Ireland Tree

Hi all!

Hope you had a relaxing and safe Easter.  Bruce and I spent Easter on the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.  Irish friends Jan and Joe, from Dublin were already planning to visit the Aran Islands and we just happened to be in the area so met up with them for an especially enjoyable 4 days of easy cycling, wonderful cliff walks

Aran Islands - Inishmore Island - Dun Aonghasa - Round Fort on a Cliff

Aran Islands - Inishmore Island - Dun Aonghasa - Round Fort on a Cliff

, dinners out and lots of relaxing, socialising and superb Irish music. It was great to be off the mainland, missing the busier roads for the Easter holidays and have a well earnt break in our cycle trip.

We have successfully cycled some 1500km around southern Ireland in the last 4 weeks – literally halfway around the coast of Ireland. So our plan is to try and cycle the northern half of Ireland in the next 5 weeks before returning to Australia in early June for the opening of the ski season.

The highlights of our cycle are endless with loads of historic buildings especially churches and abbeys built thousands of years ago (not 200 years as in Australia)

Aran Islands Inishmore Island - Rainwater collecting and storage stone device and lighthouse buildings

Aran Islands Inishmore Island - Rainwater collecting and storage stone device and lighthouse buildings

, patient and respectful motorists, beautiful coastal scenery with roads following the coast for kilometre after kilometre and friendly encounters with Irish people who all have a relative or friend in Australia.

Yesterday we cycled around Ireland’s only fjord and if that wasn’t spectacular enough, the scenery only got better with treeless mountains and wide valleys  just like near Kiandra in the Snowy Mountains, abutting huge freshwater lakes with the coast only a couple of kilometres away.

Today Bruce went geocaching whilst I climbed the “Irish holy mountain”- Croagh Patrick, which rises 764 metres straight out of the ocean.  The mountain named after St Patrick, where he spent 40 days fasting and banished snakes from Ireland in 441AD. (He must of sent them to Australia!)  A hundred thousand ‘pilgrims’ climb the mountain every year which is hard to believe as it is a difficult steep rocky track full of loose boulders. The ascent is hard on the breathing and the feet, but the descent is even trickier because of all the loose rocks on the steep track.  It’s not a wilderness climb as there were at least 600 other people on the mountain and when I reached the summit, mass in the mountain top church was in progress. An amazing experience!

We keep thinking we’ve seen the best view but every day we seem to be rewarded with even more beautiful places to picnic and admire.

I am going to let the photos tell the rest of the story……………………… oh yeah, and green everywhere with lots of happy sheep and cattle.

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About brucemarg

Worldloppet Cross Country Skiers
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