Mayan Prophecy Countdown
Well, it looked dry outside today, overcast but not too cold, so I was soon on the road and heading to Blarney, check out the road signs, anyone would think I was in a foreign country!
I happened to spot a couple of caches that popped up onto my GPS, both within a few kms of each other, one called Swan Lake where a family was setting out to chase some trout in the lake, these were stocked fish not wild, the cache was easy to find and I hope they got lunch :)
The next was in a graveyard and I had to follow some clues in the description to find this one :)
It’s in a graveyard next to a big yellow building.
Clues to find the cache after you enter the graveyard
1.Find these headstones: James Sweeney (This headstone is knocked over) and John and Kate O’Brien. In between these.
2. By the end of a sword (riddle)
3. Inside a hole, behind a rock, find it soon, tick-tock tick-tock
4. It’s a small orange and blue container
Once I found the specified headstones, it was a doddle and I came away with the goods :)
Back on the road and it started to rain, not heavy but steady and annoying. I stopped for fuel and also for this weird tower by the roadside. The tower was old, as you can tell, but that thing on top was modern artwork, a bit like that tree I saw yesterday, it would have taken some effort to get that up there, it was about 10m up!
Then I arrived at Blarney and was soon parked up, locked all my gear away and bought a ticket to see the Blarney Castle, and of course the Blarney Stone, which happened to be right at the top of the castle!!
If the rain was not so persistent I would have made a gone to check out the poison garden and a few other things around, but I decided bugger it, lets check out the castle and get moving. The climb to the top of the castle was a very tight,steep, narrow corkscrew stairway, then a wait in the queue. I had arranged with the chap behind me to use my camera to take a picture, which he did, but forgot to tell him how to hold it so the pictures turned out crap. In the end I bought one of the ones the professionals take, they have the best position anyway. The kissing was done and apparently, even though my eloquence and prose is above reproach, it will get better from now on ;)
So, the actual stone is the small grey slab at the bottom of the black vertical bars, you have to lie on you back, grip the bars, lean back with your head down the hole and kiss the stone upside down!!! And if you have an issue with germs and bugs and stuff, well the rain was heavy enough to wash them away I reckon!
As you can see, there is a chap who stops you falling down the hole, it is a long way down!! Well, that was it for me, time to hit the road, my next goal was to go and see what Kerry’s Ring was all about. It did not look good though, the rain showers got heavier and after some time riding through the narrow winding roads, I eventually stopped at a place for some hot food. There were some nice views on the way, when I could see them, but I was becoming depressed, it was not fun any more, everywhere I go is bloody rain. I had been on the road for over 9 weeks and it has been raining for 7 of them, with from memory, about 7 days of sunshine. I had been warned about the European wet, but that is different to experiencing it, imagination is not the same :( I was now into July, my Russian visa had started to count down and could not be moved, so every day I spent here in the rain, I could not ride in Russia, so maybe coming here was a mistake! I met some bikers(pushies) at the food stop(they did not have hot food on Sundays, go figure!) and there we chatted for a while and what they said nearly made me make my mind up. Basically, the rain has set in and would not clear up until Wednesday, or Thursday. When I mentioned the Ring of Kerry, they said, you won’t see a thing and it is always wet down there, but with this fog and mist, it will just be slow riding and crap traffic and not worth the risk. Thanks for the tip chaps, nice to have met you :)
So, I kept on going anyway, as there was really only one road and I would make my mind up later. I was still in need of food and found it up the road a ways in a very touristy town called Kenmare, here I met a shiela from Bundy, she was married to an Irish chap and had been here a long time. Nice to have met up with you. While here I asked about the weather and was told the same thing, rain for days yet, so it was now I made my decision to cut this trip here short. If I could not see anything it was not worth the risk of riding on winding slippery roads with all the slow tourists, so now I needed to head up north and basically go find a ferry and work out a way to get to Russia. I still had to ride through Kilarney National Park which could have been so much fun, but this is what I had to put up with.
Ass you can see it is a white out and the views are non existent. It took me ages to get out of the slow roads and onto the fast ones. Once my mind is made up, that is it, and all I really needed to do was head north and to the coast. As I was riding along listening to my music, a song came on and it probably came on in the nick of time, before I felt too sorry for myself. Monty Python were singing Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, what great timing :) So, a couple of good things to think about while riding in the rain.
1. I was nice and dry in my new riding gear
2. I was not working
3. I am on a bike in a foreign country
Here is a funny thing(funny stupid I mean), check out the GPS choices. I wanted to select Belfast as my destination, so I did that and was given a choice, now check out the first choice on the list. Here I am in Ireland, the first choice is Belfast in New Zealand which is nearly 19,000kms away, second choice is Belfast Northern Ireland, WTF and third choice is South Africa, a mere 9,500km away, sometimes I shake my head in amazement!!!
So, later in the afternoon I was getting close to a town called Tullamore, famous for its early morning water on the grass, but as I was riding through a small town called Birr, I thought this place looks nice, there were a few pubs, some food shops and some B&B’s. I ended up finding a nice bed with backyard parking for the night and wandered down to one of the pubs called the Sunrise Inn, for a drink and maybe some tucker . Well, what a great choice, I had a nice meal and a few beers, watched the soccer final, Italy got trounced 4 nil, sorry about that Marta, and met some great people. They speak wonderful Irish down here and I had to listen real hard to understand some of them :)
Ken on the extreme right was born and raised here and he had the broadest accent, along with another total local, Debbie who was our server for the evening :) She is on the right of course in this picture and just after is a small video of Ken telling me a story, this only goes for 30 seconds I had to listen hard for hours, but there were some great stories “)
Lets just say that for some reason the Irish don’t mind a drop or two, they made me feel extremely welcome and we had a great time until the wee hours, about 3am I think I staggered home to my bed!!! Nice to have met you all, one of the most relaxing evenings on my trip, I really enjoyed it and the Blarney Stone stuff must be true, I was exceptionally eloquent tonight ;)
Cheers from Birr, Ireland