Sunday, June 05, 2016

The Ireland-UK Trip: Day 2 - Foyne, Loophead, Cliffs of Moher and Kinvara

Today was the longest day in terms of the itinerary planned by Chris Davidson of Retroventures, about 253 km of riding, most of it on narrow country roads where one couldn't go as fast as permitted when not in a town: 100 kph or 60 mph.

Still, we covered a lot and were very thankful for the Sat-Nav or GPS device provided by Retroventures with routes already programmed into the unit.  We would have been very lost several times without it.

First stop was the rather nice Air Boat Museum in Foyne which wasn't very far from Adare, right on the Shannon river.  It's located where the Pan-American Air boat service operated out of for trans-Atlantic flights, back in the day.

I've always loved seeing flying boats and this museum was right up my alley.  Well worth the entrance fee and time to visit.

 Best part of the museum was the actual flying boat you could
go into and see how roomy air travel used to be.
The flight home is really going to feel cramped I'm afraid.

 Martha ascending the stairs into the cockpit/crew area
above the passenger areas.

 Beds!  Max cost of a flight back then: $675, sigh
(and yes, I know that was probably a lot of money back then)

Drawing showing a cutaway of the Yankee Clipper
I would have loved to fly in something like that.

Mary Kate and I in front of the museum with a bronze
model of an air boat on display.

Next was to ride to the ferry at Tarbert to cross the Shannon river over to Killimer.  We got there with perhaps 15 minutes to spare and were third in line at the queue.  We watched the ferry come in and disgorge its load of cars and trucks:

 Mary Kate got placed on the far left lane, all the way at the "front" of 
the ferry, which of course meant we were the first ones off.

Once we were off the ferry and had waited for all the cars to pass on ahead of us, we got into the "country roads" phase of the riding.  Narrow country lanes, supposedly two-way wide but just barely I thought, many times.  I really couldn't even come close to the stated speed limit of 100 kph (not sure the rig can actually do it either) and the best I managed was 80 kph or about 50 mph.

Quite the feeling, watching oncoming traffic coming at you from what you from experience feel is the "wrong" side of the road and passing by you, at speed, seemingly less than a foot or so from your right leg.  Of course, there's a rock wall or a vegetation-covered wall by the roadside to your left so no going there to gain some distance from oncoming traffic!

Still, it all worked out.

We stopped briefly at Carrigaholt to check out an old tower/castle near the pier.  

Next stop was the Loophead Lighthouse, quite the remote location with some really nice cliff views available via some medium-sized hikes.

Taken just before reaching the Loophead Lighthouse

Cliffs near Loophead Lighthouse

This was as close as I felt we could get Mary Kate to the
edge of the property.

The next stretch was a long bit of riding, still on narrow country roads.  Some of the roads were quite enjoyable as it was just us riding along most of the time, winding our way through fields and ocean views.  Some of the roads were filled with cars moving at speed in both directions, with Martha and I just trying to keep Mary Kate in the lane.

We finally got to the Cliffs of Moher at 6:00 PM and proceeded to do some hiking to see the famed cliffs.  It wasn't too crowded at all but it was quite warm.

Cliffs of Moher
 We thought the above structure was an ancient watchtower from Norman
times, but it turned out to be O'Brien's Tower.  Built in 1853 I recall,
to draw tourists to the Cliffs of Moher and provide an elevated 
observation point.  A bit disappoint, that, but it makes a nice touch
on top of one of the cliffs at Moher.

Yours truly at the Cliffs of Moher

For some reason, Martha didn't want to pose closer to the edge of the cliffs!

Finally convinced her to pose nearer to the edge.

We were finished with touring the cliffs of Moher by 7:45 PM and we rode the remaining 45 minutes to the town of Kinvara where we had B&B reservations at the Kinvara Guest House.  We got there fine, got checked in, dumped all our stuff in the room and hurried to the local pub: Pierhead Restaurant.

Someone checking out Mary Kate in the B&B's parking lot

We got there only to be told that the kitchen had just closed (it was past 9:00 PM).  But the man greeting folks at the door I guess took pity on us and got us a table and menus.  We quickly got our orders in and enjoyed the food and ambience immensely.  Oh, and of course we had a beer each to quench our "terrible thirst" from all the hiking done today.

Views of boats near the Pierhead Restaurant. 
Not much of a sunset in terms of colors, I grant you, but the boats
in the water made for some nice silhouettes.

After dinner, it was a short walk back to the Kinvara B&B and the crafting of this blog post.  Good day of riding today!  I hope you like the pictures.


Andy & Laura said...

We're thoroughly enjoying riding along with you on your adventures. The pictures are breathtaking. Thanks for sharing.

Andy & Laura said...

We're thoroughly enjoying riding along with you both on your adventure. The pictures are breathtaking. Thanks for sharing.

RichardM said...

Really nice scenery. George said that his 500cc RE with Cozy has a realistic top speed of 50 mph.

I like the lighthouse photos. I'm guessing that there are quite a few of them.

redlegsrides said...

Andy & Laura, glad you're enjoying the posts. Thanks for your kind words about the pictures.

RichardM, scads of lighthouses apparently, each with their own blink signal designed to not be duped within 100 miles I dimly recall. Thanks for your comments, the RE is definitely not the "Bullet" its branded as.

SonjaM said...

A 250km trip doesn't sound much in terms of distance but at low speed, and with sights to see it will eat up the time. I hope that you guys enjoy it thoroughly. And look at the weather... you are very lucky. The pic with Martha on the edge is indeed very lovely. Great shot! Kudos to her being that brave.

redlegsrides said...

Good weather indeed SonjaM though the forecast for tomorrow is rain all day.

Trobairitz said...

Gorgeous views of those cliffs!!

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Trobairitz, it was a bit hazy so some post-processing was involved for the furthest from me cliffs....

Shaun Pond said...

Another good story with great photos; thank you.
I've ridden a Royal Enfield w/o a sidecar, and it's a capable bike, so long as you remember that the design is basically mid -50s. With a sidecar, I imagine that it's quite a bit more sedate than a Ural.
Even so, I'd guess that it's a great vehicle for seeing the place at an appropriate pace.

Gary France said...

I got a kick out of reading this, as I was there just last week, plus your adventure of riding on the other side of the road in the rig made me both wince and smile, knowing the narrow width of some of the roads must have been a challenge. Great write up Dom.

redlegsrides said...

Shaun Pond, the RE is definitely more sedate and "buzzy" but yeah it's a good rig for the more sedate parts of Ireland. I think it's wider with a sidecar than a Ural too, which can make the narrow country roads more challenging than I care for.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks Gary, the really narrow lanes where one vehicle must stop and give way aren't too bad; it's the ones where neither side is stopping and or seemingly slowing that makes things interesting.

Anonymous said...

Those cliffs are beautiful! What an experience!

redlegsrides said...

They sure are class.

David Masse said...

What a great vacation. You guys sure know how to travel in style!

redlegsrides said...

Thanks David Masse, sure am missing the sidecar rig right now....