Thursday, October 28, 2010

Photos from trip round Ireland

As promised a few photos of Dad's trip ... not the best quality though but it proves he has been to all points !

Mizen Head - most southerly point in Ireland

Dingle Peninsular - most westerly point

Cliffs of Mohe

Galway Bay

View out of the Doohey hostel

Malin Head - most northerly point.

Malin Head again

The Giants Causeway

Portavogie - most easterly point

Newcastle ... not quite the under-Lyme one !

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Classic Dad quote

Classic Dad quote on way to watch cycling at the Velodrome last night ....

Dad: "I've brought along my blue Ikea cycling bag".

What he meant to say was ... "I've brought along my blue Eureka cycling bag" (the one he got given at the cycling cafe when he finished cycling around Britain).

There was me thinking Ikea had broken into a completely new market !

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Some Stats from cycling around Ireland ...

Well Dad is back home and he has done a note of some stats ..

He camped 8 times and had B&B/hostels 30 times (no wonder he got rid of the tent).
Most expensive B&B 40 Euros, cheapest hostel 12 Euros
Best deal 3 star hotel £40 for dinner, bed and breakfast.
Average hostel price 16 Euro
Average B&B 30 Euro

Miles covered ... no idea !

Bacon butties 27
Guinness drunk - he lost count after the 10th pint !
Weight lost 51b (surprising with all those Guinness !)

He had 11 wet days and 27 dry days.

Amount spent on top-ups for the mobile at least £60.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 38 - Home

Well Dad had found a very reasonably priced B&B for tonight .... he's back home ! Not sure the breakfast will be quite upto his "usual" standard as the cupboards are a bit bare ... but the bed will be comfy !

This morning he headed off to the Ferryport to catch the 8.45 ferry. At first he got the wrong terminal so headed off to find the one for Irish Ferries. He managed to book a ferry and a train back to Crewe for 40 Euros. He got chatting to a Bernard from Dublin who was interested in what Dad had being doing over the last few weeks.  The crossing was only a couple of hours and then Dad caught the train from Holyhead to Crewe. He had to change in Chester, which wasn't ideal, but in the end it all worked out well and he arrived in Crewe at around 2.30. He found out afterwards that the train was also going to Stoke so he could have stayed on and had a shorter ride home!  Took him awhile to re-assemble all the stuff back on the bike and he headed home via Alsager, Talke crossroads,  Bradwell and back home for about 4.00 ish.  Dad was surprised at how busy the roads were ... well compared to Ireland it must seem busy here.

Not sure what is on the menu tonight ... but I'm sure he'll find something in the freezer !

Dad has had a great trip. The Irish folk weren't quite as hospitable as those across the water but he's enjoyed the craic, the Guinness and of course riding his bike !

I'll post some stats probably tomorrow.

Thanks everyone who has shared his journey. Hope you enjoyed the read !

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 37 - Dublin

Well Dad has gone full circle and is now back in Dublin and he's made it back for his birthday ! He's had a good day on the bike, weather has been good. A bit chilly first thing but it warmed up later. Dad has clean biking gear on today ... well it is his birthday !  Tonight he is in the Croke Park View Guest House which is en-route for his ferry tomorrow.

Last night he went out for a three course meal (celebrating his birthday early). He had a nice meal of garlic mushrooms, seafood platter and a fruit cocktail finished off with a Guinness.

This morning he was on the road by 9.00 and his route took him through Castlebellingham, Annagasson and into Clogherhead where he stopped for a coffee and a scone. He then picked up the coastal road through Mornington and Laytown where he came inland to Julianstown. It was then into Gormanstown where Dad stopped for lunch in the oldest pub in Ireland which was granted it's licence in 1390 - the Cock Tavern. Following lunch it was onto Ballbriggan, Swords and then Dad cycled on the old route into Dublin, which was busy but Dad cycled in the bus lane !

Tonight he is off out for his birthday tea.  He is hoping to catch the 8.45 ferry tomorrow morning and then it's a train back to Crewe and then a cycle home! Must remember he hasn't got any keys to get back in his house (after his wallet got nicked!).

