Monday, October 17, 2005

Boston to Shannon to Ennis to Doolin

My brother Greg and I flew overnight from Boston to Shannon Ireland, arriving at 8 am, just as the sun was coming up. We took a bus to Ennis, the principal city of County Clare, and rented a couple of bikes from Tierney's on Abbey St. Noel Tierney was kind enough to "pint out" the best route to Doolin, on the West Coast just north of the Cliffs of Moher (a.k.a. the Cliffs of Mohair).

The bikes are servicable, by which I mean that they are able to be serviced -- by Greg, to his mild consternation. Just north of Ennis my chain slipped off the front crank; Greg adjusted the derailleur and we were on our way. We cycled west through Inagh, Ennistymon, Lahinch, Liscannor and then turned north towards Doolin, making a brief stop at a windswept Cliffs of Moher. After a short coast into Doolin we checked in at Paddy's Hostel and then walked over to Gus O'Connor's Pub.

A local Gaelic Football club (15 players to a side) was celebrating their first championship in 60 years. They won the tournament yesterday; this was day two of the celebration process. Just after we arrived a guitar player and a flute player arrived. The football players sang along with just about every song with gusto. After an hour or so one of the footballers walked around with the league trophy, a silver jug filled with Bulmer's cider. We all had a swig from the trophy.

After a sleepless night on the plane, and after a Guinness, a Murphy's, a Bulmer's, and a Carlsberg at Gus O'Connor's, the sandman beckoned so we shuffled back up the street to the hostel and fell asleep. In our dorm room with us was another cyclist, Basil from Switzerland.

This morning, after another bike maintenance session, we had breakfast in Doolin and will now set out across The Burren. Our goal for today is Kinvara, which is south of Galway.

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