Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 30 - Londonderry

Dad has crossed the border and is now in Northern Ireland ... not that there was anything to indicate a border, he just noticed that the signs read mph rather than kph ! He's had a good day on the bike. Weather been good with just a slight bit of rain but Dad nipped for a coffee and by the time he came out it had stopped. 

Dad had a good night in the hostel last night. He got chatting to a couple of Aussie women (mother and daughter) who tracing their family tree.

This morning Dad set off about 9.00 am.  The route took him through Urbalreagh and through the lanes to Culdaff where Dad picked up an early coffee from a shop. He then headed onto Gleneely where he stopped for a coffee and a scone.  It was then onto Moville down by the edge of the Lough Foyle.  Dad then cycled around the coast line to Carrakeel where he stopped for lunch in a pub of a pot of tea and sandwiches. Dad headed onto Muff and into Northern Ireland. He then headed through Culmore and onto Derry/Londonderry. At one point the road was that busy that Dad cycled on the pavement (he has since found the cycle path !).

Dad is staying at the Derry City Independent Hostel. He got there about 3.00 and had a shower and then went for a walk about. He has walked the City Walls which took about one and half hours as he kept stopping and reading up on all the history. When he rang he was sitting on the wall (a nursery rhyme comes to mind !).  Tonight Dad is heading to Weatherspoons for tea (that'll be a bit cheaper than the Yellow Pepper) and a pint and then of to the Guild Hall for some Irish music.

Tomorrow he'll be following the coast around the Lough Foyle.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 29 - Malin Head

Well Dad has been gone a month now and to celebrate he's had a great day on the bike. Blue skies and little wind and a great day for riding your bike. He's now in Malin Head the most northerly part of Ireland and at the best hostel so far on the trip the Sand Rock Holiday Hostel. Great views and great hospitality !

Dad had a good night last night. He went to the Yellow Pepper Restaurant but it was a bit pricey (we knew that from looking at the menu). He had hake and vegetables and a small glass of coke and it came to 23 Euros !  However he did say it was very nice. After he'd eaten he nipped in the pub next door and managed to catch the football. Dad got a police escort back to the hostel ... a car was out keeping an eye a small gang of lads and it drove up to the hostel while Dad was walking back behind it !

Dad had an early start this morning but it took him half an hour to find his way out of Letterkenny so he didn't get on route until gone 9.00.  It was very cold this morning and Dad stopped off in Newtown Cunningham for a coffee at 10.00 ish to warm him through.  Once he'd had that he was fine.  He headed off on the N13 which was a busy road but it had a wide hard shoulder so Dad could ride on that.  He headed through Speenogue where he picked up the quieter roads to Burntfoot and Fahan. Dad had a nice ride along the coastal roads to Buncrana where he stopped for coffee and scrambled eggs. Dad then cycled onto Carndonagh where he stopped for lunch. It was then onto Malin where he did a shop - he can't afford to eat out again tonight!  He cycled out to Ballyhillion and the lighthouse and had his photo taken and then finally onto Malin Head.

Tonight on the menu is Cup a soup, Irish Stew and green beans followed by yoghurt and banana. I bet that comes a lot cheaper than his evening meal last night !

Tomorrow he is heading for Derry and will then be in Northern Ireland ... that means cheaper phone calls !

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 28 - Letterkenny

Well today hasn't gone quite to plan. It's been a wet and cold day and Dad knocked off at 3.30. 

Dad had a good night last night. He cooked up in the hostel and stayed in at night. There were a few folk in the hostel. He also read up on where he'd been and found out that the pass he climbed over yesterday was the Glengesh Pass.

The morning he set off after a Continental breakfast and cycled into Dunfanaghy. Dad continued on the N56 onto Portnablagh and then onto Creeslough where Dad headed off onto some minor roads.  He stopped off for coffee and a scone in Carrick. He then headed into Milford where he stopped at the police station to enquiry if the ferry was running from Ruthmullan to Burncrana. Unfortunately it wasn't so Dad has had to ride around the estuary which meant he's now in Letterkenny at the Letter Port Hostel.

Dad has had to fix the plumbing in the hostel so he could have a shower tonight - I think he should get reduced rate for that !  He is off to Yellow Pepper restaurant tonight for tea.

Dad is hoping to reach Malin Head tomorrow.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 27 - Dunfanaghy

Dad has a good day on the bike today. The sun has shone and he's had blue skies !  However it has been a hard day on the bike with Dad riding around 7 1/2 hours ! He is now in Dunfanaghy at the Carriage Hostel.

Dad had a good stay at the Dooey Hostel. Very nice and he'd recommend it for anyone visiting.  Last night there was a German guy called Chris camping and as Dad had got rid of his tent he donated some of his tent pegs to him.

This morning Dad set off about 9.00 am and he cycled into a headwind with two big hills to climb !  Dad climbed up to 1,650 ft and then cycled into Ardara. The ride was 24 kms and had taken Dad 2 1/2 hours. In Ardara Dad found a great cafe and ordered coffee and bacon baps.  The coffee came in a pot and Dad had three cups out of it ... which meant quite a few "comfort stops" for the rest of the day.  From Ardara Dad continued on small roads to Portnoo and then onto Naran. Dad then picked up the N56 which was relatively quiet and headed to Dungloe, Gweedore, Gortahawk and on into Ray. From there he continued on the N56 into Dunfanaghy.

Dad is in a four bedded dorm with it's own kitchen and sitting room and there is only Dad in it. Tonight on the menu he has cup-a-soup, noodles and some cake - he's on emergency rations as the hostel was before the town.  Tomorrow Dad is heading for Malinhead which is the most northerly point of Ireland.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 26 - Rest Day

Well Dad is still in Glencolmcille (or depending which may you look at Glencolmbkille). Been a lovely day but a cold day.  Dad has has decided to get rid of the tent (the guy from the hostel has taken it off his hands) as he's not done much camping on this trip as he's not come across  many campsites. It'll be less weight for him to carry as well.

