Our last day on the road begins with some of the best weather we have seen on this tour.Clear blue sky and sun send us on our way north towards Glendalough. Here we find some of the best maintained buidings from Irelands early Christian period. Located in the middle of densely forrested valley these ancient sites of worship retain some of their peaceful atmosphere to this day. From here we head on through the Wicklow Mountains National Park where we find some of the best single tracks of this trip to take us all the way into Dublin, and the end of the inaugural "Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way" Tour.
We can't wait to do it all again!
Our penultimate day takes us back inland as we turn east and head for Blarney Castle, home of the world famous Blarney Stone. After aquiring the "Gift of the Gab" (not that we really needed it), we set out for the open road and soon we are speeding along the small country lanes that make Ireland such a great biking destination. We arrive in Waterford just in time to watch last remaining minutes of the Ireland vs. France game and raise a glass to the boys in green.
It's or second rest day of the tour, but we can't wait to get back on the bikes.The reason: The Ring of Kerry! One of the most famous roades in Ireland, the Ring of Kerry offers some of the most spectacular vistas in Ireland. But this would not be an Edelweiss Tour if we just stayed on the main road. Taking a break from the main tourist route we head inland and into the mountainous interior where we tackle some of the best single track roads to be found on this planet. We arrive back at the hotel with big grins on our faces and end the day in some of the many excellent pubs Killarney has to offer.
We continue south and head for the Burrens. This stretch of coast has some of the most stark and barren landscape we have seen so far, with a mix of green fields, scree and sheer rockfaces stretching out into the Atlantic. After a quick coffee stop we jump back onto our bikes and head for our highlight of the day, the Cliffs of Moher. Reaching a height of 200m, these sheer cliffs are a haven for seabirds, with over 60000 nesting here. But the open road calls us and soon we are heading south. We cross the river Shannon on one of the many small ferries before tackling the last few mile to Killarney, our home for the next two nights.
Galway is an excellent location for our first rest day of the tour. Home to some of the best pubs and live music on the west coast, we take a well earned break from riding and immerse ourselves into the Irish lifestyle. Some drinking may have been involved as well...
Today it's all about the ride as we continue south. Endless sweeping turns along the loughs, narrow mountain roads with hairpin turns and picturesque little towns combine to make this one of the best riding days so far. Our days ends in a traditional Irish pub with Ireland's victory over Italy in the European Footbal Cup. What more can we possibly want?
We've finally arrived at one of the main reasons for out tour of Ireland, the Wild Atlantic Way! Stretching 2500km from north to south along the Irelands west coast, this route is a proper playground for bikers. Heading north out of Letterkenny we head north for Horn Head and an introduction in the fine art of single track riding. A quick stop for coffee and soon we are back on the bikes and o our way to the Slieve League cliffs. Dropping 600m into the Atlantic Ocean the cliffs offer some fantastic picture opportunities, which we exploit to the fullest. Our day ends in Ballina where a well deserved pint puts the finishing touch to a fantastic day's ride.
Our second day on the bike takes out on to the Causeway Costal Route, a road that seems to have been made for motorcycles. A constant stream of twiesties takes us north towards Giant's Causeway, an Unesco World Heritage Site and must-see on any trip to Ireland. Aquick visit at the Bushmills Distillery to stock up on some mutch needed supplies. Soon after we're back in the Republic of Ireland and heading for Letterkenny, our stop for the night.
After an intense morning briefing by tour guide Tony we set out for our first highlight of the day, the fabulous ruins of Trim Castle.The largest Norman castle in Ireland, Trim Castle was made famous as a film set for Mel Gibson's "Braveheart". From here we make our way overland to the coast of the Irish See, grab an excellent bowl of fish chowder in a classic Irish pub before making our way to Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland and our home for the night.
Welcome to the inaugural Ireland and the Wild Atlantic Way Tour! Our trip begins in the capital of Ireland, Dublin, where we meet up and collect our bikes before setting out to discover the Emerald Isle.