I love Ireland, it’s beautiful..
While reading about Ireland in tourist guides, I thought- I love Ireland, it is beautiful! Green colors, charming rain for which Irish don't even think about umbrellas, sheep and cows... Great country for motorcycling... Right away after exiting the ferry, my thoughts were still the same, despite light showers that welcomed us. In about 5 miles we were already wet and not in the country for 10 minutes... Ok, we're stopping at the first supermarket i thought. At that time I saw a cow on the road... and then came another, and 10 more followed... Man; it is raining, we're all wet, and we cannot pass due to 'cow attack' across the road... Damn those cows and that rain isn't that charming at all! I hate Ireland, that stupid rain keeps fallin’ and I know I saw people laughing at us in the car that passed by... Hey, but let's go from the beginning!
Starting the mototrip from Croatia
We started riding up north from Croatia one day after expected (my girlfriend had to think of a way how to put as much luggage as she can in the cases.. it usually takes her one afternoon to do that but this time she over calculated herself…) Actually this first and the second day of riding were pretty boring, cause we had to be in Calais (north of France) in 2 days, so we took the highway all the time.. In two days we did 1000 miles and made it to the ferry Calais- Dover (UK). Expressly we drove around London, through Wales continuing to the ferry to Ireland (Pembroke- Rosslare).
Getting on ‘The Island’
I must admit, the real journey starts here. I just wrote that first part so you can be bored as we were during our first two days dragging along the highway :)
Ah, Ireland. After the ‘incident’ described at the beginning, we heated and dried ourselves in the Tesco supermarket (‘cultish’ kind of supermarket chains, we called it ‘our new Mum’ cause there is always something delicious to find there). The rain stopped so we continued towards Kilkenny.. Narrow colorful streets, massive stone houses and rich history impressed us.. We explored the city center and the famous castle Kilkenny, which proudly stands above the river Nora.
You think that’s cloudy? No… :)
We continued riding towards city Cashel, famous of the Rock of Cashel castle. Definitely a place to visit if you’re on the way.
We ended the day somewhere around the town Midleton; a place to visit if you’re a whiskey fan.. The biggest whiskey distillery, even bigger than Jameson’s in Dublin, is located there… I won’t say a thing, only that we slept like babies that night :)
Next day we visited Cork, second biggest city in Ireland. Again a beautiful city, big but actually small, with nice charisma. Stays in our memories for sure. Also, we discovered something brilliant there. A store called ‘Penney’s’. Oh my God what a place, it is a true paradise for shopping maniacs (naturally, like all women, my girlfriend is among ‘em). When I saw her standing at the cashier’s line, holding at least five big cases filled with clothes, I thought she’s crazy.. Then started our first fight (not in life, my god, in last 10 minutes :) ). She now hates travelling with motorcycle because there is not enough room for her souvenirs... yeah like bra is a souvenir :) I’m sure you guys know what I’m talking about..
We continued riding like planned (but not ‘through rain’ planned) and arrived in Kilarney. There is no better feeling than ringing the bell at the B&B, wet to the bone, waiting for the owners to say ‘No vacancies’. Hehe…
‘Ring of Kerry’ route
Next day… a delight. The famous Ring of Kerry... one of top routes on the island. Scenery is superb, riding ‘hell yeah’ good and feeling therefore to remember.. I’ll let the pictures talk..
We adore picnics.. We actually have a stove in the topcase, and to start a picnic here is priceless… Enjoyed a lot that day.. It is one of those ‘I love Ireland’ days :)
After settling again in Kilarney for today, we decided to hit the pubs. Guinness is a ‘must’ of course.. We were surprised, although it is Monday, the pubs are crowded with tourists and locals having fun... A great place indeed!
Next day we spent around Dingle Peninsula, and the weather was typical… Irish.. Although the scenery there is beautiful, worth actually visiting again in sunny days, we were a little disappointed due to the rain..
Visited excellent aqua park on the way..
Penney’s hits us again
Next day we started from Limerick. We stopped in McDonalds for breakfast. My girlfriend Ana says it is better than Burger King.. What a mistake :) Never mind that, when we sat at the table, through the window she saw something she shouldn’t have.. The biggest Penney’s ever! Oh no.. She was like a dog released from the leash (she’ll kill me when she sees this :) )... But, I also made a big mistake there.. I climbed up to the Men’s department.. Suddenly a Carrie Bradshaw feeling inside me.. I bought 3 sweaters and one jacket (yes, a jacket) and actually got out of the Penney’s with a bigger bag than Ana... Even now I don’t quite realize what happened :) But there is sooo many nice clothes.. :)
Next, Bunratty Castle..
Didn’t stayed there too long, ‘cause today was the day for the Cliffs of Moher.. Beautiful… Natural.. Peaceful.. definitely worth visiting.. The cliffs rise 390 ft above the Atlantic Ocean and after eight kilometers, reach their maximum height of 702 ft.. Stunning.
Next day we did a little horseback riding along the cliffs..
…and some more riding…
Kylemore Abbey, Carrigan Head, Giant’s Causeway
Next plan was to make it to famous Kylemore Abbey; but the rain was that strong that we stayed in a B&B a few miles before.. Since my boots were completely wet inside, I left them to dry on the radiator. Not recommended I must say. In the morning, I grabbed the boot, and the sole of the boot stayed on the radiator.. Man, a duct tape did a great job decorating my boot and holding it together :)
On our way towards Giant's Causeway, we’ve heard of Carrigan Head, also very high cliffs, even higher than Cliffs of Moher!
We ended the day in Belfast, and next day was meant for exploring the city.
In the late afternoon we started riding to Dublin, where we settled in great Isaacs hostel, very close to the center. Two words- Temple Bar :)
Dublin next day, not too early in the morning :)
Getting to London…
‘Rain forced ‘ we got on the ferry to UK from Dublin and headed towards London, got there in the evening..
London next day..
From the morning, the goal is to reach Croatia as close as possible. BUT; 2 days ago, when we entered London, my bike was on the reserve with petrol.. I thought, maybe it is better to get out of the city first and then refuel the bike on the highway.. We reached the highway, but no petrol station was ahead.. We drove for around 20 miles, driving 60mph, saving the fuel.. But of course, we ran out of it.. On the highway! Man, just what I needed.. Had to walk for 2 miles, across the fence, some bridge into the small city nearby.. Then, I realized I only have coins left, so I bought only 2.5 liters (around 0.6 gallons).. The bike started and luckily we managed to get to the gas station at last.. Missed two or three ferries, we came to Calais late in the afternoon, so next day we had to drive 1320km (820 miles) to Croatia.. We came home exhausted but thrilled with our adventure…
At the end, I must say, Ireland is a beautiful destination, definitely recommended and on my top list.. Brilliant nature, views, roads and most of all, Irish hospitality, is worth all the trip, even in case of partly bad weather.. Now that some time has passed, I forgot all about the rain, wet gear and my boots, and remember only the sun!