Dad had a good night last night. Went to listen to a couple of the musicians who are staying in the hostel as they were playing in one of the the pubs - any excuse to go to a pub! Dad got in about 11.00 ish and that's an early night as apparently some of the pubs and music go on until the small hours! The pub was VERY busy as there were many of the locals in as well as they were raffling off a car! Dad should have entered. He'd have finished off the trip quicker by car.

Today Dad has had a leisurely day. Dad has done some repairs to the bike. He's had a walk along the beach but it was much too cold for a swim or paddle!  He has also walked around the village and visited both of the Churches.  He also an all day breakfast in the cafe.  This afternoon he visited the heritage centre. He left the lady on the reception a copy of the blog details and apparently she was telling others about Dad's trip ... so I had better get the blog right !

Dad has also been to have a look at Slieve League cliffs which at over 600 metres are Ireland's second highest cliffs.

Dad did a big shop ... which on a bike can't be much and he plans to eat at the hostel tonight.

Dad has some stats ... he's camped 8 nights and had 18 B&B/hostels.  He has had 16 dry days and only 10 wet ones ... so it hasn't actually rained every day !

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 25 - Glencolmcille (Glencolmbkille)

Well today Dad has had a great day on the bike, great weather, great views and now he is in a great hostel at Glencolmcille. The hostel is the Dooey Hostel and it had come recommended.  The hostel is situated up a steep 1km hill (Dad had to push the bike up !) but it was well worth it. Dad is going to have two nights at the hostel so he can catch up on laundry and bike repairs.  When he asked at the hostel if he could book for two nights the guy said ... if you marry my mother you can stay forever !

Dad had a good night last night. He found a pub and had steak pie and and a couple of pints of Guinness.  There were still people out surfing at 8.30 pm ... well I suppose if the surf is good you have to make the most of it! This morning he had a good buffet style breakfast in the hostel and then headed out on a quite road to Ballyshannon (which claims to be the oldest town in Ireland) and onto Rossnowlagh. It was then onto Ballintra, Laghy and into Donegal  where he had a coffee and a bacon sandwich. It was then on the busy N56 into Mountcharles. The main road was closed for repair and all the traffic was being sent on the minor roads. Dad asked if he could cycle along the main road. They said yes ... so Dad had 10km of car free road ! It was then on through Inver, Dunkineely where Dad had lunch and then into Killybegs.  It was then on to Kilcar, Carrick and finally Glencolmcille (Glencolmbkille) - I do wish they would just spell it one way ... it's hard enough to find these places on the map never mind the several variations in spelling !

Dad is going to wander into the village tonight as apparently there are three pubs to check out! Tomorrow he is off to the folk museum and have a wander along the cliffs.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 24 - Bundoran

Well the weather has been good today ... I knew Dad was due a good day! In fact no rain and at times sun!  Dad is staying in the Holmefield Rock Hostel in Bundoran.  A very lively backpackers hostel and probably not Dad's cup of tea ! He is now right on the border of Northern Ireland but the coastal region is still Southern Ireland. I'm hoping he'll hurry up and get over the border as I'm putting credit on his mobile phone so he can ring me and it's costing me a fortune!

Dad had a good night last night. He found a pub and had a meal and Guinness. This morning he set off on a full Irish Breakfast which kept him going til lunch.  His route today took him on the N59 through Beltra and onto Ballysadare where the river was really flowing which isn't surprising with all the rain they've had these last few days.  Dad has noticed as he's been cycling around that most farms seem to have a donkey in their fields. In Ballysadare Job and his wife who he'd meet a few days ago caught up with him and they stopped for a chat. From there Dad headed onto Sligo. At first he'd had to cycle along the dual carriageway (N4) but eventually found a smaller road to cycle along. Out of Sligo it was also a busy road. Dad cycled along the N15 and stopped off at Drumcliff for lunch where there was a 12th Century monastery. At Cliffoney Dad saw a sign for a hostel in10km at Ballintrillick and headed off to find it. When he got there it was full. A group of people had booked it for a Relaxation Weekend!  Dad got some instructions on how to find Holmefield Rock Hostel and Dad had a nice relaxing cycle through the lanes to Kinlough.  Eventually he arrived at Bundoran which is a busy sea-side town where there are lots of surfing activities.

Dad is heading out tonight to find a pub for something to eat.

Tomorrow is heading for Killibegs.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 23 - Dromore West

Well it has been a wet, windy and cold day on the bike today.  In fact Dad has dug out the gloves from the bottom of the panniers and has been wearing them.  As Dad has been cycling along the cliff edges at times he's had to get off the bike and walk as it was so windy. Dad reckons it was probably around force 8 gales.  The foam from the sea was being blown up the cliffs and at first Dad thought it was snowing! It's probably been the worse day weatherwise today. Hopefully weather will now start to improve ( I say this every day !)

Dad is now in a farm B&B in Dromore West and has just had a nice warm shower.

Dad had a really nice night in the hostel last night. There were three Polish people, a Swiss girl who had been out on her first surfing lesson and had even managed to stand on the board and then Job and his partner from Holland. 

Today Dad has had to repair his front panniers and his watch. At first when he said he'd been looking for a jewellers I thought I was going to get a nice present from Ireland ... but he wanted one so he could get a battery for his watch. I wasn't thinking the same when he said he'd been looking for a hardware shop! Anyway he found one and has now got a washer to repair his panniers.

His route today has taken him through Glenamoy (well that's what it sounded like but I can't find on the map!) and along the steep cliffs at Belderrig. He stopped off at Ceide Fields stone age site as they had a cafe for soup and a coffee to warm up !  From there it was onto Ballycastle and into Killala (I think he was on R314) where he found a pub and it was more soup (fish !!) and a cup of tea!.  It was then onto Ballian which is where he fond the shops.  Then on the N59 he biked to Corballa and into Dromore West.  Tonight he is off to find a pub for his evening meal.

Tomorrow he is heading on and beyond Sligo.

