Ireland: Best of the West

Route: Enniscrone – Ballina – Westport – Cong – Galway – Kilrush – Tralee

It has been a bit of a roller-coaster this past week or so. After Enniscrone we were finding ourselves arguing more, but not exactly sure why. I think, on reflection, it was a case of all the stresses of bicycle touring getting on top of us. To give you a glimpse of life on the road here is a rough list of things we do on a daily basis:

– Packing up tent, sleeping pad/bag and belongings
– Cooking breakfast with camp stove – usually porridge with oats, raisins, walnuts and banana
– Planning the route and possible destination
– Negotiating main roads, side roads and little tracks throughout the day
– Picking what, where and when to have snacks and breaks, lunch and dinner
– Buying supplies and finding a camp spot
– Cycling 40+ miles
– Pitching tent and unpacking all your things
– Cooking dinner

Now throw into this mix the changing weather of Ireland and you get the picture of how tough it can be on the road. It is no wonder we were arguing more, but thankfully we are back in our happy bubble again! Like the trip in South America it just took a little time for us to find our cycling mentality.

We enjoyed some comforts of home in Westport checking into a bed ‘n’ breakfast. After a tasty dinner in a local pub and agreeing on our next few days of travelling, which included Cong and Galway, a couple of pints of the black stuff and a bit of local music completed our evenings entertainment.

After Olivia told me about the ‘Hawk Walk’ around Ashford Castle at their Falconry school in Cong we were both excited to visit. Walking around the castle grounds releasing and recalling the two beautiful harris hawks was one of the best things we have ever done! I couldn’t recommend it more highly to anyone that is visiting that area.

We met up with my dad, his partner and my little sister in Galway for an afternoon and it was good to see some familiar faces. My dad also dropped off a bag full of clean clothes! It really is the simple things in life that make you happy. Pulling on a pair of jeans and a clean t-shirt, as well as enjoying some treats in a delightful little tea shop, was enough to keep us smiling all evening!

Our cycle further south through the Burren on the way to Kilrush in County Clare was spectacular. Rolling hills mixed with a rocky and rugged  landscape made for the perfect backdrop to the perfect weather we had. The cherry on top was visiting the Cliffs of Moher, which adorn many an irish postcard. Now that I have seen it for myself I can understand why it attracts visitors from all over the world. Simply stunning!

Next up is a short ferry to ‘The Kingdom’ of Kerry. I have heard so much about this county and we look forward to exploring it on two wheels.

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