When you think of a tour of Ireland you think of the “great craic”, warm welcomes and rain!!! We had all three but luckily only a small amount of the latter 🙂 and the other thing to now add to any motorcycle tour of the Emerald Isle is “scones”!!!! We had brown ones, fruit ones, warm ones, butter and jam with some, just butter with others and cream and jam was perhaps the favourite of the majority!! The jam and cream ones were baked by Des and his team at The Thatch, Crinkill – if you are ever in that part of the world call by you will sure of a very warm welcome, it’s a 300 year old thatched cottage and has been in their family for 6 generations.
Our 4 day tour through the heart of Ireland started with a ride over the Wicklow Mountains, the views from the top are wonderful, albeit a bit breezy on the tops!!! The open landscape offered us a flowing ride both on ascent and descent before we rode through Curragh common, an area renowned for its horse racing studs and training grounds, onto our hotel for the evening. We encountered a shower just before our coffee stop – they say timing is everything!!!! which was true in this case as we came back out to the bikes just as it was blowing over.
Day 2 of the tour took us on the Lough Derg scenic ride, blue skies and very little traffic made for a pleasant ride to morning coffee at Flynn’s bar, no scones this time but a very warm welcome yet again with roaring fires and coffee and tea on constant refill. Onto Killaloe for lunch overlooking a very full River Shannon which glinted in the sunshine before we rode over the hills to Kinvara on The Wild Atlantic Way.
Day 3 was something of a history lesson, with the visit to The Thatch that morning followed by a ride over the Slieve Bloom mountains which, along with the Massif Central in France, are the oldest mountains in Europe – it’s a great ride over the wide open space which opens out to a panoramic view of the lowlands below. We then picked up part of the Gordon Bennett route and stopped for a photo at the memorial which explains a little about the history of the road race which took place in 1903 – the average speed of that race was 49.2mph over the 327.5 mile distance – some going in that era we think you’ll agree. Our last step back in time for the day was a visit to The Kilbeggan Whiskey distillery which is the oldest licenced distillery in Ireland dating back to 1757, the tour was excellent and as we were riding bikes they gave us a handful of minatures to take away which we were able to taste after dinner in the hotel that evening 🙂
The last day of our tour was a country ride back to Dublin Port and the afternoon ferry. We took the scenic route all the way rather than the motorway and had a lovely dry roads all day. Morning coffee in Granard was made even better by the warm, homemade fruit scones which everyone tucked into heartily before heading onto lunch in “Ireland’s Ancient east” as the region around Ardee is known.
We thoroughly enjoyed riding the roads through Central Ireland over the 4 days of the tour, even some of the peat roads, which can be undulating at times, brought a grin to everyone’s faces. We are looking forward to returning to Ireland in September when we head further south to the Ring of Kerry, details of which are on our website.