My Wild Atlantic Way adventure is, in cycling terms at least, all done. I’m writing this while sat in Galway train station, where I collected my pre-booked ticket to Dublin.
Today has been a fairly long day: Doolin to Galway. I’m not a big fan of the entire area from Spanish Point to past Doolin, as it’s extremely touristy.
The camp site I booked into is clean and tidy, but you get charged for everything. I appreciate it’s a business and needs to make a profit, but I don’t appreciate how it made me feel. People are treated as commodities, to be profited from and nothing more.
Awful coach drivers
The ride from Doolin I will remember for all the wrong reasons, starting with the murderously incompetent Transport for Ireland coach drivers! Also, campervans on Swiss plates all seemed to be driven by wannabe axe-murderers!
I’ve no idea what is normal for Swiss drivers, never having encountered any before. However, if those Swiss campervans are an indication, then I wouldn’t want any Swiss drivers anywhere near me!
I cycled though an area called The Burren today, and it’s left me with mixed feelings. In some ways, it’s beautiful, in a brutal sort of way. You see, the whole area has masses of exposed rock, and in places the landscape looks almost lunar.
However, in other parts, though entirely natural, it looks more like the remains of an unrestored opencast mine, and opencast mines aren’t things of beauty.
The area is popular though! Every layby was full of cars, and there were more cars partially parked on the road. After having seen the standard of driving through there, I won’t risk parking like that!
No good deed goes unpunished
I did my good deed of the day, too: the driver of a Transporter gave me a superb overtake, then shortly after came to a sudden stop in a farm entrance to the right. The driver jumped out and ran back, and only then did I notice what made her stop: a dry-stone wall had partially collapsed, leaving football-sized rocks halfway into the road.
I gave her a hand, and together we quickly managed to clear the rocks and mostly rebuild the wall. Moments after we finished, 2 cars cam absolutely hammering past. If those stones were still on the road, the drivers of those cars may well have had a very bad day!
Parts of my route went along the N67. It’s a nasty and unpleasant road to cycle.
However, before I got to Doolin, I stopped to take a photo of the breathtaking views, when the driver of a big 4×4 stopped alongside, and explained that the view is even better just a bit further ahead (he was right).
He also told me to get off the N road, and instead take the Hazel Mountain road (it’s not a mountain). I remembered his advice, and took that road, which was both far more quiet and very scenic. Especially once I crested that hill, as he promised, the views were amazing!
Irish people are amazing
Again, interactions like that are normal in Ireland. The people of this island are overall so kind and friendly! (It makes me think that TfI must have an extremely warped recruitment and training process to end up with so many sadistic coach drivers!)
Driving standards were nosediving the nearer I got to Galway. I know almost nothing about the city, but the very many close overtakes I suffered during what’s actually a very limited amount of cycling in Galway didn’t endear the city to me.
Before I go create an impression that it’s an unpleasant place, I need to stress that I don’t know enough about it either way. For all I know, it could be a fantastic place, and I simply didn’t get the chance to see that.
What’s undeniable though is that Galway is expensive. Originally, I was invited to stay tonight in someone’s house, but they fell ill, so my plans had to change.
I looked at booking into a B&B or something, but they’re all extremely expensive. That made me decide to simply find a spot to wild camp overnight, before catching my train to Dublin in the morning.
A last wild camp
Urban wild camping is always a risk, especially in a city that you don’t know. Usually, it’s a risk I try to avoid, but needs must.
I’ll wait till it starts getting dark before I go pitch my tent in one of a few potential camping spots. I’ll set an alarm, so I can pack up quite early.
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.
Here’s today’s question: The 2022 UN rankings for quality of life out of 189 countries has the UK at No 18. What is it for Ireland?