Relive Compilation

An indulgence to be sure on our part but hey, we cycled the length of Ireland in a heatwave!

Thanks to the good folk at relive, we’ve put together a 7 minute compilation of our north to south ride through Ireland.

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Leaving Ireland – the journey home

After our overnight stay in Cork – what a vibrant bustling City – we had a late breakfast for us but, even so, we were back on the road at 10am as we intended to stop off at Clonmel and then Waterford before catching the Stena ferry from Rosslare to Fishguard. Another hot sunny day.

We were heading to Clonmel as an indulgence for Shaun. His great uncle was Mick Delahunty a very well known big band leader – probably the Irish equivalent of Glen Miller. He was born and bred in Clonmel where there are still many Delahunty relatives – mainly cousins.

There is a square named after Mick so we could not miss out on a photo opportunity. We also visited a couple of bars and Shaun was able to speak to some relatives over the phone and chat to people about Mick.

Another interesting thing materialised following our visit to Clonmel. During our trip we had become partial to drinking Bulmers Bottled Irish cider with ice. It was particularly refreshing in the heat of day. Some general ignorance on our part now. We had always associated Bulmers with Hereford cider production but the below explains all. Essentially the drink is Magners in the UK. But of all the places with which the Irish version is associated is none other than Clonmel. The factory is probably full of cousin Delahuntys, to be sure.

The history is this:

“Fred and Percy Bulmer grew the apples at their family orchard at Credenhill in Herefordshire which would be later used to make the cider for which they became known. Production was initially at Ryelands Street in Hereford. The original buildings, including cider cellars,survive today as the Cider Museum and King Offa Distillery. Production moved to the current Plough Lane site in the late 1970s. Today HP Bulmer makes 65% of the UK’s five hundred million litres of cider sold annually, and the bulk of the UK’s cider exports.

From 1937 to 1949, Bulmers operated with Wm. Magners of Clonmel, expanding into Irish distribution markets. From 1949 Magners withdrew from this partnership but retained rights to trade under the name HP Bulmer Ltd in Ireland. In 2003, the Hereford-based firm was bought for £278 million by Scottish & Newcastle(S&N) with the loss of some 200 jobs initially. In 2008, S&N were bought for £7.8 billion by the Carlsberg and Heineken groups. Bulmers now only survives as a brand name and subsidiary of the Heineken group, with operations in Hereford scaled back to focus mainly on the production of cider”

Next stop was Waterford to visit the Waterford Crystal retail outlet to purchase some bits and take a late lunch. Business appeared to be booming – numerous tourist buses and a very chic shopping area for the crystal on display. We had lunch at The Munster nearby.

As we were only an hour or so from the ferry, we timed our departure from Waterford in good time for the check in at Rosslare. The sea was like a mill pond and this time the ferry left on time. It was a very modern vessel and very comfortable for the shorter crossing. We watched Uruguay beat Spain in the World Cup – another shock result.

After a long drive (thanks Tim), we arrived home at about 2am. It had been a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

Clonakilty to Mizen Head

Well we did it!

55 miles of cycling saw us finish at the head at about 1.30pm after another early start. We were expecting some big climbs today but they did not materialise. Yes there were hills but on the whole gentle and rolling – apart from the final few miles run in to the head.

Again, wonderful coastal scenery in the last 10 miles or so.

At the head we had the usual photo session. There were quite a few people at the head so we had half a dozen or so people give donations. An elderly couple who had moved to Ireland made a donation and they originally lived in Parkstone. Christine, who ran the visitor centre, took some photos for us and gave us complimentary tickets to visit centre as the far extremity of the head is only accessible on foot.

There was then an unexpected treat as a musician from London who we chatted too pulled out his fiddle and played a ditty for us. A real magic and impromptu moment to remember.

Watch The Fiddler on Vimeo:

We stayed at the head for a hour or so before stopping off at a beach bar about 2 miles away. From it’s terrace there were stunning views of the beaches below.

It was then off to Cork for a night in the town to celebrate.

click below to Reive the ride:

Tomorrow we return to the UK catching the evening ferry which in theory arrives in Fishguard at 9.30 pm. We intend to visit Clomel (Shaun’s ancestral home) and Waterford en route.

It’s been a great trip despite the difficulties at the start and all made so enjoyable by the wonderful weather we’ve had, the people we’ve met and the laughter every day. As they say in Ireland, it’s been a real craic – to be sure.

Final out thanks to Tim. He has been fantastic in his support role always going the extra mile. Chief bargain hunter and a top bloke.

Mallow to Clonakilty

We had a bit of fun in Mallow after our ride and enjoyed the spa town but sadly we were left with little time to explore it to the full.

Another early start but slightly delayed saw as on the road at about 8.20am. It was hot from the start with very little cloud cover. To top it, after a hearty Irish breakfast, we were having to cycle consistently uphill for the first 10 miles before we had the reward of an exhilarating long down hill. This was the theme of the day and I think to it is fair to say it was tough.

Again the scenery was idyllic – just so rural.

We made good overall progress during the morning as the slow up hills were well averaged out by the downs. We were at our lunch stop of Bandon just after mid day. We ate and refreshed at the Copper Grove and received a donation from the Landlady Trish which was both unexpected and generous.

We decide to have a second stop in the coastal resort of Timoleague, principally to avoid the busy N71 and to have ice creams. We got these in a little village store. Bliss.

Then the final climb of the day and a gentle downhill run in to Clonakilty itself. “Clon” is a  gem of a thriving and picturesque seaside town. This was an early finish for us at about 3.15pm.

