Kilrush and Kilkee - Just For The Craic - CycleBlaze

August 8, 2009

Kilrush and Kilkee

Two Irish cyclists are at the basic first-floor hostel and in the morning we have a quick chat. One has a guitar tied to his bike. They're riding from North to South, which means a head-on wind most of the time. This is their first ever tour. We all agree it's a bit wet and Debbie and I hang out in Listowel waiting for the sky to brighten up.

A local bakery serves tea and coffee and we sit inside for a while, but decide it's time to get going further north; psyche ourselves up and set off to catch the ferry across the narrow strip of water to Shannon.

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Debbie feels a bit fragile, but it's pretty flat and not too far to the terminal and the sun manages an appearance just as we get there. There's a long queue of vehicles for the ferry. We ride to the front, gliding by drivers who I imagine must be getting frustrated at the wait.

Once off the short ferry ride, a sign says we're on a national bike route, but it's just a brown sign on the main road - the narrow N67 - and was no doubt erected under instructions from a local government committee that was just doing their job and scoring some 'green' points for Shannon's council.

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We don't enjoy this road at all, especially with Debbie feeling fragile. Cars flash by. I hope there's a turn-off just ahead and look forward to taking it, but there isn't. We're stuck.

Once in Kilrush, we eat fish and chips outside and soon after pop into the local tourist office where a kind woman lets me copy the detailed map that she has in a desk drawer and who proceeds to tell us about some big cliffs nearby. No, not the world-famous ones at Moher. These are just as dramatic, she says. I have my doubts. 

It's something like 10km before we can turn off the N67 according to the map. 

The sun is out, but it feels like it may change at any second.

The small side roads are great. No traffic. 

Orange aubretia blooms line miles and miles of the route. 

The sunshine is pleasing.

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We get to the turbulent and vast Atlantic and find the high cliffs and the officer was dead right: superb. There are very few people here. Surprise. 

A grassy walkway goes along the coast. There's a white-painted shrine set in a small field surrounded by a low stone wall. The wind comes off the sea in gusts as we ride along the narrow road for a few miles, going up and down, before we decide to go no more and do a U turn and start to head north, up to the seaside resort of Kilkee.

We'll have a Guinness later, while way over the Atlantic, some American is drinking crap beer
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Just outside Kilkee, a bunch of jubilant youths are throwing themselves off the rocks into the crashing surf. I imagine the sea is pretty chilly. They are wearing wet suits and seem to be having a lot of fun. 

We ride along a beach-side road and keep going, but the road peters out and we have to go back to Kilkee's center.

We find a simple B&B and find our bed to be on its last legs, sagging right down in the middle when we sit on it. 

Our dinner is an Indian followed by a pint of Guinness. 

Kilkee is buzzing with holidaymakers; its few streets are full of them, wandering around and enjoying the balmy evening air.

Today's ride: 60 km (37 miles)
Total: 442 km (274 miles)

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