A small but fine group flew into Dublin to get ready for exploring Ireland. The drawing shows many places to visit - let's see, how many we can check off the list!
Today is our first riding day and as we gather outside the Hotel the sun is shining and the sky is blue. And then suddenly it isn't! and so goes our day more or less!! We head out of Dublin and as per usual it takes a while. But eventually we escape into the countryside and make our way to Trim Castle, one of the stars of the 1995 film Braveheart. We stop for a quick look around but coffee and cakes seem to be higher on the list of priorities. We head north winding our way towards Dundalk. Theres a lot of traffic today, but eventually we reach Fitzpatricks bar and stop for lunch. The food is good and comes quickly. The fish and chips portions are huge, but nothing remains on the plates!! Some of the group want to visit the Titanic Museum in Belfast, so to save a bit of time we take the Carlingford Lough ferry. As we are on the ferry theres a downpour, but its finished before we reach the other side. We drive along the coast with the mountains on one side and the sea on the other and the sun shining. It feels great! As we head into Belfast we can see its pouring rain in the distance, but fortunately its moving away from us and all we have to contend with is wet roads!! We reach the Titanic Museum just in time to take the last tour - there's lots to see and it's really very interesting. We head to the Hotel with just enough time to take a quick shower before dinner. It's been a great day, and we have only just started.......
And it was definitely another story! It was raining cats and dogs as we hit the motorway to get out of Belfast. Fortunately the first blue spots appeared in the sky a soon as we headed towards Carrickfergus and all over sudden the road started to try and the rainclouds vanished, The Causeway Coastel Road presented itself in all its beauty, exceptional kodak moments behind every corner and above all - blue sky and sunshine. Glancing over to the Mull of Kentyre from Torr Head or visiting with the flow of tourists Giant's Causeway, it turned out to be a great day. And even that got topped! Arriving at the hotel William surprised us with a "boot-beer" - and than he switched on the rainbow.
It was a chilly night - all the bikes were covered in dew first thing in the morning. But after breakfast the weather is good and we head off for the Wild Atlantic Way towards Horn Head. When we arrive there's a few walkers around, but apart from that we have the place to ourselves. We soak up the scenery before heading down to the village of Dunfanaghy for a quick coffee. Then we head off again to enjoy the great roads and scenery that everyone has come here for. Eventually we head up the Glengesh pass to where Markus has perpared us a picnic lunch. It's a great spread but unfortunately there are midges here who seem to be intent on eating us alive, so after a quick lunch we pack up and move on towards the sea cliffs of Slieve League. We drive right to the top to be rewarded with great views over the cliffs and along the coastline. And then we are off again heading once more along the twisty roads towards donegal. Eventually we roll into Ballina, the Salmon capital of Ireland, and as we cross the bridge over the river in front of the Hotel we can see the anglers casting out their flies in hope of a bite.
After Markus finished his morning briefing with a short version of the Famine (the Great Hunger), a local, sitting there, jumped up and gave us a full briefing about the most bitter time in Ireland between 1840 and 1850.
Leaving the Capital of Salmon Ballina we were heading first to the North coast of County Mayo. The first place to stop was Downpatrick Head, a column sticking out of the ocean, left when its surrounding erroded away. because of low tide thr blowhole had quitt its job at the time when we were there, but it still looked spectacular. Most of us did not see the WW II sign for the pilots coming across the ocean, but they walked across it. It says EIRE 64 made out of stones, plastered to give a clear position.
Heading South along the West Coast we hit the area of Croagh St. Patrick, the holy mountain of Ireland. Every year a pilgrimage reminding to the great Famine takes place, if you want to do it right, you need to do it barefoot. On the other side of the road an im- and depressing, but outstanding memorial reminds everybody to the bad time in the 19th century.
Doo Lough Pass and Joces Country in the very South of County mayo impressed with all its beauty before we ended up in the lively town of Galway.
There is seldom a rest day with Edelweiss. 7 of us set out this morning to view the delights of Connemara. The sun was shining as we headed out of Galway making our way towards our first stop of the day at Kylemore Abbey.Of course just a few km before we arrived the sun disappeared behind some clouds, but it didnt rain so all was good!! We styed the best part of 2 hours looking around at Kylemore. It has a lovely Victorian walled garden and the Castle itself is also pretty impressive. Afterwards we headed towards Clifen and thefamous Sky Road loop road that is a must do for any biker who has been in this area. Unfortunately it was a bit drizzly and the visibility wasn't the best, but it was definitely worthwhile to go around there. From there we headed straight back to Galway in order to have some time to walk around the town late afternoon and early evening.
Leaving the lively town of Galway we head south and follow finally the Wild Atlantic Road again. It takes us along the coastline out to the Burren, a vast and barren lanscape covering the northwest of the peninsula.
After we left the Burren our next target where the Cliffs of Moher. What a spectacular place and for sure one of the highlights you have to check off your list once you are in Eireland. It was great, but having been out in on small roads in a tranquil and remote surrounding for a few days we fled from the tourists after a while and headed south again. We left the lunchstop in time, which means, getting to the river Shannon wer rolled on the ferry just right in time - two minutes later the gate was clossed and we shipped to the southern riverbank and headed for Kilarney, todays destination.
Wow! What a day that turned out to be. We wake up in the morning to blue and sunny skies, and head out early in order to avoid the tour buses and pony/trap traffic. As we head up the Gap of Dunloe it's glorious with the sun shining and making the greenery stand out - it is the emerald Isle! We have some great shots from up here and Nils has the drone flying as well. We head on but the further along we get the more the clouds start looming. We stop for coffee and a quick walk around in Sneem and then we are back out onto the ring of kerry again. By now the sun is seldom to be seen but the scenery is still some of the best we have seen to date. We carry on and just as we approach our lunch stop in Glenbeigh the rain starts gently coming down. After lunch it looks like it has stopped but then it starts again. Now we are heading through the hills on tiny little roads and its sometimes a bit challenging. Theres a rally of vintage motorcycles passing us by in the other directions with a variety of old british thumpers thudding thier way along the passes.We arrive back at the Hotel and for sure it's Murphys Law as the sun comes out again. But the grins on everyones faces tell the story of a great day out riding the Ring of Kerry.
And so we come to the final riding day. Out on the Waterford dockside its bright and sunny, with just a slight chill in the air. We set off and take small roads as we head North. We make a brief stop at Jerpoint Abbey for some photos but then start to head North West towards Dublin. It's a lovely day for riding and soon we arrive at our coffee stop in Bunclody. It's Saturday morning and the place is heaving, so we drink our coffee outside in the sun and then head off again towards the ancient religious site of Glendalough. We have a quick lunch stop then take some time to wlak around the ruins. Then we are off again for the last afternoons ride back to Dublin. We cross over the Wicklow Mountains National Park and its absoloutely beautiful up here. Rolling hills as far as the eye can see. Then we are back down the other side and into Dublin to end our tour. It has been a fantastic time riding around the Emerald Isle and we have been really lucky with the weather, as it has hardly rained at all during the tour. So its a final goodbye from Markus and myslef to all our guests and we hope to see you on another tour one day........