Forde- I totally agree with finding it difficult to get excited about local stuff, I take quite a bit for granted where I live. I think even if you live near spectacular landscapes, it's still stuff you've seen before so there's no adventure of sense of discovery. Kinda kills the motivation. As for the North coast, I'm a little embarrassed to say I missed out on quite a bit of the landmarks you mentioned. The only things I did was grab a few beers in the town of Bushmills, hit the giant's causeway and wander around in Dunluce Castle. Made it to the rope bridge parking lot but didn't feel like hiking dressed like a spaceman with a backpack. Plus I was kind of pushing the pace the first two days until I fell into a more relaxed groove of riding and finally took time to see more stuff. I already have my dad on board to ride Ireland again with me next year so I'll get another chance at what I missed. As for Joey Dunlop, yes, now I finally I do know who he is but I honestly hadn't heard of him before hand. My only excuse is I don't watch tv plus I even if I did I don't think they give bike racing much airtime in the states unfortunately. But yeah, I do explain where I got my Dunlop education later in the trip, it all comes full circle
FootDragger- Good to hear from a local!! I love Chico, been thrown out of a few bars there in my younger years. It was indeed good to get out and ride elsewhere, Ireland is a new favorite. Although, it's still tough to beat highway 1 going north or Mosquito Ridge road in Foresthill. We have some good stuff in our backyard.