Impressive Connemara and cosy Irish pubs with tasty Guinness

After a good night of sleep in the farmers barn we left happy and most importanty: with a dry tent. The weather that day (03-08-2022) changed continuously, from sun to dark grey clouds which made us wet every single time while we were just a minute too late with putting our rain clothes on. It was like those costume quick changes in the theater: putting our rain clothes on very quick in the pooring rain and then 10 minutes later putting everything off as quickly as possible again while we were sweating in the sun. The days after the weather became better again.

We cycled along a very nice greenway from Newport to Westport. Camped in a garden again while finding a wildcamp spot was very difficult – and were invited for breakfast the morning after. Then we continued our way towards some small mountains and cycled our first pass in Ireland: Sheeffry pass. It was steep as all roads in Ireland, but the nature was so rewarding. See the photos below.

As described above, we met two other cyclists (Eva & Jelmer) and had a great time wildcamping and cycling together. From there we continued our way in the direction of Connemara National Park. In Ballyconneely we had planned a break of 3 nights and we were so much looking forward to it! When you know a pause is near… suddenly everything is more exhausting, the legs hurt a lot, you are more thirsty and especially the mental part is challenging while climbing up hills. But in the afternoon we arrived at the house of our host, pitched up the tent and enjoyed our 3 nights break. We ate lots of tasty food, drank beers and wine, relaxed on the white sanded beach, watched the seals swim by, did a tour by kayak and went to a local pub to enjoy two talented musicians.

The evening we cycled back from the pub, we drove through an amazing landscape full of stars. Back at the tent we took some great photos before falling asleep.

On the 8th of August we left Connemara, said goodbye to our host and took a ferry to the island Inis Mór. The arrival was quite hectic, it was low tide and therefore the quay was 2 metres above the ferry. For passengers there was a solution of course, but for the bikes not really…

The crew of the ferry was responsible for getting the bicycles on the quay. It was just an impossible job to lift our 19kg bikes (each) above the head (legally not allowed we thought!). The one crew member on the quay grabbed our bikes by the wheel and pulled it up. Chloé her bike was on the quay without a scratch. Then however, Oliver his bike still needed to go. The crew was clearly sweating, and then they lifted Oliver his bike. Clearly struggling. Holding our breath we watched it, then it almost fell… but luckily not… only 1 of our water bottles fell in the ocean… Happy that the bike was safe, but not that 1 of our bottles was gone. The crew was very sorry. But this was not their fault, a system with ropes or whatever should be installed if the ferry company promotes bringing bikes to the island.

A little upset, we carried all our bike bags on the quay. 5 minutes later we heard a crew member ‘I see the bottle!’ (like if he saw land). As it was the end of their working day: all crew members reunited and started a fun mission, getting our bottle out of the ocean. We laughed together, they used ropes, a small boat, stairs along the quay. In the end they managed to get the bottle out of the water. Suddenly we heard a laud applause from far away, apparently all people in the restaurant on the other side of the harbour watched it all.

Late in the evening we found a wildcamp spot near the beach. Tired we cooked and fell asleep quickly after. The next day we woke up in a misty atmosphere. It was cool to see the ocean and harbour like this. By coincidence we met Eva and Jelmer again. We cycled the whole day together on the island and in the afternoon we took the ferry together to Doolin. And of course, we did spend the evening in the pub while some locals played live music and we enjoyed a Guinness. The night on the campsite was unfortunately very loud due to some drunk neighboors, sleeping in the wild is so much more enjoyable…

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