Day 1 - Cong to Westport
Overnight accommodations at the Woodstock Hotel, Ennis
Sunday, May 27 (40-ish miles)— We breakfasted and were out by 10:00 for our one-hour drive to Cong. After a quick coffee break at a lovely little hotel, we biked off in the rain towards our ultimate destination, Westport. The scenery was lovely — tree lined roads and fields with sheep and cows. It was fun, even though it was raining. After 12-ish miles we had a steep climb up through a mountain pass. We both made it to the top. The legs were strong, but the lungs hurt!
After the climb, we had some exhilirating downhill runs and then the ride got flatter as we rode along Lough Mask. A wee bit further down the road, we got into an Irish traffic jam, complete with little lambs!
As we cycled towards our lunch stop at Maire Lukes, we noticed as a final insult the pub was at the top of another steep, but thankfully short hill. Paul was ready for us at lunch with hot bowls of cream of vegetable soup and a basket of sandwiches. Tom & Donna chose to ride in the van for the remainder of the afternoon, so we were on our own for our afternoon ride, which was another 20-ish miles to Westport, of mostly rolling hills but headwinds to rival Holland. When we arrived at the hotel, the desk clerk noticed we were cyclists and asked us where we had cycled from. When we replied, "Cong", he rolled his eyes and remarked on the distance travelled.
We stayed at the very comfortable Central Hotel, located in the "Octogon" section of Westport. We took a quick walk round town before a 7:30 rendezvous for dinner at the hotel. The meal was fabulous — our best so far. We shared first courses of mussels for Bill and smoked salmon with avocado for me, followed by leg of lamb.
Our observations of the day:
We learned that in Ireland, there are not just miles but Irish miles. They seem longer than miles we are familiar with. (It must be all the hills and wind!) Then there are the Irish traffic jams and Irish lawn mowers too, you know the ones with 4 legs!
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