In Memory of Barbara Ann Dodds: Days 1-3

Day 1 - Arriving in Dublin

I packed my bags and flew to Dublin, Ireland to ride around the country in memory of my mom, who passed away last year. I assumed it would be green, I would get rained on, I would drink beer, eat stew and converse with many strangers. I DID!

Highlights:

  • Forgetting that flight attendants don't speak Dutch once you board an Aer Lingus flight...only Gaelic and English

  • Finding my way to the first Dance Monument with relative ease before sunset to take photos

 Observations:

  • Look both ways until you are conditioned to walking, driving, bicycling on the "other" side of the street

Managed to fit everything in these, then on my bicycle in 2 panniers

Managed to fit everything in these, then on my bicycle in 2 panniers

At UCD, I walked here just before sunset, "Wind and Water" representing harmony, more info here

At UCD, I walked here just before sunset, "Wind and Water" representing harmony, more info here

As soon as you get your passport stamped in Ireland you see this

As soon as you get your passport stamped in Ireland you see this

"Dance your way through life with happiness" - Barbara Dodds

"Dance your way through life with happiness" - Barbara Dodds

DAY 2 - Dublin to Dundalk via New Grange

I made it from Dublin to the New Grange Neolithic monument and then to Dundalk on day one. Long day, but worth it. I did well over 100km due to getting lost and was out for about 9 hours. Cycling in Ireland is challenging and a real adventure. This day was good for getting a feel for riding on the other side of the road and figuring out my distances with the weight of my gear in the panniers. I was thinking of my mom and my family heritage as I was riding here. The people are amazing and I had so many great interactions with people I can't even count them. The one that stood out most was a local woman named Susan bicycle commuting to work who gave me her neon vest at a red light after I briefly told her my story. She insisted I have it so I tied it on my panniers and left it on the entire ride. Dublin has an excellent cycling culture.

 Highlights:

  • My rental bicycle that I pre-booked turned out to be a brand new, Giant Escape 3 with everything I needed. Perfect weather this day.

  • New Grange Neolithic Monument

 Observations:

  • Riding a heavy touring bicycle setup in traffic congested Monday morning Dublin is "interesting"...

 

Giant Escape 3 rented in Dublin and never ridden before! I added my own clipless pedals and panniers....and the "engine" of course!

Giant Escape 3 rented in Dublin and never ridden before! I added my own clipless pedals and panniers....and the "engine" of course!

Somewhat nervous but excited to begin my adventure

Somewhat nervous but excited to begin my adventure

Bicycle lanes in Dublin could be summed up by this image

Bicycle lanes in Dublin could be summed up by this image

"The Velvet Strand" beach on the way out of Dublin and the Irish Sea.

"The Velvet Strand" beach on the way out of Dublin and the Irish Sea.

About an hour out of Dublin I started feeling more at ease, finally away from the traffic of the city...I found a different kind of traffic!

About an hour out of Dublin I started feeling more at ease, finally away from the traffic of the city...I found a different kind of traffic!

Made it to New Grange after about 4 hours of riding and getting lost a few times

Made it to New Grange after about 4 hours of riding and getting lost a few times

New Grange

New Grange

Positive Energy, still in one piece and great weather

Positive Energy, still in one piece and great weather

New Grange

New Grange

New Grange

New Grange

Made it to Dundalk around 7 pm making this a solid 10 hour day, with 8 hours of riding. There were 3 beds for some reason, and I ate lots of pizza here.

Made it to Dundalk around 7 pm making this a solid 10 hour day, with 8 hours of riding. There were 3 beds for some reason, and I ate lots of pizza here.

YES! PIZZA! KEBAB PIZZA!

YES! PIZZA! KEBAB PIZZA!

DAY 3 – Dundalk to Armagh

I had great, quiet, cool, windy and dry ride from Dundalk for a couple hours and found a Neolithic Monument and beautiful scenery. A heavy rain hit and I decided to just move on through it for a couple hours hoping it would stop but it did not. I stopped in the town of Armagh, which is in Northern Ireland, so I got some UK pounds, rented room, and got dry. Then I found an Irish pub with no tourists. I couldn't really understand anyone, but we were all best friends and drunk in a short while! No pictures in there because this was too perfect for cell phones and Instagram. Afterwards I got my usual pizza fuel!

Highlights:

  • Figuring out how to plan routes through the countryside using maps and luck

  • The Ballykeel Portal/Tomb

  • Drinking my first real Guinness

 Observations:

  • I should have purchased shoe covers as I could have ridden longer with dry feet even if soaked everywhere else

The Ballykeel Dolmen, I stopped every time I saw something ancient. Such a feeling to be out here alone to have thoughts to yourself in these places.

The Ballykeel Dolmen, I stopped every time I saw something ancient. Such a feeling to be out here alone to have thoughts to yourself in these places.

Sometimes it got muddy!

Sometimes it got muddy!

I tried to meet new cows daily...success!

I tried to meet new cows daily...success!

I took a break in the town of Forkhill to figure out my directions and found a donkey friend

I took a break in the town of Forkhill to figure out my directions and found a donkey friend

Brilliant ride...but SOAKED! Happy to stop in Armagh for Guinness, Pizza and a warm room!

Brilliant ride...but SOAKED! Happy to stop in Armagh for Guinness, Pizza and a warm room!

HAWAIIAN PIZZA!

HAWAIIAN PIZZA!

Thank you for following me during the ride on Facebook and Twitter, I hope you enjoy these recaps!

The post for Days 4-6 will be up in the next few days.

~ Brian