Wednesday, 27 May 2015


To understand Ireland is to try and immerse yourself into it. In a small way, our slow bike ride feels as if it is doing this. Cycle touring takes you away from main roads as we seek out minor roads. Our main hazards are avoiding dogs who continue to regard us as easy victims. However this should not detract anyone from cycle touring here. Minor roads always take you to the best scenery and unspoilt places.
Today it rains for most of the time and dogs, much like human beings, stay indoors.
Within our first half hour, we hear a cuckoo, see a heron in flight and have a golden view of a kingfisher. The wind has moved to the south which helps us but we have our first full day of rain. It is not heavy, more a continuous light rain, almost as if we are in the clouds. It soaks everything so cameras and clothing are well packed away.
Almost immediately on leaving Roosky, we are in a wild landscape of water meadows, trees and only a semi tamed landscape. We cross the River Shannon and break off route into Carrick on Shannon for a first coffee break. We briefly join the N4 and cycle past a ghastly American style coffee shop to find a small locally owned one in the town centre with fresh locally produced deli counter and really friendly owner. We discuss the differences between Irish and west country cream teas.
This wilder landscape improves as we cycle north west. We are now finding a rugged landscape within hills that rise up to 600m. It is shrouded in mist. At lunchtime we arrive at Ballyfarnon and pull into a garage which has the only cafe. Visually it looks nothing special but we find its heart is inside. Three locals are tucking into stews. The food looks mouth wateringly good. The lady behind the counter is younger than me but adopts us as if we are her mum. Out comes two stews and as much coffee as we can drink. These are 5* meals for two soggy wet cyclists.
We cycle on. The temperature is a miserable 11 degrees but we are warm and finish at Sligo having cycled 46 miles. What do you think of the garage?

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