08-04-2012, 03:28 PM
2 scoops of stupid
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Auburn CA/Denver CO
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..
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.