Day 11 - Motorcycling EcstacyAugust 11 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C
It was a little treat to watch Match of the Day in bed this morning with it still raining outside. I was having such a lovely time that I made Jackie a cup of coffee only for her to tip it over & spill half of it on the bedside table & carpet. We decided to give breakfast a miss because we didn’t feel we couldn’t do €12 each justice.
It was not long after 10am that we finally donned out motorcycle gear again & left the comfort of our hotel. Luckily for us the rain had now stopped & it was a cool overcast day, perfect for motorcycling.
As we were saddling up, visitors were already arriving at the hotel, Kells House & Gardens. We drove back down the long fern lined driveway, then headed to Kells beach for a quick look. One hardy family were on the beach building sandcastles, they weren’t going to let the weather stop them having a beach holiday!
We then rejoined the Ring of Kerry where we had turned off the previous evening. We continued clockwise through Dooks, Glenbeigh, then took the first right turn after crossing Caragh Bridge, on the recommendation of Chris.
The road soon became a single track road with next to no cars on it, more walkers, cyclists & the odd motorcyclists. The road took us alongside the spectacular Lough Carag, occasionally stopping for a photo, but it’s such a faff.
To take a photo, I have to pull over, take my gloves off, dig my camera out of my pocket & take the photo whilst trying to balance the bike upright with Jackie wobbling on the back. If I want to get off the bike, then Jackie has to get off the bike first, usually with a sigh. As a result, most of the picturesque views have to be committed to our memory instead of to an SD card!
We crossed the raging River Caragh at Blackstones Bridge, then climbed up into the mountains, passing through the stunning Ballaghbeama Gap. After an hour or so of tricky, but exhilarating riding, we reached the R568 & raced up to Molls Gap to rejoin the Ring of Kerry.
We popped into the cafe at Molls Gap, but nothing too our fancy, so we had a wee & left. We now followed the Ring of Kerry anti-clockwise down the mountain with all the other tourists towards Killarney. We stopped at Ladies View for a scenic vista over Upper Lake. We even treated ourselves to a proper photo be getting of the bike to admire the views.
We continued on in a procession down the mountain, through Killarney National Park, past Muckross Lake & towards the outskirts of Killarney with it’s massive hotels. We stopped at a petrol station for fuel & discovered it had a very tempting cafe, which prompted us to stay for brunch.
The staff couldn’t have been nicer & more helpful. We had ham & egg salad rolls, scone, doughnut & coffees, all for a bargain price! After we cruised through, well stop / started through Killarney town centre, which was easy on the eye, but very touristy & way too busy. We didn’t stop other than to use an ATM.
We then embarked on an approximate 2 hour ride across country to our new Cottage for Week 2 of our trip. We picked up the N72 & were able to ride at a decent pace on the relatively flat roads. The occasional hefty bump gave me a reminder to stay vigilant.
We rode through Barraduff, Rathmore & Banteer to Mallow, nicknamed the “Crossroads of Munster”. We had a cruise around Mallow, primarily because I took a wrong turning, then picked up the N72 again. We continued through Killavullen, Ballyhooly to Fermoy.
Fermoy was a very attractive, but less touristy, looking town with a an impressive bridge crossing the wide River Blackwater to the main street of Courthouse Road. Whilst in Fermoy, we stopped & took an ‘on bike’ photo of the Cistercian Monks statue.
As a point of interest, during the War of Independence, Fermoy was the scene of the first attack for arms by the IRA against British troops, during which a Private Jones was killed. This resulted in several reprisals, including when British troops looted and burned part of the town centre. One of those who led the raid, IRA Commandant Michael Fitzgerald, was subsequently captured but never tried for the offence. He later became the first IRA man to die on hunger strike during the War of Independence.
We continued eastwards to Tallow Bridge, where Chris had told me that the cottage was just a short distance further on. Unfortunately my SatNav told me to continue around the hairpin bend & that we were still 30 minutes away. Stupidly, I followed the SatNav until we got up the road to Lismore. We pulled over & used google which took us another route & just 6 minutes later we pulled up at Bride Valley Fruit Farm, the farmhouse of which is our cottage.
Bride Valley Fruit Farm is still a working farm with cattle, sheep & Bramley cooking apples that are bought by Bulmers for their cider. The farmhouse has marvellous views across Bride Valley & the River Bride running through it.
After emptying the panniers, Chris & I retreated to the kitchen to watch the Man Utd v Chelsea game on the iPad with a cold beer. When I thought the day couldn’t have got any better, Man Utd’s youngsters thrashed Chelsea 4-0. Nothing better than to see that smug self-satisfied look wiped off Frank Lampard’s face!
As soon as the football finished, Angela served up a delicious Chicken Pasta Bake with garlic bread & salad with a drop of red. After dinner, we cleared away & got ready to play a game of Cribbage. I dealt out the first hand, but before we could play we had an unexpected pitch invasion, in the form of the farmer, Willie McDonnell.
Willie walked straight in, sat himself down at our table & picked up the dealt cards. He then proceeded to tell us that he used to play ‘45’ & started selecting random cards that were apparently bonus cards. Willie was a lovely old man, who certainly had the the gift of the gab. No doubt he had kissed the Blarney Stone!
Willie stayed for 30-45 minutes telling us all sorts of stories about his life on the farm & the people & history of the area. It was fascinating & amusing stuff. We ascertained from him that we were allowed to fish in the river for brown trout, but not salmon. Willie also told us that 10 years ago he bought a donkey for €1000 for his cottages guests as well as investing in the luxury of internet. He couldn’t have been more different to Mr Hegarty.
We played Cribbage & Logo ( note: where Jackie was the victor over an out of form Simon) & finally went to bed at the unearthly hour of 11.30pm.
It had been a top top day.
Song of the Day - The High Road by Broken BellsRead more