Photos Belmullet (23rd September)

Dad met up with Job Suijker last night in the hostel and this morning Job has very kindly sent me some photos of Dad setting off. Great to see some photos of Dad on his trip.

Getting bike ready for the off

All packed up and ready to go

Dad ready to go ...

and he is off !

Just look at those clouds !

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 22 - Belmullet

Well it's been a rainy day on the bike today, in fact it's rained most of the day and at some times it was very heavy rain. Dad now knows why the fields are green and the river and lakes are deep .... it's because it rains a lot in Ireland.   Tonight Dad is in the Kilcommon Lodge in a place call Pallathomas which is close to Belmullet.

Dad had a good night last night. He went down the pub and found they were showing the Arsenal v Tottenham game. He also got an emergency plumber related telephone call from me - I'd got no hot water or heating !!!!  Managed to sort it and hopefully it's ok now - phew !  At half time Dad headed over to another pub and meet up with an Australian solicitor named Warwick.  They had a good evening chatting.

Today started off dry. Dad headed from Westport to Newport. It was then onto Rosturk (on the N59) where Dad enjoyed the sea views.  He carried on to Mulranny but there was no cafe for lunch so he biked on to Ballycroy (which I can't find on a map so probably spelt it wrong!) but it had a pub and Dad stopped off for lunch in the pub. They only had sandwiches and, as is usually case in the Irish pubs, the only sandwiches that they did were ham and cheese, so Dad had sandwiches and a pot of tea for lunch and all for 4 Euros ! There was an old chap in the pub who had obviously supped quite a few that morning and if he asked Dad once, he asked him a dozen times which part of England was he from ! Dad managed to avoid a heavy downpour while he had lunch in the pub and following lunch he nipped into the National Park information centre to try and keep out of the rain. He then biked onto Bangor (I'm starting to think he's taken a wrong turn and has somehow ended up in Wales !). Dad spotted a sign for the hostel and cycled on along Lake Carrowmore which is about 5 miles long.  Dad stopped in the Spa shop in Barnatra to stock up on supplies and there happened to be a Postman so Dad asked him for directions. The hostel turned out to be another 7 miles down the road, 5 miles which happened to be uphill and the remaining 2 downhill !

Dad also passed an eco warrior camp at Broadhaven bay and got chatting to one of the activists who was out on their bike. Apparently they are protesting about Shell laying oil pipes in the bay and have been there for 5 years now.  That's a lot of camping.

Tonight Dad is staying in and has on the menu cup-a-soup, meatballs and butter beans followed by rice pudding and yoghurt.

Tomorrow is heading towards Sligo.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 21 - Westport

Just spoken to Dad and he is in Westport (not the one with a lake about half a mile from home !).  Been a bit of a mixed day on the bike today ... this morning weather fine but this afternoon he's had rain.  He is currently in the Old Mill Hostel.  He did pass a campsite but it had closed for the season - do they not know there are still tourists in Ireland in late September! Saying that the Hostel seems good value at 18.5 Euros a night.

Dad had a good night meeting up with his pal, Dave Boot last night. It's probably 9 years since they last saw each other. Dave's wife picked Dad up for the Hostel and they went back to his house which was a couple of miles up in the hills - good job Dad wasn't trying to navigate up there on his bike ! A bottle of wine and few hours chat and Dad was back at the Hostel.

This morning Dad headed off and cycled for about 3/4 of an hour only to find that he'd been cycling back towards Galway (I always knew my Dad had no sense of direction !)  However he found a road (probably the R336) and headed up the mountain pass and had a great time cycling around the Twelve Pins. He stopped off for lunch in Leenanne. Following lunch he then had to decide whether to cycle the 60 km around the coast road or take the more direct route (the N59) to Westport. As it had just started to rain Dad plumped for the direct route to Westport (it also helped in the decision making that he'd got a tailwind).

It was still raining when I spoke to Dad but he was going to "brave the weather" to go in search of a pub for food and a pint !

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 20 - Clifden

Dad has made it to Clifden. He's had a good day on the bike ... the sun has been out he'll be regretting posting that suncream and sunglasses back to me !

He had a good night last night. The B&B was very good and hospitable. He decided after speaking to me to go and wander to find the local pub. He'd been walking about 10 minutes when he spotted someone coming in the opposite direction so Dad asked how far the pub was, about two miles was the reply ! Dad decided he wasn't that desperate for a pint so headed back to the B&B. He'd got some emergency food rations so had an evening in watching the X-factor !

He set off this morning after a HUGE Irish Breakfast. It took him 20 minutes cycle past the "local" pub so Dad was glad he hadn't carried on walking to it.  The route took him through Carna to Glinsk and then onto Toombeola.  Dad found a cafe in Roundstone for lunch. He then had a look around the harbour at Roundstone and then onto Ballyconneely and finally onto Clifden.  Dad is currently staying in the Brookside Hostel in Clifden and for anyone looking for a new business venture the Hostel is currently up for sale !

I've been tracking down some contact information for a pal of Dad's, Dave Boot who lives in Clifden. Well we managed to track down a phone number and Dad has been in contact and they are meeting up tonight.  In a strange coincidence the hostel Dad is staying in his currently owned by one of Dave relatives Richard !  So Dave's wife is coming to pick Dad up from the hostel. No doubt there will be a couple of pints downed tonight !

This week is Arts Week in Clifden so Dad has been for a wander around to see what's on offer. He found that Mike Harding had been on earlier in the day. Dad went to see him many years ago.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 19 - Kilkieran

Well Dad has had a much better day on the bike today ... it only rained for about an hour. He also knocked off early so that he could watch the the All Ireland SFC final (Cork v Down).  He's found himself a B&B in Kilkieran (Hillside House) and arrived just in time to watch the game. This B&B is much better than last nights and for the same price !

