Nice simple day today. We’ve had a little taste of Ireland with much more to come.
Breakfast at Cnoc Breac is the full Irish variety, you know with sausage, black pudding, bacon, and ham, tomatos, and soda bread. It’s great but a bit too much for either of us to finish. Add in juice, coffee, yogurt, and cereals and we’re stuffed. The ferry doesn’t leave until 1130 so we take plenty of time.
We mill around for a while trying in vain to find the path to the little beach behind the house, but instead end up talking to some sheep.
Onward to the ferry. There are several carparks in town and we choose a grassy private one for 3€ per day. It’s another hour or so for the ferry to leave so we meander around the dock while an assortment of hikers and birdwatchers and families congregate.
Off to Inishbofin, a 1 hour trip. We always love a ferry ride (even if it is one too far). Pretty good rain on the way but it clears up nicely on arrival.
A van is waiting to take our bags while we rent bikes. The bike rental guy has a great gig. Half an hour’s work each day and he takes in a hundred or two euro. It’s rush hour and he’s expertly dispensing bikes and making mechanical adjustments for a dozen patrons at once.
Its only a km to our hotel but Linda is already sensing discomfort with her bike. This time she’s gone manual (not an ebike), hmmm, we’ll see how it goes.
Check in, then off we go on the bikes seeking lunch. The Beach Days Bar is our quest for Guinness, seafood chowder, and oysters. Got to love the seafood here!
We decide to explore the east end loop (Cloonamore Loop) since it’s the most paved. A short killer hill starts us off from the restaurant, but the riding is great with practically zero traffic.
Soon enough we do encounter about 12 cars parked, blocking the single lane road. What? It’s a funeral in progress down the hill inside the cemetary. What is remarkable (for us Yanks anyway) is the sight of 15 men in a circle vigorously shovelling soil in to the gravesite for many minutes. We dismount and, as respectfully as possible, slowly pass the cars on foot. No photos, of course, out of respect.
Around ___ beach and up the hill, then on foot for a km or so. Beautiful stark green landscape, with peat bogs and ponds and rocks. A few places look perfect for a par 4.
Back on the bikes for a return to the Doonmore Hotel, then a pedal to the north side of the island. Linda’s bike is bothering her plenty. I think it may be too big for her. Time to turn them in, so we backtrack to the bike shed. No one there – we just leave them. Nice the way things work on an island.
A km hike back to the hotel which is just fine because this island seems perfect for walking.
Linda has set up an 8pm dinner in the bar. There is an England vs Ireland rugby match on the TV that has captivated much of the bar. We work hard trying to figure out the game, seemingly a blend between American football and hockey maybe. Ireland wins the game with two clutch goals at the end, bringing smiles all around.
Dinnertime brings a pile of crab claws and a cod cake. Both are laden with cooked seaweed that it very tasty. We do our best to nibble slowly in. Order to stake claim to our seats until 930pm. Pretty soon the bar is completely full with some patrons standing, waiting for tonight’s entertainment.
Irish music! Lucky for us to be here on a rare Tuesday in June with a group playing. There are 2 string players, an accordian, a flute, and a fife. The sound is wonderful, mesmerizing, enchanting. There is a mix of traditional Irish craics and bluesy Southern ballads, with several of the players occasionally singing. We later learn that 3 of these musicians played a summer at Disneyworld in Florida. Incredibly good.
Alas, bedtime for us over-the-hillers, and we must reluctantly give up our seats.