Edited to say ... just got a text off  Dad. He's walked O'Connell Street end to end. Been in Debenhams for his tea and is now on the hunt for a pint of Guinness ! That shouldn't be hard in Dublin :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 36 - Blackrock

Dad has had a lovely day on the bike today. Weather has been great, just one small rain shower about 4.30 when Dad sheltered in the Law Courts !  He is in a place called Blackrock which is just south of Dundalk.  He is in a B&B called the Keernaun House.  He didn't make it to Clogherhead as he spent an hour and a half cycling out to Newry railway station to try and book a ferry/train book home only to be told "oh we can't do that" !

Dad had a good night in the three star Kilmorey Hotel last night. He had an evening meal in the hotel. Prawn cocktail, roast of the day and a Guinness for £13.00.  Breakfast this morning was £6.00. So for just under £40.00 he had dinner, bed and breakfast. 

He left this morning at around 9.30 and headed to Killowen (is that a statement or a place name !) and onto Rostrevor and Warrenpoint. Dad had a look around Warrenpoint, a nice sea-side town. Dad had been cycling along the Culingford Lough. He then headed into Newry and to hunt down the railway station. The road out of Newry was alongside the Newry ship canal which according to blurb Dad had been reading was built between 1731 - 1742. Dad then came to the Victoria Locks. It was then over the border and back into Southern Ireland and Dad head to Omeath for lunch. Dad found a pub only to find that they did not do food so Dad had a cup of coffee, a piece of cake and a packet of crisps. It was then onto Carlingford where Dad found a cafe so he had a soup.  There were six mountain bikers in but they didn't speak to Dad (they aren't real cyclists !!!).  Dad had a quick look around Carlingford which was a lovely village with lots of places selling oysters (apparently they come from Carlingford Lough).  It was then onto The Bush (I can't find that on the map!) and into Dundalk. Dad decided he didn't want to stay the night in Dundalk so headed for Blackrock instead.

He is off out for a walk into town to find somewhere to eat tonight.  Tomorrow he should be in Dublin. A good way to celebrate his 76th birthday!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 35 - Kilkeel

Spoke to Dad earlier ... he's had a lovely day on the bike. There has still been some wind and headwinds but they are not like the gales yesterday. He's now in Kilkeel in a three star hotel called the Kilmorey Arms Hotel. He'd stopped to ask a lady in Kilkeel if she knew where the hostel was and apparently it was out in the hills so Dad asked if she knew of a reasonable B&B. She said she knew the people that owned the Kilmorey Arms and that she could get Dad a bed for £20.00. So off they both went to the hotel and true to her word Dad got a room for £20.00. (I'm wondering if my Dad often goes to hotels with women he meets in the street and asks for a room !!!!)  It very posh and Dad's room has a double bed, a single bed, TV, tea and coffee making facilities and a bathroom, so Dad has had a good lie in the bath tonight.  The £20 doesn't include breakfast but Dad will see tomorrow what the prices are like and if they are very expensive he'll find somewhere en-route for breakfast. I've just been looking on the website for the hotel and a single room is £69.95 include breakfasts ... so if breakfast is cheaper than £50.00 he has himself a bargain !

Dad had a good night in the hostel last night. He stayed in and got chatting to an elderly couple from Belfast who come down to Portaferry for a couple of nights every week !  There were also 3 lads in who worked on the lighthouses but as the weather was so bad yesterday they couldn't get out to the lighthouses so stayed over in the hostel.

This morning Dad left at 9.15. He watched for the ferry come in and then went down to the ferry port to catch it over to Strangford.  A lady got chatting to Dad on the ferry asking him what he was doing as she was a cyclist as well.  The crossing only took 15 minutes and it was a £1.00 for the bike and Dad got offered a cup of coffee as well.   Once leaving the ferry Dad made his way to the harbour town of Ardglass where he stopped for coffee and a bacon buttie. There were lots of fishing boats/trawlers in the harbour. From there it was onto Kilough, Clough and Dundrum where Dad stopped for lunch.  Dad enjoyed the route today as he a had views of the Mountains of Morne on one side and the coast on the other.  It was then onto Newcastle (no not the under-Lyme ... which would have meant he was home !) but another Newcastle! It was a big city but it also had a beach.  It was then on through Dunmore, Glasdrumman, Annalong and into Kilkeel.