Today he has cycled along the Connemara coast and much of it was through wilderness.  His route took him through Bearna, Spideal and into Inveran. It was then onto Costelloe where he got lost and ended up down a cul-de-sac. He stopped and asked directions (apparently men do that when they are on a bike) and got back on track. It was then on through Gortmore and into Kilkieran.  His Irish breakfast this morning in the B&B kept him going much of the day.  However he's just had a couple of scones and cake with his cup of tea in the B&B.  Not sure what he's doing for tea tonight but no doubt there will be a pub stop at some point !

Tomorrow he is heading to Clifden.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 18 - Galway (well Salthill)

It's been a wet day on the bike today .... it's rained virtually all day but Dad has made it to Galway, well in fact he's made it passed Galway to a place called Salthill.

He had a good night last night ... first pub he had a meal (baked cod and vegetables), the second pub he sat chatting to a Canadian couple and the third and final pub for the night there was Irish Music and Irish Dancing. Apparently it was audience participation. Just glad they didn't get Dad dancing ... he has his own style of dancing!

He packed up this morning in the rain (wet tent weighs heavier on the bike) and set off and then remembered he'd forgotten his water bottle (the one for his bike not one to keep him warm in the tent !) so he looped back to the hostel and picked it up.  His route took him from Doolin to Ailladie and onto Murroogh where he found a Post Office and posted back his customary parcel of things he no longer needs! Oh I wait with baited breath to find out what I've got this time ! It was then onto Ballyvaughan were he had coffee and a scone and then onto Kinvara passing by The Burren which is large limestone slabs on the way.  Following a cafe lunch in Kinvara Dad continued onto Kilcolgan, Oranmoor where Dad picked up the dual carriageway into Galway.  On arriving in Galway Dad found that all three hostels were full so he continued on out of town and has found a B&B at Salthill.

Dad has been in search of the pub that serves food which according to the folk in the B&B is "a 10 minute walk away". Dad walked for half an hour, passing two pubs, neither of which sold food, but he did eventually find a shop so it was sandwiches for tea ! 

Tomorrow he is heading towards Clifden and he is hoping for better weather !

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 17 - Doolin

Dad has just rang. He was sitting outside the hostel by the river and I could hear music ... there was a fiddler and a guitarist playing !  Not surprisingly he is in Doolin - a town renowned for it's Irish Music !

Dad has had a leisurely sunny day on the bike today and probably only done around 20 miles (it still sounds a lot to me!). 

Last night he had a good night in the pub ... liver and onions, Guinness, Liverpool winning 4-1 and to finish it off some Irish Music.  He got chatting to a German guy who it turned out that Dad was sharing a room with in the hostel !

This morning he set off about 9.30 and headed to Liscannor. He then went on a tour of the Cliffs of Moher (it was free for bikes!).  Dad had a walk around and had his photo taken at the cliffs.  It was quite a climb up to the cliffs but that meant it was downhill on the other side and it was downhill all the way to Doolin.  Tonight Dad is camping at the Aille River Hostel which is in the middle of town. He has already sussed out three pubs to visit tonight and he'll pick up a meal in one of those.  Camping at the hostel is good value at 9 Euros a night as he can use all the facilities in the hostel (even free tea) but have the freedom of camping.

He has had a walk around and been and watched the ferries going to Arann but Dad has decided he's not going over.  Tomorrow he'll head toward Galway.

Reminded Dad tonight that this day last year he was just finishing his Tour of Britain ! I think he might be having a pint tonight to celebrate the anniversary.

Edited to say just found these photos linked to the Hostel website ... it looks a great place to be !

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 16 - Lahinch

Dad is in Lahinch staying in the Youth Hostel. He would have camped but couldn't find a campsite. He has had a lovely day on the bike today ... weather has been great and he has cycled most of the day without his jacket.  Weather is around 15/16 degrees but being by the coast there is normally a bit of a breeze.

Last night he got chatting to a few people in the pub. Met a couple of lads who had been to the horse racing and coincidentally one of them was named John and the other had the surname Allen !  He'd also seen a builders van in the day with the name of John Allen. I'm starting to think John Allen is a bit of a common name in Ireland !  He also managed to watch the Arsenal game in the pub last night - I hope he wasn't doing his usual ... a drink for every goal scored !

This morning he set off about 9.00 but had a bit of a wait for the ferry from Tarbert and got chatting to man who recognised straight away that Dad came from Stoke-on-Trent. Apparently this man's mother had come from Hanley and they got chatting about the "hole in the wall" oatcake shop ! The ferry across the Shannon Estuary took about half an hour. Cycling for the day started about 10.00 and the first place was Killimer (the ferry port) and then onto Kilrush where he stopped off for coffee and a bacon buttie. There are normally dolphins in the bay but Dad didn't see any. From there he headed for Kilkee which is nice sea-side town with a lovely sandy beach.  He then headed onto Doonbeg where he stopped for lunch ... but the best he could find was a shop, so lunch comprised of a packet of biscuits and a bottle of coke !  After lunch he headed onto Milltown Malby and then onto Lahinch.  He's already been for a walk about to suss out the pubs and has eyed a pub that does an Irish Roast beef dinner (he needs feeding up after just biscuits for lunch) so he is off there tonight.

He has passed quite a few cyclist today and yesterday going in the opposite direction. There is just one rider and a support car. I've tried to have a look if I could find out what is going on and can't find anything but if anyone knows if there is some sort of event on, then let me know.

Tomorrow he is heading towards the Cliffs of Moher and Doolin.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 15 - Tarbert

Dad is in a hostel in Tarbert. He's had a good day on the bike - even got wear his sunglasses for about an hour today! Did have a shower of rain but that was at lunchtime and Dad was in a cafe.

Dad had a good night last night ... he sent me the following text "Hi gnt etb at a pub thot v  brem gd good night lv dadx". I might be his daughter but even I couldn't work out what he was saying. I've found out tonight it meant that he'd found a pub and was watching football (Tottenham v Werder Bremen). 

