Wild Atlantic Way – Day 13

As I’m still well ahead of schedule, today was only ever going to be a short day.

Mike the Pies

Originally I planned to end yesterday’s ride in Listowel, which seems a very nice town. I charged up my phone in a pub called Mike The Pies (yes, that’s its name!)

When I asked about camping, they told me to simply camp in the town park, assuring me that nobody would object. However, I felt it was too early to stop for the day, so I continued to Tarbert.

Tarbert

Tarbert is on the banks of the Shannon, and I first scouted for a place to camp, then rode back into the village where I made the mistake of ordering food from the take-away shop.

Though not very tasty, I wolfed my food down. Once outside again, I saw 2 older cyclists pull up outside the Swanky Bar (yes, that’s what it’s called, too!)

Once inside, they immediately asked me if I was cycling the Wild Atlantic Way, and we started chatting. Turns out that Tommy and Denis are doing a charity fundraiser, with Tommy’s brother driving the support vehicle.

All three are genuinely lovely people and we got on very well. Also, they were clever enough to order food from the Swanky Bar and I eyed their far better food up with envy!

After a while we all agreed to ride down to the ferry. I abandoned my plans to only cross to county Clare in the morning, and made the crossing with them.

County Clare

On the far side, we said goodbye – they were off to find a B&B, while I pitched my tent next to the ferry landing area, hidden from view.

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In the morning I had a very lazy start, and only set off by 10:00. County Clare has the sort of landscape that either a hobbit or a Teletubby would feel right at home in.

Though there were no dramatic mountains, today was a very hilly ride, and several of those hills were very steep. That wasn’t enough to distract me from the gentle beauty of country Clare.

I was hunting for ages for somewhere to have breakfast, then found a petrol station in the middle of nowhere, where (as I’ve come to expect as the norm by now) there’s an excellent deli. Ireland really can teach the rest of the world a thing or two there!

The roads in county Clare seem noticeably worse than those in county Kerry, and roads in county Kerry are noticeably worse than the roads in county Cork. Unlike Cork and Kerry, I encountered no road maintenance crews, but I mainly cycled back lanes. Also, the roads aren’t bad – just not quite as good.

By mid-afternoon I made it to Spanish Point, where some remnants of the Spanish Armada were shipwrecked. Apparently, several survivors remained and integrated into the local community.

Stunning as the area is, I was struggling to find somewhere to do some stealth camping – everything is is view of typically several houses.

Eventually, I found an empty motorhome aire in Milltown Malbay, and booked in for the night. Another day’s riding done, and with only 3 days of riding to do, the end of this adventure is getting very close.

Competition!

To be in with a chance of winning John Devoy’s fantastic book, Quondam, you need to answer all the questions that I post on a daily basis.

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You don’t have to answer the questions on the day they’re posted – as long as you answered them all by the end of May.

Here’s today’s question, or rather, two questions: Who was the first woman President of Ireland? Who was the second!?

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