Relive our ride here:

We were keen to watch the Belgium v England game and caught the action (not really much action) in the Fiddler bar. What an interesting place that was. Quote of the day: We asked a local Irishman how he was coping in the heatwave – ” I’ve never been sunburnt in all my life – nor my father before me”

After a snack we quickly sought out the infamous monkey statute of Tojo. What a strange and bizarre story. It goes:

“Tojo was the beloved monkey mascot and crew member of T’aint a Bird, an American Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. the bomber made an emergency landing at Clonakilty in 1943, on route from Morocco to England. Sadly, Tojo, who was on board the aircraft survived the crash for a few days but died due to the hospitality of the locals. He was given an Irish wake and also buried with full military honours”.

So, the challenge ends tomorrow. Another dry hot day as the heat wave continues. Following the finish we will be off to Cork for the night to celebrate.

Nenagh to Mallow

Another early start to try and avoid as much of the high temperatures as the heat wave continues. We were on the road by 8am but there was not the cloud cover we enjoyed the previous day.

Fortunately, we had taken a cross country route on very minor roads which meant we could put any shade to good use created by the hedgerows. We had some steep short hills to climb early on but this was more than compensated with some long fast descents. We had a wonderful views of the Silvermine mountains early into the ride.

Our ride was pretty uneventful. Shaun damaged one of his cleats so it was fortunate that Tim found a cycle shop in Kilmallock where we stopped for a picnic lunch in the shade followed by a cold drink at one of the town’s bars.

We had managed 47 miles by lunchtime which left us 18 miles for the final session in the hottest part of the day. Fortunately, we took a very direct route out of Kilmallock to Mallow which was predominately flat or downhill most of the way into town.

We finished the ride at 4pm. You can see it on Relive below:

After checking in at our hotel, we were fortunate the amazing concluding drama of the Korea v Germany World Cup group match. An extraordinary historic 2-0 win over Germany.

It had been another day of wonderful vistas and we also collected some small donations from a Canadian family and a local Dubliner who we chatted to in the Olde Fiddle in Spa Square. An atmospheric little bar renowned for live music in the town although sadly for us no music was being played that night.

Longford to Nenagh

Today was going to be a long ride and we were very conscious of the heat of the day which lay ahead. Officially this has been designated a hear wave in Ireland. So we took breakfast at 7am and we were, amazingly, on the road at 8am. It was cool and overcast when we set off and we were blessed with cloud cover until late morning.

We made good progress due to the generally flat terrain but our short cuts on very minor roads did throw in some unexpected sharp hills. The countryside has began to change. High hedges, boggy areas and land that looked less productive for man or beast. A new road hazard was encountered. Peat sausages which had fallen on the road during transportation.

Our lunch stop was Ferbane. A little town where we found a delightful roadside cafe for lunch followed by a picture postcard thatched bar. It was a relief to shelter from the heat of the day. Given the need to hydrate we decided to have another longer stop in the next town of Borrisokane.

Incident of the day: as we came into town Graham misjudged a dropped kerb and went over the handlebars to our great amusement. No real damage other than injured pride.

A number of folk took an interest in our ride not least the local butcher. He said they had not seen a heat wave like the current one since 1971. We asked why he wasn’t wearing shorts and he said there was never any call for them.

We them popped into the Yanks Inn. Caroline was a very friendly host and we had a good chat with her. She very generously made a contribution to our fundraise. Thank you Caroline – much appreciated.

We were left with about another 15 miles to Nenagh and it was sweltering. The ride in was helped by a generally flat and downhill run in into town We finished the day at 5pm having cycled 73 miles.

You can relive the ride below:

Another long day lies in store tomorrow and the heatwave is set to last until the end of the weekend.

Enniskillen to Longford

A shorter day resulted in a later start but to our surprise our ride route proved to be shorter than expected and we finished the ride at 3pm at which point the temperature was sizzling so we we glad to finish. So it turned out to be 48 miles all told.

We managed to pick our way through quiet country lanes with very scenic views as we seamlessly crossed the border back into Ireland. Many of the farmers we very active getting in the hay as we passed many a field being cut ready for bailing.

Our planned lunch stop at Cloone was in part a disaster as the bar/pub we had identified in advance was in fact closed. The other bar, McKeons, did not do food but it was a delight to chat with the owner Evelyn who in her youth emigrated to America and worked as a waitress in a bar in New York (she did not admit to working in a cocktail bar). She had returned to Ireland 38 years ago and had bought her bar. Business was not particularly good due to the reducing size of the village and the awful wet weather over the last two years. Even so, she seemed pretty philosophical about her situation.

So, feeling famished despite a good breakfast, we headed off to the next village Drumlish. But again, finding somewhere to eat or even buy a sandwich was like searching for the holy grail. By this time it was sweltering so the ice creams at the village store were a godsend. As was the signpost saying 11 km to Longford.

You can relive the ride below:

Longford was a much larger town than expected and was bustling. Our hotel, the Longford Arms, was much larger than expected and everyone we spoke with was very friendly and engaging.

Incident of the day: Sadly the Longford Arms was hosting a wake following the death of a local man called Raymond (“Razor”) Hackett. He was an extremely well liked and popular man who unexpectedly died of a heart attack at the tender age of 58. We were drawn into the wake (all appeared to be welcome in the bar) to hear some wonderful Irish music and singing in celebration of his life. We were unclear at the end as to whether he was called Razor because he was Ray or as one local explained – “he was very sharp – to be sure.” It was also tragic that he suffered his heart attack going up in a lift. We all toasted Razor who had lived life to the full, a talented footballer and musician who was admired, respected and loved by his many friends and close extended family.