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Fri Sep 16 2016: Learning Gaelic

Our trip out of the Inishowen Peninsula involves a lot of interior riding, through the urban area of Letterkenny. Not very picturesque, so not a lot of photos. But Letterkenny looks to be the last major city until we hit the very southern tip of Ireland, so it's all nice, uninterrupted coastal roads and quaint seaside villages from here on. Nice!

I'm on route-planning duties through the UK. Neda reminds me I have a British passport, so automatically that makes me the Ireland expert. I've never been here in my life. I think she's just lazy. Oh yeah, she also says, "I don't understand what anyone is saying here. You have to translate for me..."

Yep. Lazy.

From the map, I planned a route through Glenveagh National Park. But when we arrived at the gates, we discovered that the road on the map is really a hiking trail. No motorized vehicles allowed. So we have to backtrack all the way out and route around the park. That threw a monkey wrench in our plans, and with daylight slowly slipping away, we end up setting up camp somewhere north of the park, in a tiny village called Crolly.

There's a small convenience store nearby, so it's a typical tent and sandwich evening for us. A light drizzle accompanies us while we set up camp and eat, so we call it an early night, disappointed at the lack of sights today and the poor weather that accompanied it.


In the morning, we head out of Crolly, eager to see ride through some better scenery than the day before

The light drizzle from yesterday continues on today. Not optimal, but we've ridden through worse downpours before, so this is really not anything that bothers us too much. Once again, not many riding pictures, but this time because of the water pelting down on my camera lens.


Riding through County Donegal

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the lush green scenery that we're passing by. What with all the rain!


Neda is feeling a bit Sheepish about riding on through. She's thinking about making a Ewe-turn...

I Herd that animals will jump out in front of motorcycles with little to no warning. That could have serious Ramifications on a motorcycle. You're much safer in a car. Like a Lamborghini...


Dry dock

Neda picks up some snacks for us on the road. Literally.

She's always picking stuff off trees and bushes and feeding us. You'll never go hungry when she's around. The TV show Survivorman is pretty much about Neda's life.


Look! I ride a motorcycle too!

Neda is readying to make a pass on the twists and turns on the Wild Atlantic Way

On the western tip of County Donegal, we make a turn off the route towards Slieve League Cliffs

Slieve League has nothing to do with sports. It's the English approximation of the Irish name, Sliabh Liag. Yes, the "bh" is pronounced like a "V". Like the girl's name Siobhan is pronounced Shi-vawn. Oh yeah, the "Si" is pronounced "Sh"... Like Sinead O'Connor.

Everytime we pass a sign with an Irish name on it, I know I am totally mangling it when I read it in my head. I feel like a real Sithead.


Getting off the bikes and doing a bit of hiking towards the cliffs

Thin, cold, white clouds drift slowly across the peaks of Slieve League, the highest mountains in Ireland.

These mountains plunge dramatically into the Atlantic Ocean. This is the typical place where everyone takes a picture of the cliffs. The name of this spot is called Bunglass. I'm not sure how you pronounce that in Gaelic... But it accurately describes how I feel after many hours of riding.


I'm standing up on the pegs because... Bunglass

Sip

Stay baaaa-ck, human!

The nice twisty road that got us to Slieve League, which we have to take to get back out again

Punching in our next stop in the GPS

The sun is starting to make a late afternoon appearance, and it's just another couple of hours south to our final destination of the day.

Someone told us about this hippy town called Sligo, famous for being the place where the poet W.B. Yeats spent his childhood summers. This town and the surround areas figure prominently in his poems and prose.


Checking into the campsite on Strandhill, about 15 minutes outside of Sligo

The grounds of our campsite. No Hurling! :(

Covering up the bikes for the day. Very windy! At least our stuff will dry quickly. If it doesn't get blown away!

Neda makes us dinner! All those ingredients in front of her, she picked them off a bush nearby... Survivorman.

Our campsite is right on the coast, with an amazing view of Ben Bulbin mountain in the backdrop. Is it actually spelled Ben Bulbin in Gaelic? Nope. Binn Ghulbain. Whut? "B" is a "B", but so is "Gh"?!?

I feel like someone is playing a trick on us. Been Ghullible? Yes.


About 100 metres away, the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crash on Strandhill beach. Beautiful!

That night, the temperatures dip down to single digits. We shiver in our sleeping bags with the sound of the tent flapping all around us in the strong wind. It feels like the tent is going to rip itself off the stakes and fly away to Oz. We've been getting so many hints that it's almost time to wrap up riding in the British Isles. At least it's not raining.

But the next morning it's much calmer, and we wake up to more of the glorious sunshine that the previous day left us. So after a lazy morning in the sheltered (and heated!) common area, catching up on some Internet and TV shows...


...we head out to Sligo for a drink and a bite to eat.

Downtown Sligo

Street musicians busking on the streets of Sligo

We find a pub and order... Guinness! We love Guinness!!!

In the booth next to us, some musicians are practicing some jigs

Pubs. Guinness. Jigs.

You can't get any more Irish than this!

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