Reflections and images from my travels

Anna definitely did not feel right last night. She had just ordered soup for her meal but after one bite bailed. I ended finishing up her meal in addition to mine. We crashed early!!

The room was very quite and conducive to a good sleep which we had. In total, I think we slept 11 hours.

My name today is Com O’Leary. He is a local dentist in Kenmare. We are obviously getting lazy with choosing the names!

Anna did not bike today instead choosing to take her time after breakfast to pack and then go into town to tour the sights.

I, on the other hand, was going to get my last cycle in. The tour company was going to pick us up at the B&B by 4 PM so I got on my way by 10 AM. I was going to cycle the Beara Peninsula.

The weather looked sunny but of course this could change on a dime. The way out was undulating but then a left hand turn started me up Healy Pass. It was a good climb but very quiet with no other cyclists. I took a few pictures at the top of the pass and then enjoyed another long and very fast descent.

I was amused by road signs in chalk before every bend warning me to “slow down” and ‘dangerous turn ahead”!

There was a pub at the end of the descent called the Smokey Pickle Cafe.

I got a picture of it and though it said it was open but it looked abandoned. I was on a mission to get back to Kenmare so I did not linger. The tour then took me onto quiet country lanes with grass strips in the middle looking appropriate for wheeled carts! There were overhanging trees and bushes enveloping me as I rode. Fantastic! As I rode on I noted a small bridge to the left and stopped for some pictures of a lovely small lake.

This section was so beautiful and relaxing I really settled into the ride becoming one with the bike and just appreciated being here. Life was good, I felt strong and I opened my mouth to roar my approval and……a bug flew into my mouth. I chocked, coughed and sputtered for awhile until I got my composure back! Once again, don’t be too proud.

After awhile, I took a side road to Tuosist which was amazing as well. Tree enveloped roads with open areas affording lovely views of the sea. I again achieved a high level of relaxation when a large bee struck me in the upper lip. It hurt. Thankfully I was able to soldier on.

I was making great time and feeling strong when I reconnected with the main road back to Kenmare. This was the last stretch of cycling I would do in Ireland. I was surprised by how trouble free it had been. All felt good. I would simply power in to Kenmare way ahead of schedule. You know….life has a way of correcting your optimism. As I was riding, literally 4 km out of town I suddenly heard a loud pop like a gunshot. The rear tire exploded. Thankfully I was on a flat stretch and the bike remained stable. I thought, no problem, a quick repair and I would be on my way. I pulled out the repair kit provided by the tour company but noted a piece was missing to attach the CO2 canister. Oh well, I guess I would be walking the rest of the way! I was just happy I was not 30 km out!

I walked into town and thankfully the first shop I laid eyes on was a bike repair shop. The fellow inside was very helpful after I finally got him to understand I wanted a rear bike tire repair and not a tube. He promised to get it done while I went for a latte and light lunch at a cafe next door.

After lunch I went back to the bike shop and, as promised, the bike was ready to go. He had to replace the tire and showed me the major tire cut. I could not have repaired it “in the field” even if I had wanted to.

I returned to the B&B and re-packed getting the bike ready for pick up when Anna showed up. Good timing. She stayed at the B&B while I went into town to finally do a small tour and get some photographs of the town before we departed. This included the stone circle, the local church and Cromwell’s Bridge.

When I got back to the B&B, Fiona our driver, was waiting. We had a pleasant drive back to Killarney and registered for our rental car and then Fiona dropped us off at Murphy’s Guesthouse.

We had a nice pub meal and then a final walk around town. We stopped in at the Scott’s Hotel pub for 2 G and T’s to celebrate the end of the bike tour. We had a good chuckle when Anna asked the bartender for our second G and T requesting “Jingle Gin” (instead of our favourite Dingle Gin). Afterwards we decided we should cap off the night with an Irish Coffee and stopped in at the swanky Killarney Park Hotel. It is a five star hotel and had a very nice but sparsely populated bar (no wonder, the room rates were $350 Euros and up!). After the Irish coffees, we suddenly came to the realization we had not had an Irish whiskey so I ordered a 12 year old Power’s whiskey and Anna had the 12 year old Redbreast whiskey. What a great way to top off out bike tour.

Except it wasn’t. On the way back to our guesthouse, we stopped in for a Murphy’s Dingle Sea Salt ice cream ( OK, I did). We joined in a rendition of “Stand by Me” with a boisterous group of American tourists queued up waiting for the tasty treat.

Tomorrow we were off to Cork and Waterford with me driving, hopefully, on the left side of the road in a manual rental vehicle. Fiona has told us on our drive into Killarney that the one way roads in Cork were “lethal”!! My confidence was waning. How would we do?

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