Almost everyone has arrived but as seems to be the norm at the moment some luggage is missing. Some of the guys head to a local bike shop to see what they can pick up.Joe is in Scotland arriving on a later flight, but it seems nobody knows where his luggage is. He turns up just in time for dinner, but still without luggage. After dinner there's still some sorting out of bikes going on down in the garage. About 10:30 Joe shows up with a helmet bag and a big grin on his face - luggage delivered!!!!!!! We can all have a sound nights sleep and look forward to tomorrow and our first riding day........
So today is our first riding day - and what a day it has turned out to be. The skies are blue, the sun is shining and its the perfect temperature for riding. We set out from the Hotel through the morning traffic of Dublin. It's pretty slow going but soon enough we make it to the M50 motorway and make better pace. Eventually after about and hour we are free from most of the suburbs and 30 minutes later we roll up to Trim Castle. Its a great spot for a quick break and a coffee. Afterwards we continue northwards through smaller and windier roads until we reach Dundalk. We skirt Dundalk via the motorway and make our way to Fitzpatricks bar and restaurant for lunch. Then its onwards again towards Carlingford Lough and the Newry estuary with some nice coastal roads and views. A quick coffee stop at Newcastle and we make our way into Belfast. We made good progress today so we arrive early enough to have a quick walk around town before dinner at the Hotel.
We wake up in the morning to a grey and cloudy day. But at least its not raining!!!! Best of all, in comparison to Dublin, its an absolute breeze to get out of Belfast city. We head north and are soon out in the countryside. It starts to rain so we put on our waterproofs, but of course then it doesnt really rain at all. We make it to our coffee stop at Glenarm Castle where we can take them off again They are preparing for a music festival here and thers lots going on. We hit the small roads again and blast along until we reach the Mull of Kintyre where we stop for a photo - it seems I am the only one in the group who knows the Paul McCartney song about this place. Jim especially loves my rendition We move onwards and now get into really small, windy and narrow little country roads, but fortunately theres virtually no traffic. We drive down to Torr Head for the fantastic views from there. We look around and wonder what it must be like to live here year round. There some hard core cyclists here too - but we prefer out motorcycles. Then it onwards again to our lunch stop at the Giants Causeway. We chose the exact right time to arrive. We go into the Nook pub for lunch and our food is excellent and comes very quickly. As we leave the pub is suddenly getting crowded. We walk down to view the Giants Causeway and a exercise a little after lunch. It's amazing here to think were are standing on the hexagonal rocks formed over 50 million years ago. We start to head south in the direction of Letterkenny and our Hotel for the night, stopping briefly for a photo at Dunluce castle. It's been a long day and everyone is tired, but buzzing as we had a really great day. Tomorrow the Wild Atlantic Way awaits us.......
Saturday morning and the sun is shining. We head out early and theres nobody around as we hit the twisties heading for Horn Head. We are the first to arrive up there and we spend some time just soaking up the views.Then we head down to Dunfanaghy to have a leisurely coffee. Theres a market on here this morning and they are doing some good trade with our group. We head off again and the next section is a real blast. Great weather, twisty roads and still no traffic. However as we head towards our lunch spot theres a few drops of rain. Not enough to dampen our spirits but the picnic lunch is a bit of a wash out. We wait for the rain to finish as our next destination is Slieve League and it makes no sense to go there in bad weather. By the time we arrive it has dried out and we are rewarded with spectacular views from the highest cliffs in Ireland. We head off towards ur destination of Balina. The roads arent so twisty now so we make good pace. A quick coffee stop at Henrys bar, a refuel and we reach the Hotel in time for a quick Guiness before dinner.
Wow! What an awesome day. Awesome weather, awesome riding and an awesome group - it doesnt get much better than this. We start out from the Hotel and and we are straight into the small, narrow twisty roads. We head through Ballina and then on to Downpatrick Head. Its another early start on a Sunday morning and theres nobody around again. We arrive at downpatrick Head and sepnd time there walking around and soaking up the views on our own. It's magical really! The only other people around are a couple of guys fishing from the clifftop. We move on a short disatnce to Ceide Fields, a site of Neanderthal occupation and have coffe and cake there just to relax a little before heading towards Ballycroy National Park. The riding pace steps up a bit as we cross the traffic free countryside with the roads being slightly more open with better visibility in the corners. We stop off briefly in the park to look at the peat cuttings and the scars left in the earth where the cuttings have been taken over the last hundreds of years. We stop at Nevins Newfield Inn for lunch and its a pretty good one. We can sit outside in the fresh air and enjoy the sunshine - its warm today. Our next stop is Croagh Patrick, the mountain home to St. Partrick. Everyone wants to climb to the top but I have to tell them no time for that to their disappointment. Joe buys everyone ice cream and they are happy again We set off and again we are on twisty roads with amazinly little traffic for a sunday. The ride through Lough pass is epic and we stop for a quick coffee there just to pep ourselves up a bit. We stop in Cong to fill up and the place is heaving. There is a duck race for Childrens cancer charity and the group donates to a good cause but we have to press on. Galway is waiting to show us its hospitality, ambience and merry making as Limerick has today won the Irish hurling championship.........