Today he packed up in dry weather for a change. His route took him back through Camp and onto Blennerville where he had a look around the windmill.   From there Dad headed to Tralee which was a large town but too early for bacon butties.  Dad headed onto Ardfert but there was no cafe but instead a Cathedral which he had a quick look around. He was in luck in Ballyheige where he stopped off in Tides cafe and had the best bacon butties and coffee that he's had all trip and it only cost 5 Euros.  He then headed onto Causeway and Ballyduff where he stopped off for lunch (scrambled egg and beans on toast) and sheltered from the rain.  After lunch Dad headed onto Ballybunion which is a really nice sea-side town.  It was then onto Ballylongford and finally to Tarbert. 

Dad has enjoyed today as he is now out of the "touristy" areas, very little traffic and no coaches on the road and the prices in the cafes are cheaper !  He's picked up a couple of windfall apples today and taken them to the hostel only to find in the kitchen someone had already collected some and there was already a huge bag of windfall apples !

No cooking tonight as Dad is off into Tarbert to find a pub with food and showing the football.

Tomorrow he is taking the ferry from Tarbert across the Shannon estuary to Killmer when he will be in County Clare

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 14 - Dad is camping just outside Camp !

It's been a bit wet morning on the bike today ... in fact it rained til about 11.30, but then it brightened up but it was still a bit windy. Dad is camping tonight just outside Camp in a place called Castlegregory at Green Acres campsite .  He's managed to find a spot between two static caravans (to keep him sheltered from the wind) and negotiated the price down from 15 Euros to 8 Euros !

Dad had a good night last night. After speaking to me he went and had fish and chips for tea and then found a pub that was showing the Stoke v Aston Villa game. However there was only Dad in the pub, so at half time (and Stoke 1-0 behind and not playing so well) he headed off to find another pub! He found a busier pub that was showing the game and when Stoke equaliser Dad gave a cheer. He gave an even louder cheer was Stoke took the lead with virtually the last kick of the game! In fact someone came and asked him if "his team" had won ! Following the football they had Irish music on, so all in all Dad had a good night.  The hostel Dad was staying in last night wasn't much busier with just Dad and a fellow hosteler staying.

Dad set off about 9.00 am this morning with a headwind and his route took him through Milltown, Ventry and then headed onto Slea Head (the most westerly point in Ireland). Dad then headed to Dunquin, Ferritersquarter and onto Ballyferriter for lunch. Unfortunately no bacon buttie today and Dad made do with coffee and a scone.  Dad then headed back into Dingle and then onto Camp and continued onto Castlegregory. Dad has been cycling close to the Brandon Group of mountains ... he did consider cycling over Conors Pass ... but thought his bike might exceed the weight limit allowed on the mountain pass !

Tonight on the menu is cup-a-soup, a Fray Bentos Chicken and Vegetable stew which had a lot more vegetables than chicken! Pudding banana and yogurt. The campsite has a kitchen so that's an added bonus. There is no pub close by so Dad will be having a night at the campsite.

Tomorrow he is heading towards Tralee.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 13 - Dingle

Dad is in now in Dingle.  He's had a tough day on the bike. He's done around 100 km ... the first 50 km this morning took around 2 1/2 hours as he had a tailwind. This afternoon the next 50 km took around 4 hours as he had a headwind ! Weather has been mixed as well this morning it was wet and windy and the afternoon dry and windy !

Dad had a good night on the campsite last night.  They lite a peat fire in the lounge at the campsite so Dad sat round chatting.  This morning it was a misty start.  The route from Caherciveen took him through Glenbeigh and onto Killorglin (I think he has been following the N70) where he stopped for coffee and a bacon buttie.  There are lots of tourist coaches around this part of Ireland and Dad said that from about 10 o'clock a coach came past every ten minutes ! After morning coffee it was onto Milltown and Castlemaine and onto Inch. Dad stopped off at a pub for lunch and ordered his tea and sandwiches and then managed to get fed again at a funeral wake that was in the pub !  Dad even got chatting to the son of the lady who had died - I bet he was the only one in the funeral party wearing cycling gear !

From Inch it was onto Anascaul and then onto Dingle. Dad is staying in the hostel. Tonight he is off out to for a meal and a pint and in search of a pub that might be showing the Stoke game! 

Dingle is the most westerly part of Ireland so tomorrow he'll be cycling up the West Coast of Ireland.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 12 - Caherciveen (Ring of Kerry)

Well we've some catching up to do since Friday when Dad ran out of money on his mobile and we had a quick phone box call. I eventually go the mobile sorted but I wasn't round yesterday so Dad didn't ring last night.

Dad spent Friday and Saturday night in the hostel in Kenmare.  Kenmare is a lively town and Dad managed to find a pub on Friday night and had a few beers and some Irish music.  Saturday was a "rest day" and Dad didn't get on the bike, instead he did his laundry and wandered around town and the museum. In the evening he found another pub that was showing the Arsenal/Bolton game.

Today he has moved on to the County of Kerry and is now cycling around the Ring of Kerry.  It was a misty start to the day but it hasn't rained.  He had coffee and a bacon buttie in Sneem and then cycled through Macgillycuddy's Reeks where he was hoping to pick up lunch ... but on reaching the top he found four coaches had arrived and the cafe was full, so Dad cycled on (it was a 20 minute descent) and picked up lunch in Waterville. He then headed onto Caherciveen (which I've seen spelt a couple of different ways!).

He is now camping at Mannix Point campsite. It's a great campsite with kitchen facilities, tables and even a lounge area. Campsite is right by the sea with views of Valentia Island.  Tonight on the menu is cup-a-soup, some poached eggs (the eggs he picked up from the "free" food table at the campsite), bread and some muesli bars.

Dad has been cycling on some very tiny roads, the type that grass grows up the middle of the road. The other day a farm shouted over to Dad that he'd soon be on the motorway .... meaning a B road !  He's also found the roads have many pot-holes or what the Irish call sheep dips. He's had to fasten his front panniers on with some bungee ropes !