He found out that the most easterly place in Ireland is a place called Burr Point between Ballyhalbert and Portavogie but Dad thinks you can only walk to the point. Enroute today he got chatting to a council worker who was out picking up litter. Dad had found that Northern Ireland has a lot less litter than Southern Ireland and the Council worker was saying that in Sourthern Ireland it is 5 Euros to dispose of a bag of rubbish, so folk just throw it out of their car windows/dump it!

Dad was going to try the Hotel for his evening meal tonight.

Tomorrow he will be heading to Clogherhead which will mean he'll be back in Southern Ireland. He'll not be back home for his birthday but he'll hopefully be back into Dublin.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Day 34 - Portaferry

Well Dad has made it to Portaferry. Been a hard day ... with gale force winds and at times head winds ! Dad got into the Barholm hostel about 4.30 and then the rain started and it was still raining at 6.30 when I spoke to him.

Dad had a good night last night. He found the Crown Liquor Saloon. I tried to find him on the webcam but it was only working in the restaurant and Dad only went it to have a pint as he'd picked up a Subway for tea.  Dad had a wander around looking for a pub with music but it was relatively quiet on a Sunday night and in the end Dad was back in the hostel for 10.00.

This morning Dad headed out of the hostel and over the River Lough. He then had to cycled along the A2 passing Harland & Wolfe and George Best airport. He stopped off in Hollywood for a bacon buttie and a coffee.  From there it was back on the busy  A2 to Crawfordsburn and onto Bangor.  Dad cycled around the Harbour and along the sea front. It was then onto Groomsport and the sea-side resort of Donaghadee where Dad stopped for lunch.  He then continued on the A2 which was now much quieter but he was cycling into a head wind and a strong one at that. It was also uphill so it took Dad 3 1/2 hours to cycle 22 miles. He passed through Millisle, Ballywater, Ballyhalbert and into Portavogie which Dad assumed was the most easterly point of Ireland.  It was then on through Cloughy and into Portaferry.

Dad booked into the hostel and it was quiet busy so Dad took the key and went straight up to his room. When he looked through the window of his room he could see a fire in a building across from the hostel. Dad went back downstairs and informed the warden who rang 999. Three fire engines turned out and where still there two hours later.

The hostel is very nice and Dad has been sitting in the lounge watching the ferries come and going into Strongford Lough.Tonight on the menu is cup-a-soup, chicken curry and green beans, followed by grapefruit and banana and custard.

Tomorrow he is heading for Kilkeel.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 33 - Belfast

Well weather has been great today and Dad has made it to Belfast and is now in the Linen House Backpackers after failing to find the YHA (he should have asked me ... I've stayed there!).  He stopped to ask a policeman for directions to a hostel and the policeman was giving Dad directions ... pointing with his right hand and saying "turn left".  They must have been a right pair has Dad gets his left and right mixed up ! Anyway Dad made it to the hostel. Dad is in a private room ... it was £6.00 for a dorm and £20.00 for a private room.

Dad had a great night last night. Went out for a meal at Joe's Restaurant. It was curry night and Dad had soup, curry and a pint for £13.00. Very good food.  After the curry he went for a walk and then back to the pub below Joe's restaurant. The pub was split into four rooms and Dad found himself a corner and settled in with his pint. Over the next 20 minutes about 8 musicians turned up and Dad had the best seat in the house to watch.  By far the best night Dad has had. They finished off with a rendition Delilah and after they had finished Dad was telling them that the song was Stoke City football anthem.  Dad didn't get back to the B&B until midnight.

Dad had booked breakfast for 8.30. He got down there and all the tables were set but there was no one around. He waited awhile and then went back upstairs to pack up his stuff. He came back down and still there was no sign of anyone so Dad rang the B&;B and all he got was the answerphone !  Eventually a car pulled up outside and someone had turned up to do the breakfasts!  Dad didn't get away until 10.00.

