunatic lone runner at one point. It was Saturday and everyone who had sense was escaping from Dublin.

I eventually reached this erm, fair city, where the girls might well be still, so pretty but after a log jam of 10 miles and several hundred sets of adverse traffic lights I had had enough by the time I reached the riverside roads leading from the centre to the docklands. As grubby as a 1960’s Lancashire Mill town.

My ferry was on time, the sun kept gleaming and I was the only bike beckoned on board. At 14:30 I alighted at Holyhead and reverted to reading miles and not kilometres. By 19:15 I was rattling the window panes of the neighbours (one of my favourite mischiefs) as the Bulldog grunted into the drive, dirty but delighted, like its rider.

An awesome trip. And many more superlatives. I may only have ticked a few miles off what is the whole of the Wild Atlantic way but a round trip of almost 1,300 miles was plenty for me and certainly plenty enough to see that the south west of Ireland is truly a biker’s paradise. Denis has the perfect location in which to do what he does. And the ultimate highlight for me? That beautifully winding, twisting, testing arresting road down from Molls Gap to Killarney. Great craic indeed.

Eddy Smyth

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