Travel Through Ireland on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Ireland on a Harley (17/7/09 - 23/7/09)
Distance 1131 km (537502 km to 538633 km)

This is part of the fifteenth section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from the United Kingdom or read our previous visit to Ireland
 
17/7/09 Another non border, just a sign saying roadsigns are now in km/hr. Interesting that when we arrived in Ireland last time by ferry from the UK they needed our passports, this time arriving from Northern Ireland, nothing? Headed up the Malinhead Peninsula, the northernmost point of the country. Strong winds welcomed us along with the views. We are still being amazed by the size of the new houses in this country, many still unfinished, many more either empty or for sale. We negotiated a B&B for the night. With many empty beds in the tourism downturn our room was room only, 20 Euro each, similar to a hostel.

18/7/09 We hadn't seen much of the north west part of Ireland on our previous visit and wanting to go there this time headed out into the Donegal region, in the usual sunshine and showers weather so often experienced here, finally camping at a farmstay Most northerly point in Irelandhostel near Kilcar after passing through peat bog country and over hills of grazing sheep. The hostel owner was lamenting at the lack of local tourists this year, now passing the peak season and without sufficient patronage for him to be able to close up for the winter his own holidays won't happen.

19/7/09 On one of the most magnificent days, I am sure in all of Ireland's history, we did a loop of the Carrick peninsula, riding through Glengesh to the northern coast with its beautiful sandy estuary, waterfalls and caves, then out to Port, my favourite spot in all of Ireland. Here, untouched by modern development, is a tiny harbour, just two boats on a rope slipway, one small farmhouse, some stone ruins from the famine era, and rolling hills and cliffs to the rugged coast. A headland walk offered us great views, a memorial stone to a shipwreck, where 18 of the 20 men aboard lost their lives, confirmed an at othertimes stormy coast, but the black faced sheep grazed on oblivious to the world changing elsewhere, but here it has seemed to remain the same. Adding to our visit was seeing a weasel, (ferret), swimming across the bay with a fishSmall road into the remote area of Port in her jaws. We followed her to a small stream where on its banks there was a nest with three half grown youngsters playing outside. Cautious of our presence, but not frightened, they continued frollicking and eating the fish mum had brought. She then dashed away again, this time across the fields, up a small stream, diving under rocks like an otter, returning to the nest a few minutes later holding a frog in her jaws. Off again we last saw her diving in the ocean, moving along the coastline, searching under rocks for the next meal for her hungry offspring. Later in the evening we walked up Slieve League, Europe's highest ocean cliffs, with the wind now almost gale force.

20/7/09 Yesterday's lovely weather was replaced overnight with stormy showers battering our tent and the morning was no better as we packed up to ride through the town of Donegal, where in light drizzle we managed to change the motorcycle oil and filter in a petrol station parking area. As the day improved we stuck to the coast as much as possible, as it was raining more inland, in the mountains, the moist sea wind risingEating the fish caught by its mother forcing water from the clouds. Down to Sligo, Ballina, and out to Bangor Erris where the bouncy road crosses an enormous peat field, a poor base for a road. We decided to have another attempt at looking at The Connemara, another beautiful region, but often wet, as on our last two visits here. By the time we reached Letterfrack, we had passed the large fjord, a few tarn lakes and high misty mountains, and had been misted ourselves as we rode along, and felt it was time to stop for the night. Another area suffering from the economic downturn, and with accommodation operators having realised the season wasn't going to be a success, they had dropped prices more than we had seen elsewhere. Our B&B, (no en suite and only continental breakfast) just 20 Euro each, a price we haven't seen before.

21/7/09 The Connemara again alluding us in rain. We ventured out mid morning for a coastal look but once we reached the inland hills mist and heavy rain sent us back to our accommodation as we were seeing little. A better afternoon the nearby National Park had a lovely peat walk that gained My favourite place in Ireland, Port in the Donegal regionour attention, with views over Letterfrack and the coast and a backdrop of barren mountains, but again about halfway we were dumped on by "Irish sunshine".

22/7/09 Just two more days in Ireland before the ferry back to Great Britain and leaving the coast we rode to the historical town of Aughrim. It was here that probably one of the most important battles in Irish history took place in 1691, on the 12th of July, when 40,000 people, half Catholic backed, many from France, whilst the other side were Protestant supporters, many from Germany and the Netherlands, assisting the British. At the end of the day over 25% on either side had perished, and at the time it was seen as the end of the struggles, Ireland's resistance had fallen.

23/7/09 Into Dublin, a short day's ride on the new freeway. A few days ago a noise had started in the primary area and yesterday we opened it up and noticed the clutch hub had broken part of the splines that attach it to the gearbox shaft and it was wobbling worryingly. We have a spare one in Australia and a text to our daughter, Jennifer, had her searching through our belongings in her garage. We keep a bit of a store of parts, parts that Relaxing in our upgrade hotel room jacuzzihave previously broken, parts that we expect to use in the future, ones that might not be kept by local H-D dealers for a 15 year old motorcycle, that would therefore take a long time to order and have delivered. Located, the part was DHL'd to a friend's place where we will be staying in the UK, hopefully arriving in a few days time. It took about half a dozen text messages, a couple of emails, a transfer electronically of the money, all done in a few hours from a cafe and our hotel room, ain't modern technology great, and different from when we first started travelling 13 years ago. Still by the end of the day we needed relaxing, and by chance the manager of our rock bottom hotel room, supposedly a basement room in a nice hotel, had upgraded us to a room with a jacuzzi, so it was a evening relaxing in a throbbing bubble bath.

24/7/09 We were reminded of our current predicament the next morning however, when the rattling noise from the primary had become worse as we rode to the ferry, for the trip back to the United Kingdom. With over 400 km to the spare parts collection address, stopping along the way at a rally and visiting other friends, we hope the damaged part won't fail completely.      



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