Dad's route today took him along the coast road and through Glenariff and then the road had been closed so Dad had to take an 8 mile detour which wasn't quite as flat as the coast road ! Today has been "fly" day ... loads of flies about and Dad thinks they were attracted to his yellow jacket !  Dad stopped off for lunch in a KFC in Larne. He then picked up the busy A2 into Whitehead, Eden and onto Carrickfergus. Dad rode along the sea-front in Carrickfergus. He then picked up cycle routes nearly all the way into Belfast.

Tonight Dad is out and about in Belfast. I remember the Crown Liquor Saloon from when I visited but I think it's a bit far from the hostel for Dad.

Tomorrow Dad is heading for Portavogie.  He is hoping to be home probably on Thursday (his birthday !!!!).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day 32 - Cushendell

Dad has had a great day on the bike - good weather, great views but a few too many hills ! He is now in Cushendell staying in a B&B. Cup of coffee and biscuits on arrival, ensuite and TV in the room. Luxury compared to camping !

Dad had his fish and chips and a pint last night and then headed back to the hostel.  Mixed nationalities in the hostel so Dad had a good evening chatting to people.

This morning he headed off into Portrush and was glad he'd stayed in Portstewart last night. Portrush was full of pubs and clubs, amusement arcades and reminded Dad a bit of Blackpool ! He then headed into Dunluce where Dad had views of the castle.  Today Dad has been cycling along the coastal road. It was then onto Portballintrae where there was a marathon/half marathon/extreme marathon taking place. The runners ran along the cliffs and along the beaches. Dad stopped to watch for awhile. It was then onto Bushmills and Dad cycled past the distillery ... well he didn't want to drink and ride ! From there it was onto the Giants Causeway where entry was free for cyclists.  Dad wandered down to the Causeway, had coffee and a scone and then walked back up to his bike. He continued onto Dunseverick and Ballintoy where Dad could view the rope bridge to Carrick Island.  Dad then cycled down into the village and walked back out !  Dad also stopped at a view point and could see Ruthin Island and also across to the Mull of Kintyre.  From there Dad headed into Ballycastle where he stopped for a late lunch. 

After lunch Dad headed onto the A2 as he'd been advised the coastal road was very up and down. However Dad cycled uphill along the A2 for 1 hour 10 minutes. It was then downhill all the way to Cushendell !

Tonight Dad is going out into town to find a restaurant and then find a pub with some Irish music but I think Dad will be back in the B&B by 10.30 as he asked what time Match of the Day was on !

Tomorrow he is heading for topside of Belfast !

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 31 - Portstewart

Well Dad has had a much better day weather-wise than here. He's had a bit of rain for probably about an hour.  Cycled with a tailwind and was in Portstewart by 3.00 pm. He is staying at the Causeway Coast independent hostel and it's good value at £12.00 a night.

Dad had a good night last night. He found the Weatherspoons and had a couple of burgers and a pint for less than a fiver ! Afterward he went and found the Guild Hall and the free music event. It was actually a recording of a lunchtime concert for Radio 3 (to be broadcast on 16th and 19th November). Dad said you'll be able to hear him ... he was the one clapping in the wrong place ! Following the concert there was free tea and biscuits.  Once that had finished Dad headed off for a pint of Guinness. This morning he got chatting to a Canadian from Banff who was touring Ireland tracing his family ancestors.

This morning Dad headed out of town and managed to get out in about 5 minutes on the cycle route. He then picked up the A2 (which had a good hard shoulder) and headed to Ballykelly. He thought it was taking along to get there but then remembered it wasn't 20km or the sign but 20 miles ! Dad then followed the coast road and headed into a place called Downhill which wasn't and it took Dad 20 minutes to push his bike uphill ! He then headed onto Castlerock, Articlave and into Coleraine.  Dad didn't stop in Coleraine as it was a busy town. It was then onto Portstewart.

Tonight on the menu is Fish & Chips ... well it is Friday.

He's found lots of cycle routes and he is going to be following Sustrans Route 93 along the coast. Tomorrow he is heading for Cashendell and will pass by the Giants Causeway.