Garry’s fourth outing of the year took him to Ireland; this was Garry’s third attempt to cycle Ireland, with his first two attempts ending in failure!
It’s now July 2019 and Garry’s still waiting to go into hospital for his hip operation.
But once again, because of his hip, he didn’t want to go too far, and after having already been to France twice this year, decided it would be a good idea to head off to Ireland. And try third time lucky to cycle Ireland!
His first attempt in August 2009, saw him reach Galway before bad weather forced Garry to give up!
His second attempt the following year in 2010 also failed! Garry had cycled up through Wales and caught the ferry to Dublin, but then ended up in the local hospital with a problem with his legs. After tests and examinations, their advice was to rest for a week or two and stay off the bike! So rather than sit around in a hotel Garry decided to return home!
Not feeling particularly good at the time, and now back on steroids, Garry thought, that rather than go direct to Ireland it would be a good idea to cycle up through England and Wales. That way if he didn’t feel well, he could always jump on a train and get back home relatively easily.
No fear though Garry felt fine and was soon back in the swing of life on the road, and reached Fishguard in Wales in four days.
Once in Fishguard Garry caught the overnight ferry to Ireland, arriving in Rosslare at 4 am!
Republic of Ireland
After having very little sleep Garry had planned on having a short day, on his first day in Ireland, but that wasn’t to be! Garry found himself following the Norman Way, a heritage trail that followed the medieval sites in county Wexford. Garry was enjoying himself so much exploring the various medieval sites, that he didn’t stop until late and had cycled 50-miles.
The following day Garry found more great routes, firstly the Copper Coast, which is a UNESCO Global Geopark, then a Greenway, that ran from Waterford to Dungarvan.
On reaching Dungarvan, Garry had a major problem when his saddle broke! Luckily for Garry, Dungarvan being at the end of the Greenway, there was plenty of cycle shops, and it wasn’t long before he was back on the road.
Now heading up the West coast of Ireland, the weather changed, from hot sunny days to wet and windy days! But nothing as bad as Garry’s previous visit here.
After cycling up the West coast, Garry crossed into Northern Ireland, where things felt a little different! Garry couldn’t put his finger on quite why, but it didn’t feel as relaxed as the Republic of Ireland had, although everybody Garry met was just as friendly!
It was in Northern Ireland that Garry picked up a strong headwind, which would remain with him for the rest of his time in Ireland!
Garry had intended to cycle back to Rosslare and get a ferry to France and then another ferry to England, where it would then be a short 30-mile cycle ride home. But with his saddle broken and in need of repair, (he’d been carrying it in his bags all the way around Ireland) he decided to catch a ferry from Dublin across to Holyhead and cycle home via Birmingham, where he could get his saddle repaired.
Back in the UK
Arriving in Holyhead in the evening, Garry stayed local, before beginning his ride home through North Wales the following day.
Garry managed to find another great route, this time he was following route 5 of the National cycle network, which was largely on traffic-free trails. Out of Wales Garry entered England at Chester a very picturesque city with plenty of history.
After Chester, it was onto Birmingham and Brooks Saddles to get his saddle fixed, which once Garry had found the factory took less than five minutes to fix! After re-fitting his Brooks saddle back on to his bike, Garry set about finding his way out of Birmingham, which was as easy as it was to get in! Birmingham is crisscrossed by a myriad of canals dating back to the 1700s with many of them now having cycle paths alongside.
After Birmingham it was only a two day ride back home but not before passing through Stratford on Avon, Oxford and the South Downs national park, to name a few. Garry enjoyed the ride back home through Wales and England just as much as he had enjoyed Ireland.
All in all, a good tour with Garry managing to find some great cycle routes in all three countries! It was also very good for Garry, being able to get back on the bike and cover a good distance, the first time in three years!
Total miles cycled 1355-miles.