Tomorrow he is heading towards the Dingle peninsular.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 10 - Kenmare

Only had a brief conversation with Dad tonight as his mobile has run out of credit and he was calling from a payphone and you don't get long to chat. He is staying in Kenmare Youth Hostel and will be there for tonight and tomorrow night. Dad will have a leisurely day tomorrow doing his laundry and watching the triathlon that is in town.

His route has been along Ring of Beara which has taken him along the Beara peninsula through Ardgroom and Tragalee and onto Kenmare.

I've eventually managed to put some more money on his mobile ... but Asda don't make it easy. I tried ringing them up asking them if the could debit my credit card but they insisted I drove over to Asda to buy a voucher and to call them back. I then had to listen to "your call is important to us" while they kept me on hold! I was NOT pleased !

Thanks to Rob I've now got some literature on cycling in Ireland and book on campsites, so hopefully it will be easier to track Dad!

Not sure if I'll get to speak to Dad tomorrow as I'm down in London so there might not be any updates so it will probably be an epic update on Sunday.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 9 - Berehaven/Castletownbere

Dad is camping at Berehaven Golf Club tonight. When I spoke to him it had just started to rain. He'd managed to pitch the tent in the dry but by the time he'd had his shower it had started to rain.

Last night he had a good night. He spent an hour or so with some fellow campers (Dave, Sue and their dog) chatting over a glass or two of wine. The downside of drinking wine is that Dad had to get up in the night for the call of nature. Unfortunately this time he'd taken his head torch (don't visualise that head torch bobbing up and down!) and on getting back to the tent he'd forgot to turn it off come this morning the batteries were dead! Luckily he managed to pick some up today but spending a penny last night cost him 6 Euros in new batteries!

Dad set of this morning just after 9.00 and headed through Durras and onto Bantry. He stopped off in Ballylickey for coffee but they had no bacon sandwiches so it was a cake instead.  He then headed along the coast to Adrigole where he stopped in a pub for sandwiches and a pot of tea.  Dad then headed onto Castletownbere and the Berehaven Golf Club.  Dad had been hoping to get a meal in the Golf Club tonight but has found out it's closed (probably saw he wasn't appropriately dressed for a Golf Club!) so on the menu tonght is cup-a-soup (he's managed to stock up on them), corned beef and some stone bread (which he reckons must be good as it's very heavy !!!), rice pudding and a banana.  The only windfall he found today was either a small marrow or large courgette and he left that for someone else pick up as he wasn't sure how to cook it!

It looks like the rain is set in for the night but apparently they will leave the Golf House open so if it gets very bad Dad is going to sleep in there!  However the forecast is for better weather over the next few days.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 8 - Durras (and no I can't find it on the map either but it's off Bantry Bay!)

Well Dad has had a good day on the bike today. Weather has been great and he has cycled all of the day without his jacket. He is now camping at Durras (which is just below Bantry).

Dad had a good night in the hostel last night. There was only Dad there and after the owners had left Dad spent the evening reading the books in the hostel. Dad slept like a log last night. It had rained most of the night and was still raining this morning so Dad delayed his start of the day til about 9.00 ish.

His route today took him through Connonagh, Leap (now I like that place name) and into Skibbereen where he stopped for breakfast. The cafe he found was a bit "posh" and they didn't do bacon butties so instead Dad had pancakes, maple syrup and bacon (no brown sauce though!) and a coffee.  Very nice.  From there he headed onto Ballydehob (you couldn't make up these place names if you tried!).  Dad was taken "a bit short" and stopped up a quiet country lane for a "comfort-break". No sooner had he got off his bike that a car came round the corner and stopped to ask if Dad was ok and if he needed any help!  From there Dad headed off to Schull and stopped for lunch in cafe. It was then onto Goleen where Dad stopped to do a shop. However they had no cup-a-soup in the shop so that put Dad's evening menu in disarray!  However he picked up some other provisions.  Dad then headed off to Mizen Head which is the most south westerly point of Ireland.  Dad had his photo taken by the sign (the first time the camera has been out and we are on day 8!).  Dad then had to cycle the 4km back down the road he'd just come along and back into Goleen and onto the campsite at Durras. Dad has used this campsite before when he and his pal cycled from Mizen Head to Malin Head (Ireland end to end).

Dad has had a great day on the bike today, great weather and great views.  Tonight on the menu was a tin of lamb curry and a tin of butter beans followed by banana and yoghurt.  Not found any windfalls today except some blackberries but he did find a jacket on the side of the road and riffled through the pockets looking to see if there was a spare wallet inside !  He has also been invited across to a camper van for wine this evening.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 7 - Rosscarbery

Well today has been a better day !  Dad slept well last night ... despite all the goings on (I kept waking up though !).  The B&B he'd got was very basic and the price had gone from 20 Euros a night to 28 Euros ! This morning the landlady asked if he wanted tea or coffee and said "I'll do you a couple of boiled eggs for breakfast".  Dad wasn't happy with this as he wanted a full breakfast for 28 Euros so he agreed to pay her 20 Euros and he'd go elsewhere for breakfast. So this is what he did while waiting for the police station to open at 10.00 am (they have good jobs them policemen !).  Anyway Dad gave all the details to the police. They were very good and even took Dad back to the pub. The landlady had a good search around and the pub had been hoovered and nothing had turned up. The police did say that they'd not had any other reports of pick-pockets, but I suppose pick-pockets go on holiday ... and they could have just happened to be in the same pub as Dad.  There are some CCTV cameras so they are going to check them out. They gave Dad a crime number but I don't expect we'll see the wallet again.

