I know it’s only been a few days, but I intend to write these reports every Sunday.
day 1: Cork to Adare
I left Cork early on Wednesday. It was drizzling all morning, as if Cork was sad and crying for my departure. I was also sad, but, at the same time, I was excited about what was coming.
I had cycled to Limerick, and back, several times before, so I took my time and covered the nearly 92km in just shy of five hours.
I wanted to make the most of the afternoon in Adare with my friend Gayle and her children. We spend the whole afternoon doing things, like going to the park, collecting sticks and tree crust for my fires, having dinner and playing uno. I also showed the boys the route I was planning to do on their map.
day 2: Adare – Portumna forest park
I left in the morning after a good and nutritious breakfast.
I want to avoid cities as much as I can, but I had to go through Limerick, which wasn’t too busy after all.
I met my first fellow touring cyclist right after leaving the city. It was nice to see another “crazy” person on the road. I know I’m not the only one doing this. I’m not special in any way, but it’s reassuring to see that other people have also embarked in an adventure on two wheels.
When I was approaching Nenagh, another cyclist, this one wearing all his racing gear and riding a fancy racer, stood by my side and recommended me to go to Garrykennedy. ‘There’s a beautiful small harbour from where you can see Lough Derby’ he said. So I took a detour and headed there (you can see some photos I took there on the video bellow.)
I wanted to get to Portumna because Gayle had told me there was a lovely forest by the lake. So, even though I had planned to start easy the first few days, I ended up cycling more than 122km today.
I found a quiet and hidden spot in the forest, just by the shore of the lake, and pitched my tent for the first time during this journey. I cooked some rice and ate it looking at the water. Then went to bed, actually, my sleeping bag.
day 3: Portumna Forest Park – Rosscommon Castle Gardens
I slept very well and woke up late. It’s a great feeling not having to set up the alarm and waking up whenever your body decides it has had enough sleep.
I met the first person who asked me where I’m coming from and where I’m going to. It was a young lad to whom I asked for water in a corner shop in Laurencetown.
Unfortunately, as I was eager to find some water and wasn’t probably paying enough attention to the signs, I missed a turn and ended up doing some 15 extra kilometres in a loop that took me back to the same town.
It had been raining in the morning and quite windy in the afternoon and I didn’t see the sun the whole day. So, when I arrived to Rosscommon and found a spot in the Castle Gardens, I had to change my clothes and hang my cycling gear to dry. I had bought several items of clothing made with Merino wool and I could feel the warmth the moment I put them on.
Once I pitched the tent and made sure it was hidden enough, I decided to go back to the town to buy some food. After dinner I relaxed and read for a while before going to sleep.
day 4: Rosscommon Castle Gardens – Cleveragh Regional Park
I started in the main road, but then took secondary roads as much as I could. I want to avoid heavy and fast traffic as much as possible.
I cycled besides a few lakes today. First, Lough Key, which had a cycle lane and a forest park with trails and bike lanes. Then, Lough Arrow, where I had a snack by the pier. Finally, in Sligo, Lough Gill, near the Regional Park where I stayed the night.
It was a good day on the bike, a few hills but not too hard. Except for scattered showers that forced me to changed clothes constantly and the side wind that made it a bit harder, which is why it took me nearly six hours to cover 106km.
day 5: Cleveragh Regional Park – Bellek
I had a very silly morning today. First, I lost a sock and almost an overshoe while drying them on a wall. Then, a shower soaked me suddenly when I was almost ready to go. On top of all that, I didn’t seem to know which way to go and couldn’t find my way out of Sligo. So, I moved very slowly the first couple of hours.
Today I saw an EV1 sign for the first time and decided to follow the route. I had been doing a lot of research in the last couple of months about which way to go or what route to follow. I found out that there’s a network of cycling routes all around Europe called Eurovelo. That’s what I intend to follow most of the time. I’ll write more about it in a future post.
In spite of that, though, I decided to take a detour to see Glencar Waterfall and lake (pictures on the video bellow.)
After yet another shower, when I had just made 100km today, I stopped and asked for water in a petrol station. I stayed in a shelter for a while until the rain stopped.
A short while later, I found a small fenced area with hay bales stored and decided to camp there for the night. It took me a while to get the fire started, but managed in the end.