Drinking and Driving in Ireland... Not at the same time
5am. Bushmills Ireland
Im sitting in my bnb room wide awake and staring at the ceiling when I suddenly get the hair up my ass to write my first RR. I just arrived in Ireland yesterday with little sleep, a lot of coffee and metric shit-load of pent up anticipation. Here's the plan. 1 week to do the circumference of the emerald isle on a rented Triumph Tiger 800 with minimal gear and minimal plans...
The trip sofar..
Left Sacramento at 6am, arrived in Dublin the next day at 8am, bus to the train station, train to Lisburn, cab to Phillip McCallen motorcycles, pick up the bike from Sam, drive through Belfast to the coast, coast counter clockwise to Bushmills where I currently am now. Needless to say it was a long couple of days with minimal sleep and almost non existant hygiene. It didn't hit me that I should probably take it easy the first day until I had my AH-Ha moment 5 miles out of Bushmills. Yesterday I discovered sleep deprivation, caffiene and my hardwired American affinity for the right side of the road are a bad combo.. If my face looked anything like the faces of the people in the oncoming car then I think we all have some underpants that need to be thrown out. My new motto. Stay on the left... Stay on the left...
This is just the intro, more to follow and the pictures haven't even begun. I'll also try to keep in real time from here on out :D
nice start :1drink
looking forward for more. rides save!
I'm in. Keep it coming!
I just spent an hour loading pictures I writing another entry only to have all the info lost when I had to relog in after being logged out due to time... Angry.. Looks like I'll have to write later.. Currently in Donegal, leaving in a few for somewhere south on the coast.. I'll write more later :1drink
Here's a few..
Beers, Bikes & Travel
You are off to a good start doing what we all want to do. Keep the post coming and have a draft for all of us.
Thanks guys, I think what I might do is just put off writing the ride report until I get home and have access to a full sized computer.. I was trying to write this on my iPhone which is simply too tedious and likely the reason why my RR didn't save when I submit it. Also I might start a new thread as this is likely going to include Sicily as well.. Not to mention I got moved from Ride reports to day tripping for some reason. :( As soon as I can I'll write up a full ride report and post it, this trip deserves a full write up as its turning out to be a life changer. Off to the ring of Kerry :)
Looking forward to your ride report and photos. It a bit cold in Ireland today, hope you have your winter woolies with you.
Which part of Ireland are you in? It's freezing down here in Dingle, luckily I've got enough armor on to look like a spaceman. Drove through rain and hail yesterday, today is looking fairly clear, just butt cold.
It's been 4 months since I completed my lap on the emerald isle and finally the itch of unfinished business has called me back to finish the ride report I began earlier this year...
Last we left off I was tapping away in Donegal unsuccessfully trying to post a ride report from my iphone 4s. After wasting a solid hour of would be riding time on a post that timed out, I decided I was better off writing notes and doing the RR later. So without any further a doo. I present Ireland.
A story where this guy..
Takes this bike..
On an 8 day trip around this island..
While seeing plenty of these..
And celebrating each day with a lot of this...
God I love this country....
Cmon cmon can't wait. Hurry up I want to see this.
Ooooo! This should be good! :1drink
Methinks a subscription is in order here!
From the beginning..
Dublin to Belfast to Bushmills
For years I've been hearing the same rumors about Ireland and it's people. The landscapes are staggeringly beautiful, the people are warm and charming, and that Guiness tastes way better then the states. Determined to discover these truths myself, I use the excuse of flying to Europe for family purposes to swing wide and finally experience Ireland first hand.
16 hours of flights, one lay over in London and a lot of coffee land me in Dublin spinning like a crackhead. The immediate goal was to get to the bike shop in Northern Ireland to pick up the bike and get to it. Fortunately for me, throughout my entire trip serendipitous dumb luck shined on me on a regular basis. No sooner had I walked out of the airport then I stumble on a bus ready to go to the train station. I arrive at the train station just in time to stumble on the train to Belfast as it's leaving. I jump off the train at Lisburn just outside of Belfast to grab my first beer and wait for the taxi that Sam sent.
