08-06-2012, 06:00 PM
2 scoops of stupid
Joined: Apr 2011
Location: Auburn CA/Denver CO
Donegal to Westport.
In hindsight I wished I had done a little better job taking pictures of the towns I stayed in. Seems like every time I finally arrived at where I was going to stay, I got completely focused on wandering around town and looking for food and beer. I absolutely loved Donegal, it was a small but absolutely beautiful little town that had it's own heartbeat at night. The downtown area had tons of bars and restaurants to match any taste. A river ran around the outside that I didn't even know what there as I rolled into town after sunset. Cool place, wish I had better pictures to show for it.
The more I stay at bed and breakfasts here the more I never want to stay in a hotel again. My B&B experience, particularly here in Ireland, has been a wonderful and intimate experience with the culture. Hotels seem sterile and quite cold by comparison. Each place I stayed throughout the trip was more like staying at a relative's house where you're hanging out and eating with a family then simply renting a room for the night. Great way to get a feel for the people. I'd much rather give my cash to a family then reward best western for building a turd of a hotel in an otherwise beautiful town.
This morning in particular felt very liberating, I think it simply took me a few days to forget about home and stress enough to relax and fully appreciate where I was and what I was doing. Having spent many a nights reading ride reports, I've noticed it seems like everyone gets a little philosophical when you're isolated with your brain locked inside a helmet for a few days straight. Today I could feel myself getting a little weird and being very at peace with being so. Tarmac.
May and Pat
Not long at all after jumping on the N15 South I noticed over my right shoulder a rather large castle off in the distance that looked reasonably intact. I had just began my day and was excited to put some miles behind me but felt that subtle feeling in my gut like this might be worth investigating. Hung a right at the next road and got lost, as per usual.
I was making progress on getting closer to the castle but still felt like I was missing a road somewhere, keep exploring. Came to an intersection with 3 roads, a driveway and a couple of people on the side of the road digging holes and planting flowers. The driveway gate was locked, hung a left to try to get closer to the castle, waved at the couple and rolled the throttle. Found myself driving out on the finger of a small peninsula with the castle disappearing in my mirror. Eventually the road curved around the peninsula and I found myself back at the intersection where the couple were working on the flowerbeds. I passed them one more time disappointed with not being able to get to the castle and started back towards the highway. Wait, what the heck. Flipped a u-turn, killed the engine and rolled up next to the couple. "Hi there! What's the story with the castle over there?" What followed was one of my favorite experiences on the trip. May and Pat walked up, put down their shovels and told me all about the castle, the peninsula and the Tidytown project they were working on for the Tidytown competition that was going on in Ireland.
The history was fascinating, especially for someone coming from a town where a victorian house is a big deal. After talking a while, they took a break from working on the tidytown project and invited me to their house for coffee and toast. May is a retired teach and Pat is a retired cop. I would be willing to move to Ireland just to have them as neighbors, absolutely wonderful people. As it turns out May and her sister went over to the UK to dig in the libraries to research the history of the castle, peninsula and harbor. With the info they found a book was written on the history which she gave me a copy of Amazing people and beautiful house. May and Pat, thanks again!
Ok, sorry about all the writing, today meant a lot to me. Back to pictures.
Didn't make it far before I saw another shiny object and went chasing butterflies. Hey a waterfall! I love getting lost...
Holy crap it's getting late, check out a map, Westport it is.
Finally rolled into town. Apply the formula: Get a beer and ask the bartender if they have a room. Success.
Happiness is a Guiness after a long days ride.
Next: Wide open places, nature showing off and my favorite picture of the trip.
Westport to Galway