Day 10: Waterford to Dun Laoghaire (Dublin)
Our last day takes us back north towards Dublin, but not without taking in some of the many excellent roads to be found here. Unfortunately the weather has turned overnight and we are greeted with rain and dark skies. As we stop for coffee the rain stops as well and we enjoy the beautifully verdant fields and forests on the way to Glendalough, the ancient monastic settlement over 1500 years old. From here we tackle the last few miles through Wicklow Mountains National Park and into Dublin, where we end our exploration of the Emerald Isle with a few (it may have been a few more...) well-deserved pints of the black stuff. Thank you Ireland, it was a blast!
Last daily briefing...
...and off they go
Arrival at our hotel in Dublin
The bikes are ready for their journey to Austria
A final toast: thanks to you all for a wonderful time!
We are looking forward to see you again on another tour...
Day 9: Killarney to Waterford
A perfect morning at our hotel in Killarney
First (and longer) stop at Blarney castle
A mysterious cave...
...but even though we were following the legend, unfortunately we couldn't find the gold...!
Dan at a fast growing (just 100 years old) giant red cedar tree
Everywhere, one can see little surprises
In the fern garden
At the castle, there is also another garden with toxic plants
View from the side of the castle
Nice spot to relax a bit
One has to bend over, to be able to cross through there
...and here too at this monolith
Aya and Arik in the jungle-ish part
Some art, embedded in a quite nice way
Another little waterfall...
...next to the "wishing steps".
If you go up, turn around and while going down again backwards (but both with your eyes closed) - aaand while doin that, you still have the chance, to NOT make a wish - one wish becomes true within the next week!
The "which stone"
She told the secret of the stone in the castle (that gifts you with eloquence, after kissing it).
The which can escape her stone (the one here) only after nightfall (when the whole area is closed for visitors...hmmmmmm...)
We then took some interesting backcountry roads to a fine lunch spot...
...and continued later to "the vee" - basically a hairpin in the middle of nowhere!
Day 8: Killarney, rest day
Our second rest day of the tour and the weather has changed. What was clear blue skies is now dark, forbidding clouds and with them strong winds and rain. Even so, we hop on our bikes and head into the stunning Gap of Dunloe for some of the twistiest roads of the tour. The rain has kept almost all other traffic away so we have the roads almost to ourselves as we ride over the gap and into the Black Valley. From here it's just a few miles to the village of Sneem, where we enjoy some excellent coffee and pie. Unfortunately the weather has not improved so we are forced to concede defeat and return to Killarney. We enjoy a relaxing afternoon of exploring the town before meeting up for dinner in one of the many excellent restaurants Killarney has to offer. All in all a successful day.
"Photo journalist" Linda is ready and prepared for rain.
Gap of Dunlough
Curvy, single lane, a bit steep and breathtaking nature (plus some rain, myst and wind) - welcome to Ireland
Approaching our coffee stop...
...what a spectacular view from the bridge!
Time for some hot coffee in a dry environment!
These (colored) sheep on our way back didn't mind the rain (nor lose the color)
Day 7: Galway to Killarney
Good bye Galway, hello Killarney! We leave the bustling city behind and head south towards the Burrens, one of the most picturesque parts of the Irish coast. Along the way we stop at the Cliffs of Moher and take in the epic views of the Atlantic ocean breaking against the sheer rock of the cliffs. After lunch in the beautiful market town of Kilrush we board the ferry over the river Shannon and then enjoy the lazy twists and turns of Irish country lanes south towards Killarney.
Bootbeer is ready...
The "bar" is waiting...
Arik is relaxed completely ...not enough (yet)???
Dinner with a view...!
Warm goat cheese...
...and warm apple with berries and icecream.
Day 6: Rest day in Galway
Our first rest day of the tour, but it's no excuse to stay in bed! We are here to ride so ride we shall. We head towards the Connemara coast and after a relaxing coffee break at beautiful Kylemore Abbey we head out onto the Sky Road, a narrow single lane ring road offering unparalleled views of the Atlantic coast. A quick lunch to refuel and we jump back onto the bikes, eager for even more twisties as we crisscross the rugged Connemara landscape on our way back to Galway.
