If nothing else, I should write about the bike rides. Friend Cecil was wondering where I would be riding. Since Week Two of the Ireland trip was to be the Irish Golf Pilgrimage for Fitz, his brother Mark, and Fitz's golf buddies Ethan and Rich, my cycling was necessarily to be around whichever Renowned Golf Course we were at that day.
Our first stop was Clifden. "Excellent!" said Cecil. "Ride over to Cleggan, take the ferry to Inishbofin and spend the day there. It is the most beautiful place in the world!"
That was easy. I reassembled Sweetpea when we arrived at Mallmore House (recommended!). Rich was fascinated. Checked the ferry schedule ("at half eleven" said our host Alan), and I was set. It did not depart Inishbofin until 5, so Fitz thought he'd pick me up after, so we could eat dinner at a reasonable hour.
Rode over to the ferry after a traditional Irish breakfast (passing on the black pudding). Easy, peaceful ride. Hardly any traffic, so I could acclimate to riding on the opposite side of the road with little stress. Made it to Cleggan in good time, bought my ferry ticket (€20 plus €5 for the bicycle). Pricey ferry.
After a bouncy ride over, I hopped on the bike and started riding. I am not entirely sure where I rode, but I was aiming for some of the off road hiking trails. I'd follow one until I couldn't ride it anymore, and then I'd turn back.
It was raining. After a couple of hours of that, I took refuge in the Doonmore Hotel bar, ordered a pot of tea and seafood chowder, commandeered the fireplace, and did not leave for an hour.
The bar started filling up; big Gaelic football match was coming on. I was now relatively dry, so set out for more exploration. Lots of sheep, free range chickens, horses and the occasional cow. Possibly some people, but they were all probably inside watching the match. The rain had stopped.
I found the east part of the island, and wandered around there for awhile, then found another hiking path, which eventually connected up with a spot I'd been by in the morning. Found a place to sit, and ate some chocolate.
Then, back to the ferry dock. Some people walking around asked if I had hired the bike on the island. No, it was my own bike. "But surely you didn't bring it all the way from America!" :-)
The ferry pulled in. I was witness to some effortless and skilled pitching of short cases of Budweiser up to someone waiting on the dock. Provisions for the week, no doubt.
A less bouncy ride back, and Fitz was there to collect me.
About 23 miles.