Our Cycling trip

image1(10)This will seem entirely out of character with the other posts on this blog, but who cares?

These are some pictures from our cycling trip in October 2017 that went from Dublin to Glendalough. From there to Bunclody and then (via a breakdown and a day’s haitus) to Enniscorthy. From there we trundled on to Waterford city, where we rode the greenway most of the way to Dungarven and back.

Sungeun took all the pictures. That and my overweening vanity are the reasons why I and not she, am in most of the photos.

Day one took us up into the Wicklow mountains to Glendalough via Roundwood.

 

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Day one, on the road to Roundwood.
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I look happy because we’ve just got over the Old Long Hill without serious deaths or injuries, physical or emotional to either party.

In Glendalough, we went for a short gravel spin after dumping our bags at the hostel.

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One does not simply cycle into Mordor.
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The valley of the two lakes.

Day two was probably the hardest day of the trip, instead of taking the main road from Laragh to Aughrim we went over the hills through the tiny village of Greenane. Beautiful scenery, steep hills. After an unpleasant interlude on the main road to Tinahealy, we took another back country hill route through Shillealagh and Clonegal before ending up in Bunclody.

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Somewhere outside Clonegal. It’s hillier than you think. My smile is utterly fake.

We stayed the night in a charming BnB in Bunclody.

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Having a pint in Bunclody.

But the next morning disaster struck. Sungeun’s bike broke down, just as we were setting out. Her chain snapped in two places and her rear deraileur snapped off.

Luckily a kind local bus driver drove us to Enniscorthy, where equally luckily the bike shop owner (Kenny’s Bikes, we love you guys) was able to fix it.

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Ouch
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Thank you Mr school bus driver. People really are nicer in the countryside, it turns out.
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Enniscorthy from Vinegar Hill .Yes that Vinegar Hill, scene of the battle in 1798. Enniscorthy is actually a very charming town.
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On the summit of Vinegar Hill.

We spent the night in Enniscorthy in another BnB. I won’t go into specifics but due to circumstances beyond our control, we got little sleep. I will add the following keywords and you may draw your own conclusions. Shouting, fighting banging, Garda Siochana.

The next day, the epic continued. Not taking the main roads is the only sensible option for the touring cyclist. But there is a reason why main roads are built in the places they are – in Ireland they are generally the only flat route. We spent the day, from Enniscorthy to New Ross, via a village named Ballywilliam and then on to Waterford city via another village named Glenmore, on one of the rolliest routes you can imagine. No huge climbs, but no flat stretches either.

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At the Barrow river in New Ross. Believe me, crossing this felt like a huge achievement at the time. Also, a nice view of both of our bikes loaded up.
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We christened this hill, the last before a long descent into Waterford city, ‘Farmer’s Hill’. I didn’t trust my map reading so went off to ask a farmer on tractor. He helpfully said ‘that way’. Over the nasty steep hill that you just about can’t see in the photo.

When we got to Waterford we were wrecked so for the first time we checked into a hotel. Complete with room service and widescreen tv. Was it worth it? You’re damn right it was. We both fell asleep on the bed watching Ireland vs Moldova on tv after having pizza and beer delivered to the room. Noice. (NB, mispeliing is intentional). (NB 2, We finished the beer and pizza before falling asleep, in case you were wondering).

The next day we thought we’d give the Waterford Greenway a try – 45 km of car free bike paths from Waterford to Dungarven. Only two problems; we did all the tourism in Waterford first before setting off at about three. Then Sungeun had three punctures. We didn’t quite make it to Dungarven and finished our ride back in the dark.

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The greenway is built on an old disused railway line.
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After fixing the first puncture with a spare tube, I had to patch up the second. When the third came, I decided not  bother fixing it any more (it was very slow) and instead just pumped it up every ten km or so. That meant three or four pumps on the way back to Waterford.

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By the the time we approached Waterford city, it was pitch black on the greenway.

I’d love to tell you we time trialled the 200km back to Dublin the next day, but we didn’t, we took the train. And although the feeling of effortlessly doing in two hours what took four days to accomplish smacks one in the face with the futility of all earthly endevours, I have no regrets.

The end.

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