It's our first rest day, but 7 of the group are out riding! We head north out of Galway and at first it's not so nice but soon we are out of traffic, racing through the countryside in awe of the magnificent scenery here. We arrive at Kylemore Abbey and the sun is shining, w the house reflecting into the lake in front of it. It looks gorgeous. We stop for coffee and cake but then we are on our way again, heading for Clifden and the Sky Road. Small narrow road directly along the coastline and then we climb up slightly to the viewpoint - and what a great view it is from here. We continue on to Clifden town, which itself is rather pretty, and stop here for lunch. And then its onwards again, back along the narrow and windy coastline roads until we stop again for a quick coffee at Costelloe. Unfortunately when we finish we realise that one of the Multistradas has a puncture. We make a quick fix to the tyre and then we are on our way again, and arrive back into Galway in time for a walk around before finding ourselves a dinner spot.
After our rest day in Galway, we continued today, along the coast again along the Wild Atlantic Way in a southerly direction. But first it was time to inflate the tires of the Ducati Multistrada because unfortunately, despite professional repairs, they were still leaking and losing air. At the first photo stop Bothar nA hAillite (yes, you really spell it that way!) it was time to pump up again. After a good 1.5 hour drive we reach the cliffs of Moher, up to 214m steep walls, which served as a backdrop for Braveheard or Star Wars Episode 7, for example. A last attempt to seal the tire finally worked so well that he held out until the tire change in the late afternoon. After a delicious lunch, we headed to the ferry at top speed. We managed the 10km in not much more than 5 minutes and arrived on time in front of the ferry at the pier. In the afternoon we continued towards Killarney. We ended the evening relaxed with fantastic food, sunshine and a great view of Lough Leane. Recharge your batteries, tomorrow we're going on the Ring of Kerry, a "must do" on the list "11 things you have to do before you die in Ireland!"
What a great motor cycling day! Today, on the rest day, everyone without exception opted for great premium motorbike riding fun. Unfortunately, only the van driver tour guide had to stay behind because no replacement motorcycle was available. The Ring of Kerry is one of the top 11 things to do in Ireland before you die, and rightly so. It has rained heavily and there was a good wind, but even when the weather is bad, the Gap of Dunloe is simply fantastic. A lot of wet and slippery horse shit on the street and another flat tire from a broken bone couldn't stop us. After a well-deserved coffee stop, we continued in a good mood back to the coast along the Wild Atlantic Way in a northerly direction. Passing Derrynane beach we had a tasty lunch and drove a good distance up to Killorglin. There the group split up, some drove to the legendary, mystical sacred place Dingle to do whatever, the rest followed the tour guide through another fantastic valley, the so-called Balaghbeama gap and back again, this time in much better weather the Gap of Dunloe to the hotel in Killarney.
Today, on the 8th day of driving, we are slowly heading back from Killarney towards Dublin, to the city of Waterford. After a cruise ship with over 3000 tourists announced Blarney Castle, we decided to skip the first coffee stop and go straight to Blarney Castle. We were lucky and only had to wait about 30 minutes until we could finally kiss this bewitched stone, which blesses everyone who kisses it with incredible eloquence. By the way, today's safety tip was "Don't kiss the Blarney Stone"! Nobody noticed! We took a good 2 hours to see Blarney Castle, the Blarney Stone, the poison garden and a good coffee before we hit the road again. After a fantastic lunch in a beer garden in Lismore we decided to cut the route a bit and pay a visit to the Harley Davidson Store in Waterford. Nothing else happened on the way there, well almost nothing, at least nothing worth mentioning!
6Today is the last day of driving. Somehow we got into the parking lot very cheaply yesterday, albeit by mistake, over curbs and between posts. It's the same way from the parking lot back onto the street and we find our way out of Waterford towards Dublin easily and uncomplicatedly. Today we go through the hinterland and a lot of agriculture, cows, sheep and small, bumpy roads await us. The weather is good and we even enjoy some rays of sunshine on our way. The highlight of today is of course the great picnic in Wicklow Mountain National Park and William did not skimp on a fantastic buffet. Even special requests such as sugar-free Redbull were fulfilled. Before that we stopped at the sight of a 6th century Christian monastic settlement with an impressive defense tower against Viking attacks. A little later we enjoyed a fantastic view over the city of Dublin and before we arrived at the hotel we stopped briefly at a motorcycle restorer to return the helmets we had bought. What cool and rare unique pieces, really impressive! In the evening we met for a last farewell dinner together and reviewed the entire tour together. What a great tour. A big thank you from both of us tour guides, it was a great pleasure to drive this motorcycle trip together with you and we would be very happy to see you again! We wish everyone a good time and say "Goodbye!"