We had a reasonable sleep but not as good as the night before. I was up earlier than Anna to finish the blog as I had technical glitches the night prior.
I know you are dying to know……my name today is John Sheahan.
We packed up and then had another great breakfast at the Greenmount B&B. We were sorry to leave it as our host, Gary, had been so gracious. We remembered this B&B had been upgraded at no charge when we booked.
Our itinerary today was quite different compared to previous days. Anna was to have Patrick, our guide, pick her up at 10 AM and then drive her to Milltown to cycle the remainder of the way to Killarney. I was to cycle the entire way.
After our goodbyes, I headed off sure the route was along the main highway. I finally looked at the GPS to see it was warning me “off course”. I had already cycled 2-3 km so I had to backtrack to the tourist office to pick up the route start again and then re-attempted the route. I had a good laugh when it re-directed me back to the B&B we had stayed at and then took me along the road right in front of it!
Anna and Patrick apparently had some problem getting the e-bike into the van and had to resort to taking off the front tire. I guess neither of us had “clean starts”.
My initial route was lovely to start. Narrow, quiet lane ways with lovely views. I cycled through surrounding rows of fuchsia bushes dotted with foxgloves.
I eventually came back to the main road but thankfully crossed it to take a cul de sac road to Minard Castle. It had been heavily damaged many years ago and never repaired. It was located by a very rocky beach known as Storm Beach.
I then was reconnected to the main road for fast cycling past Inch Beach. I stopped for a few photos as the beach looked huge especially with the tide out.
The next stretch just had to be ridden through as quickly as possible. There were not any worthwhile sights and the road was a major highway. I ramped up my speed and let her rip! I eventually reached Castlemaine. A rather nondescript village but I was hungry and saw a bar (Griffen’s) so I stopped. The place looked like it had seen better years, but, I decided to risk it. I walked into the bar with full cycling gear and 5 older Irish gentlemen literally stopped slurping from their Guinness glasses and looked at me wearily. You could have heard a pin drop! I broke the silence by saying the only thing I though they would want to hear- “I’ve been cycling a ways and thought I would stop in for a pint of Guinness”. Smiles suddenly erupted and before I knew it they were all chatting with me and asking me how the roads were and offering sage advice. I breathed a sigh of relief and took another risk “do you have a bar menu?”. The bartender replied in the affirmative and gave me a menu with 5 short options. I was now committed and decided to order a chicken dish I had never heard of before- Goujons. It took a long time to come but when it arrived I was very pleasantly surprised. They were herb breaded chicken pieces fried to perfection with a sweet sauce and if I say so myself a sweet salad. It was inexpensive but probably the best value and really tasty meal I had in Ireland thus far. The proprietor was definitely tipped!
Back on my steed, I rode through Milltown and then had another very pleasant but hilly 18 km stretch on a ridge line as I approached Killarney. It started to rain quite heavily about 12 km out of town so I stopped to put rain gear on. There were many beautiful old churches and ancient graveyards along the way.
After the ridge line ended there was a very steep descent into Killarney. As I arrived the sun came out and I found our B&B quite quickly. I found Anna waiting in our room. She had a pleasant day with Patrick and rode the final 20 km into Killarney from Milltown. Once she arrived in Killarney she got a tour of the town
highlights and a lot of useful information from Patrick. He lived within 7 km of town so it was convenient for him to meet with Anna again.
We got settled in our B&B and then walked around town. It was much more of a tourist town than Dingle. There were many “lanes” off the main roads. We also found a beautiful Franciscan Abbey.
We had a nice dinner at Treyvauds and then hit the pub scene again at Husseys Bar which had a “snub” room up front! We ordered a pint of Guinness for me and a pint of Murphy’s for Anna. We had truly transitioned to being Irish!
As we were enjoying our beer, we noted a local Irishman talking with two acquaintances. Try as we might we could not understand him with his very thick Irish accent except for the universally understood F*** and Jesus Christ which happened to be about every third word spoken!
It was back to our B&B to get a good night’s sleep. I was looking forward to the Killarney area because of it’s National Park, beautiful lakes and mountainous terrain! Would it meet our expectations?