Conor Pass to Tralee - Just For The Craic - CycleBlaze

August 5, 2009

Conor Pass to Tralee

The Dingle Peninsula is another tourism hot-spot. The loop around it is busy with coaches and cars and riding along the narrow road worrying about all that passing traffic is not something that gets us excited, so we opt to get a bus and skip it, buying tickets to zip along its southern coastline to the fishing town of Dingle itself.

Lunch in Dingle is stuff bought from a central supermarket, which we have as a picnic right on the street. Later we check out some charity shops, but buy nothing, then set off, riding northeast-ish, inland, along what is Ireland's highest road.

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It peaks at Conor Pass and it isn't too busy and our pace is steady with the wind behind us. It's actually bit of a gale and the handful of cyclists coming down towards us are having to pedal, bless 'em. 

Clouds gather overhead. The higher we climb the worse the skies get and once at the very top, it is really gusting and trying to rain. Our jackets are pulled out and zipped on and then off we go, the views more gorgeous and quite panoramic to our left, with rocky slopes looming up on our right. 

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It's a very fast descent but I pull over to see a waterfall and admire the sight of the distant hills that briefly appear as low clouds waft by.

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The narrow loop-road we eventually T into at the bottom is busy and we can't find an escape route. The good news is the sun comes out. And there's no wind. Hard to believe, but that's Ireland for you.

Needing to take a leak, I stop at a rusty gate to a large field with a few sheep in and once over and on the muddy grass I see two standing stones by the tall hedgerow. Just like that. I get my camera from Debbie, take a snap and we then continue riding eastwards, looking over to the distant shoreline that I thought this road would cling to.

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I wonder if there's another route, but seriously doubt it; the sea is a good way off; cul-de-sac lanes lead to beaches, which one old cast iron sign says is 'Tra'. There's no stopping for a paddle; instead we decide to simply press on towards Tralee, which perhaps means 'beach-something' and which is hopefully a place where we will be able to find a room for the night.

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It's quite hot now and the sky is clear. 

We pass a pub with a CTC sign above the door, fixed next to an old Guinness one. The combo is tempting us to go in. We don't. 

Later we see a windmill, then ride along a lane that takes us into Tralee, a town with some fine Georgian buildings, and we get a room in one of them that is now a hotel. 

All the front doors of the old houses look fine, paneled and painted in primary colors with segmented glass sections above and the brass furniture looking freshly polished.

Dinner is a Chinese, at a place just a ten-minute walk away from our B&B. All the shops are closed, but we walk around anyway, looking in the windows.

Today's ride: 50 km (31 miles)
Total: 337 km (209 miles)

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