Son of a bitch, it really IS that good!
I had been shooting emails back and forth with the Sam, the manager of Phillip Mcallen motorcycles who had a slew different bikes waiting for me to chose from for my rental. Sam is a foul mouthed, quick witted and very funny retired police officer that's spending his retirement playing in his own favorite toy store and getting paid for it. Great guy and a helluva shop. To give a well deserved shout out, I could not have been more impressed with the people at Phillip McAllen. As part of my piss poor planning habits, I showed up on short notice with not a single piece of riding gear in my bag and they managed to get me outfitted for the trip in about 30 minutes. They were prompt to respond, flexible, accommodating and above all else they had one hell of an armada of rental bikes to choose from. Still kind of wish I rented the KTM. I chose a 2012 Tiger 800 because I was thinking about buying one. Now I own a f800gs. Go figure. :D
After an hour of swapping maps, ideas and stories, I asked Sam if I could rent a GPS for the trip. In his Irish accent he said something along the lines of "sure I'd be more then happy to take your money and send you on your way, but keep in mind every time you stop to ask directions you're going to make a new friend. So do you really want a gps?" ...Well, I guess not.. And so begins the adventure of getting lost every day and finding something amazing in the process.
As stated last time, I took off like a bat out of hell, hit the coast by Belfast and turned left. The coastal riding in Ireland is like nothing I've ever experienced. Aside from the whole wrong side of the road thing, the roads were built for motorcycles. The roads are smooth, twisty and beautiful enough to make a grown man vomit in his helmet. I rode for half the day, had an oh shit learning experience and wound up calming my nerves at a pub in Bushmills. Just my luck! Come to find out, apparently most of the pubs in Ireland are taverns and offer B&B rooms. I now officially have a game plan and a new purpose in life. 1)Ride till you're hungry then stop and eat. 2) Ride till you get lost and talk to someone who looks Irish. 3) Ride till you're tired then find the closest pub and get a room and start drinking asap. Done. Here's a few from the disgusting ride to Bushmills.
It's enough to make a grown man nauseous.
It's springtime so these little snuggle turds were everywhere. Apparently they have a bit of a problem with vandals spray painting graffiti on the sheep.
Finally made it to my Pub/B&B in Bushmills. Had a leg of lamb with gravy that could have fed an army of angry midgets. I would show you pictures of it but unfortunately I have a little problem with getting so excited and emotional about food when I'm traveling that I forget to take pictures before I stuff my face. All I have memories of sobbing while eating and almost choking on a femur. The B&B was somewhere around 30 euros, clean, quiet, and it has free wifi reception in the bathroom... So I emailed until my legs went numb.
Time to make use of a good beer buzz and finally hit the sack.
Next - Bushmills to Donegal.
Ok, I am a transplant from Belfast living in Southern Cali (Ventura County). I am in so keep it coming.:freaky
Subscribed! Now keep 'em coming!
Bushmills to Donegal.
A word about Irish breakfasts...
I saved quite a bit of money on food during my trip to Ireland as breakfasts always came with the room, and I never ate lunch because the breakfasts were so damn filling. Full Irish breakfasts typically consist of eggs, a couple different types of sausages, white pudding, black pudding(blood?), potatoes, cereal, coffee, a couple different types of toast, bacon, fried tomatoes and maybe a croissant. Holly Balls is it a lot of food.
Happier then happy meal.
In keeping with my loose knit planning, time to get on the bike and head to who knows where. Yesterday I felt myself wanting to push myself and drive as far as I could just for the sake of making progress. Progress towards what? For some reason I got it in my head to try to complete the lap around Ireland and I was having a hard time letting go of it. The whole point of this trip is to see as much as I can, talk to people, eat food and soak up the culture. If I'm going to do that I need to let go of the idea of progress and focus on letting the journey be the destination. Gotta slow down. Not sure where I'm headed to today, I figure I'll try to keep the ocean on my right, start looking for a cool town around 7 or 8pm and figure it out when I get there. Mount up.