So once all that was sorted Dad headed on his way at about 11.00 am. His route this morning took him from Kinsale to Ballinspittle and then onto Timoleague where he had hoped to find somewhere to have lunch. Unfortunately there was no cafe nor pub so Dad ended up in a little shop and picked up six iced buns and had four of them for lunch with a bottle of pop!  After lunch he headed onto Clonakilty (I think he'd been cycling on the R600 and N71) where he found a shop and purchased a new wallet for £4.99 !  It was then onto Rosscarbery.  Dad spotted a sign for the Curraheen Lodge hostel and seeing that it had started to rain he decided to cut short the day (it was 3.30 pm) and head up to the hostel. When he arrived there was no one around at the hostel but the door was open so he made himself at home and about 5.00 pm they turned up. There is no food provided at the hostel so for tea tonight Dad is on "emergency" rations of cup-a-soup, curry noodles and the remaining two iced buns. However he has managed to find some wind-falls today on the side of the road and he has had apples and plums for pudding ! 

Dad says the hostel is very nice, there is no one else in but him and at 15 Euros it's a very good price.  He's staying in tonight ... he even said himself I think I'd better give the pubs a miss they cost to much!

Well last night wasn't a good night, but that was yesterday, today has been a good day on the bike and Dad is back on track for a good trip.

PS For those that have been reading my Dad's travel blog for sometime will remember something similar happening out in Nepal when Dad lost his money/cards!  It's no wonder I'm going grey!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Thieving gits ...

Someone thieving git has nicked my Dad's wallet tonight. He was out enjoying himself in a pub in Kinsale and come to go home and his wallet has gone. Cash, cards, driving licence, house keys !

I've put a stop on one of the cards that has gone, need to get details of the other card and ring back in the morning.  Thankfully he has some money and another card so he'll be ok for money. Just very inconvenient. He was only saying how friendly the Irish are. A little to friendly I think !!

Map of Ireland so you can follow the route ...

I've tried in the past to map our Dad's route using Googlemaps but I found it pretty difficult as Google always wanted to "choose" the route for me and it wasn't usally the route my Dad had gone, so I gave up.

However I've found the following map on Discover Ireland's web pages pretty good for checking out where Dad has been.

Day 6 - Kinsale

Dad has made it to Kinsale ! He had a later start this morning as it was raining until about 9.30, so he set off after the rain.  He headed off from the hostel and back into Youghal in search of information from the Information Centre. However they weren't that forthcoming with the information ... so Dad headed on his way. 

His route this morning took him from Youghal and onto Castlemartyr and then onto Midleton where he stopped at the Two Mile pub for coffee and a bacon buttie!  From there he headed onto Cork where Dad had to take the main roads - not pleasant riding ! He did at first head off on the N28 but found that it had a tunnel that didn't allow cycles through so Dad had to pull a U-ee and head back along the N28. He faired better on the N25 and headed into Cork.  Dad stopped off for lunch in Carrigaline just in time before the rain came again.. He sat it out awhile but in the end had to put the waterproofs on and head onto Kinsale.

Dad had hoped to get a bed in the hostel but it's full so he has got himself a B&B for the night. He's got a double room and a shower and his bike is currently in the hall of the B&B!  He is off down the pub now for tea and no doubt a pint or two of Guinness !

Tomorrow is he heading off to Skibbereen !

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Day 5- Youghal

Spoke to Dad twice tonight ... first time he was in a pub in Youghal having a drink with Jake Kretchsmer - my cousin's eldest son.  Had a quick chat with Dad and Jake and Dad said he'd phone back later.

True to his word, after a couple of pints of Guinness Dad phoned again. He is now staying in the Evergreen Hostel in Youghal. He is glad he is in the hostel as it's lashing down outside !  It's been fine all day but just as Dad got in to Youghal about 4.30 it started to rain and it's not stopped since! 

Today's route has taken him from the campsite just outside Waterford and down into Tranmore.  However where there is a "down" into there is an "up" out of ... and after riding along by the beaches Dad had to cycle up out of the town. Dad then took the Copper Coast Road to Bunmahon where Dad had a look around a Geological Park and a Copper mine.  He then headed onto Dungarvan but being a Sunday most places were closed. However he eventually found a Subway and managed to get a bacon buttie and a coffee.  From there he headed onto Ringville where he cycled out to the head but found it was a cul-de-sac and had to cycle back !  He then headed onto Ardmore and got chatting to a guy who was telling him about The Cliff House Hotel - with rooms costing around £250 a night - I think that's a bit out of his pocket !  From there Dad cycled over the bridge and into Youghal.

Dad is impressed with the hostel and at 20 Euros a night, it's a snip after the Cliff House Hotel ! Dad has bedroom and shower and there are only a couple of other people staying there. 

Jake came and met Dad at the hostel and they both headed off to the pub in the rain where Dad meet his wife, children and mother-in-law ... so it's been a right family gathering tonight!

Tomorrow Dad is heading towards Kinsale which is just past Cork.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Day 4 - Waterford

Dad is now in Waterford but it's been wet, wet, wet on the bike today. The rain started just about 9.00 am and it didn't stop til 3.30 pm! 

Dad had a good night last night. After I spoke to him he headed off to the Bridge Hotel and had steak and a Guinness. He then headed into Wexford and found a pub that was showing the England game so he managed to see the second half and three goals, chat to the locals ... all that and a pint of Guinness !

This morning Dad set off from Wexford about 8.30 and headed for Rosslare. Dad didn't go down to the harbour just passed through the village. From there it was onto Bridgetown and into Killmore (he missed out going through Bastardstown !!!). Dad couldn't find a cafe but did find a pub. However it wasn't open but they made him a cup of coffee and didn't charge him for it!  He then headed back off in the rain to Killmore Quay which had a lovely harbour.  It was then onto Duncormick and into Wellingtonbridge (I don't think the Irish do spaces in their place names !).  Dad found a pub and had soup, a BLT and a pot of tea for 7 Euros.  After lunch he headed to Arthurstown and Ballyhack where he caught the ferry across to Duncannon. On further to Dunmore East and down found a camp site past Wexford airport in a place called Tranmore. 

A good campsite (possibly this one) with kitchen and a lounge for campers. However it's now stopped raining. For tea tonight there is not much cooking ... cup-a-soup, tuna baps and banana and custard!  He's just found out there is pub close by so he's off later to sup another Guinness. 

It's very misty at the moment and even though the campsite has sea-views Dad hasn't actually seen the sea !