Stop on the "sky road"...
...with a breathtaking view onto the coast
The last days, we were already passing peat "fields".
Here, people are harvesting this fire material...
Time for an afternoon coffee...
...in the sunshine!
In the last stretch, we enjojed curves...
...and stunning views.
Back in town...
Street artists in the "latin quarter" of Galway
Day 5: Ballina to Galway
It's a glorious day as we head back towards the coast and onto the Wild Atlantic Way. Our first stop at Downpatrick Head is almost deserted apart from a few seabirds and the remnants of an old church built by St. Patrick. Next we hesf south, the roads a mix of narrow single lanes and wide open sweepers. After lunch we stop at Croagh Patrick and pay our respects at the famine memorial. Next we ride on some of the best roads so far as we pass through Cong and the make our way to Galway.
First stop at Downpatrick's head
The blowhole - just not blowing today.
St. Patrick's monument within the ground walls of an old chapel.
Nowafays, just birds are living on this beautiful stone pillar.
Coffee at the ceide fields museum
What a fantastic view!
One of the typical narrow roads.
Great atmosphere in this pub!
Croagh Patrick with its holy mountain and the monument "coffin ship"
Great scenery at the Doo Lough Pass
A last quick coffee stop
Our "hometown" for the next 2 nights: Galway
In Irland, Whisky and Guinness (beer) is a must!
Day 4: Letterkenny to Ballina
Our fourth day of the tour takes us out onto the Wild Atlantic Way! Stretching all along Irelands West Coast, this route offers some of the best riding to be found on the isalnd and we will take full advantage of all it has to offer. We start off at Horn Head, a remote spit of land with stunning views of the craggy coastline, then swing south on beautifully curvy roads towards the Sliabh Liagh cliffs which tower almost 2.000 ft above the sea. Along the way we stop for a traditional Edelweiss picnic, high up in the valleys of rural Donegal, including a birthday surprise for Arik. Happy Birthday!
Time to go, even the comfiest beds can't keep us from the ride.
Welcome to the start of our ride along the Wild Atlantic Way!
This is Ireland the way we imagined it. Wild coasts, blues seas and an excellent coffee shop just around the corner!
Not a bad spot for picnic.
And now time for an impromptu fireworks display. Happy Birthday!
An iconic view over the Sliabh Liagh cliffs.
...this day was "yours", Arik!
Day 3: Belfast to Letterkenny
Coffee stop at Glenarm castle with its walled gardens.
As on this day, there was a high bank holiday, many roads were closed for festivals and marching bands...
...means: we had to recalculate our route.
But even starting rain couldn't put anyone into a bad mood!
Sightseeing stop at Giant's causeway...
Stunning stone formations, built by cooling lava (aaaages ago)
Linda and Marc
Marcel and Klaus, demonstrating how big these piles are
Nice view onto a castle ruin along the way
Day 2: Dublin to Belfast
Day two and it's time to hit the road. We make our way around Dublin and head west towards Trim, hoe to Trim castle, made famous due to it's apppearance in the move "Braveheart". From here it's time for a relaxing ride through the rolling hills towards the coast, interrupted only by lunch at a classic Irish pub, before tackling the switchbacks of the Mourne mountains. From here it's just a few miles towards Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland and our stop for the night.
Our first morning briefing of the tour.
And they are off!
The beautifull keep of Trim castle.
The reservoir at Spelga Dam is an excellent spot to recover from the switchbacks through Mourne mountains.
The Merchant Hotel in Dublin, a fantastic place to stay in the heart of Belfast!
Red hair and Ireland - not just a myth...
Day 1: Welcome to Dublin
What to do Dublin while you wait for your motorcycle? Go explore, of course! While TG Marc spends the day preparing everyhting for our tour we head off into Dublin to see some of the fascinating sights!.
On the way to our fantastic tour in Ireland.
Crossing Ha'penny bridge.
Tom and Jerry of Christchurch cathedral. Look it up, it's a good story.
The drawing room of Dublin castle, It will do.
The harp of Brian Boru, one of the iconic symbols of Ireland, which is featured on everything from the Guiness symbol to pos office signage.