I love old gothic churches. I'll take an old beat up gothic church over an over the top catholic dome cathedral any day, plus they make for good moody pictures. One of the interesting things I noticed at every church/cemetery I stopped at is the range in years on the headstones. It would not be uncommon to roll up to a church with half a roof, tombstones from hundreds of years ago and then right next to that you would have a tombstone from 5 years ago. The antiquity of these cemeteries is amazing yet they're still using them for fresh burials. As any American will say, we just don't have that kind of history here in the states. I wish we did.
Castles castles everywhere. This was the first castle ruin I came across. I went and parked and walked around in amazement for an hour or so and did a walking tour. Fast forward a few days later, after the 7th or 10th castle I found myself just taking pictures from the road while looking for the next pub. It's strange, but you actually get fatigued with the surreal beauty of this place, it's exhausting to feel like a kid at Disneyland for a week straight.
One of the places that Sam had mentioned that sounded interesting was a place called the Darkened Hedges. It's supposed to be a road lined by an unusually dense line of trees on either side of the road and supposed to be one hell of a photo op. Couldn't resist the temptation. Followed a tourist map that got me lost and wound up in the town of Ballymoney. Found a Ducati shop and figured if anyone in town knew where the darkened hedges was then this would be the place to ask. Asked the guys at the counter.. They replied they were embarrassed that they didn't know but I should go talk to the bartender at Joey's Pub, she'll know how to get there. Ok. Walked into Joey's Pub, the place was a motorcycle haven, all the walls were decorated with pictures, awards and memorabilia. Thought it was cool but didn't take any pictures as I didn't really get the significance, yet. Talked to the bartender and sure enough she gave me turn by turn instructions on how to find the darkened hedges while she poured me another pint of guiness.
A diavel at the ducati shop. I nearly goofed in my pants.
A few blocks from the bar on the way out of town, I came across a bronze statue of a motorcycle rider and a huge memorial. I pulled off and took a few pictures. Joey Dunlop.. I'm guessing this is the Joey from Joey's pub?? Apparently this guy kicked a lot of ass in his day as his list of wins was extensive. I won't bother to fill in any other details about Joey until I cover my run in with a cemetery grounds keeper later in the trip, but it wasn't till my chance encounter that I realized that I was standing on motorcycle street racing holly ground without even knowing it. More on that later..
The Darkened Hedges... Apparently the darkened hedges aren't really dark until they grow leaves back, still good for a couple pictures.
Don't drink the water, it tastes like shit.
While following the coast later that day I came down a hill and passed through a town called Downhill, saw a steep road to the left that wound up the mountain, and didn't take it. Spend a few minutes agonizing over whether or not I should turn around and go explore but I was hungry and wanted to stop off to refuel. 30 miles later I finally find a roadside pub and restaurant, looked busy, must be good. Went into find myself sitting at the bar with a drunk wedding party and tons of screaming kids chasing each other around. Grabbed a pint and a plate of sausages and stuck up a conversation with the bartender over scenic roads.
Turns out the bartender has a picture on her wall at home of the view from the road I passed up like an idiot back in Downhill. She said the view from Bishops road has a 180 degree view and overlooks the entire peninsula and Irish Sea.. I hate backtracking 30 miles but I might make an exception this time..
360 view :evil
The obligatory bike pic..
Ok, doesn't look like it from the picture but the sun is getting a little low, check out a map, looks like I'm shooting for Donegal.
Pull into Donegal after dark, find the closest Pub.. Talk to the bartender, she sends me down the street to a B&B, drop my stuff off and get to it.
Found this while I was stumbling around.
Nite nite Donegal.
Next time... Getting lost, getting found, new friends and a waterfall. Donegal to Westport.
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