Today has been a hard day on the bike, so tomorrow Dad is hoping for an easier day.

I've been having a giggle at some of the other places Dad missed out on passing through today ...Nymphall, Horsequarter, Portally, Leaperstown, Killowen and Knockenduff !

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 3 - Wexford

Just spoken to Dad. He is now in Wexford camping at Ferrybanks campsite. It's a council run campsite but has lots of facilities, including a room with tables and chairs, kitchen and a swimming pool !

He's had a good day on the bike. Weather has been great again, but a little cooler than yesterday.  He left Wicklow Head about 8.30 this morning (the campsite was called Silver Strand) after a good nights sleep - he was in bed by 9.00 pm last night as there was no pub! There was a donkey close by that kept on hee-hawing through the night ... probably thought my Dad's snoring was another donkey ! 

He headed off through a place called Jack's Hole and onto Brittas Bay. Dad said the beaches are lovely and the one at Brittas Bay stretched on for a few miles.  From Brittas Dad headed onto Arklow where he stopped for coffee and a bacon buttie. It was then onto Castle Town and onto Courtown where Dad had a look around the harbour. He also passed through Ballymoney (I didn't expect it to be spelt like that !) where dad spotted his first thatched cottage .... many more followed though ! It was then on through Blackwater, Curracloe and onto Wexford.

Dad is off the pub tonight for a meal and I've just told him European qualifiers are on tonight so he's hoping to see some football.

Tomorrow he is heading for Waterford.

On a slightly different note ... I've been to Crewe station again today. In fact since I saw Dad off on Wednesday, I've been every day. Tomorrow I'm planning on giving Crewe station a miss!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 2 - Wicklow Head

Well today the weather has been glorious and Dad knocked off about 3.00 ish so he could have a wander down on the beach. Found a campsite right by the sea. 

Had a good night last night. He met up with a friend and her sisters who was over in Dublin. They came and found the hotel he was staying in ... so Dad enjoyed a pint of Guinness with company.  This morning he set off after a full Irish breakfast which included cereal, the full works, toast and coffee! Dad took the coast road through Bray and Greystones where he stopped for a coffee.  He then pedalled on to Wicklow where he had a late lunch of sandwich and a tea for 5 Euros (I must find the Euro sign on this keyboard !).  He is now camped up about 3 miles past Wicklow at Wicklow Head.

Dad had a cycle up to the Wicklow Head Lighthouse . He then headed off to pick up some provisions for evening meal .... tonight it's cup-a-soup, tin of spaghetti, banana and yoghurt and a cup of tea. A banquet fit for a king.  Unfortunately no pub close by and the shuttle bus has finished for the season so it will be an early night tonight.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Day 1 - He's made it to Ireland

Well Dad left sunny Stoke for Crewe. Caught the 10.47 train out of Crewe heading for Holyhead. Another cyclist came and sat with Dad. It was his first trip on a train with his bike and he was heading for a couple of days in Rhyl.  He was quite envious of what Dad had planned.  His name was Paul - Dad said "he's got a Facebook page .... can you look him up?"  Had to try and explain to Dad I needed a little more information than Paul in order to find him on Facebook !

Dad had no problems in Holyhead getting off the train as this was the end of the line and so he was able to get off at his leisure and put everything back on his bike.  He then headed over to catch the ferry.  The ferry guys were really helpful and sent Dad right to the front of the ferry so that he'd be first off. He was the only cyclist on board.  Ferry crossing was fine and he arrived in Ireland just after 5.30 pm ... six hours after leaving Crewe Dad was in Dublin and it had cost only £28.50.

Once in Dublin Dad headed off to find somewhere to stay. He decided against heading into Dublin itself and sticking to his plan ... he turned left and pedalled.  He cycled for about 1 1/2 hours before he found a bed for the night. Well he had passed one but at 69 Euros and with no breakfast it was out of budget!  He headed on through Black Rock and is now in Dun Laoghaire in the Kingstone Hotel . He's got a sea view, somewhere to store his bike and breakfast for 49 Euros - bargain.

Tomorrow he is heading off towards Wicklow.

A few photos

As promised here are a few photos from this morning

Outside Crewe Station.

Off in search of mobile top-up! That bloke by the pelican crossing looks impressed !

Now we are ready for the off !

Deserted platform 11 ... does the Holyhead train really stop here !

Unpacking all of the bike ready for the train. I said the bag was orange and HUGE !

All ready for the train.

and then he was off .... bye bye Dad. See you in a couple of months.

He's off ...

Been to wave Dad off from Crewe station this morning. His train was at 10.47 so we arranged to meet outside the station just after 10.  Dad was already there when I got to the station. He'd had a good ride from Stoke to Crewe. He then decided to go and get some top-up for his mobile ... nothing like leaving it til the last minute Dad!

We found the platform the train was departing from and headed on down - thankfully they had a lift.  Dad had to take everything off his bike but luckily he'd got a HUGE orange bivy bag to put in all the stuff. Crumbs the bag was heavy ! My job was portering and I was in charge of the bike (a lot of responsibility there!!!).  We'd got plenty of time. Jean Fuller popped down to wish Dad well and I also saw an ex-work colleague so had a chat with him.

 The first five carriages of the train was heading to Holyhead, the rest Chester!  The train pulled into the station and we realised we'd got quite a trek down the platform for the first five carriages and even further for the cycle compartment on the train. In fact it was right at the front on the train. Dad got on the train first with all his panniers and tent and stuff and I stuck the bike half on the train ... well I wasn't going to get on the train in case it pulled out of the station with me on the train (I'd only got two hours on the car park !!!) The guard blew his whistle and I'm still standing with the bike ledged half on the train frantically looking where Dad was.  Luckily he appeared back in the doorway and pulled his bike on. Phew as I was starting to panic.

So Dad is on his way ... hopefully both he, all his stuff and his bike are in the right carriages and they all end up in Holyhead together.  Will post a couple of photos later.