Day 2 - Westport to Gweesalia
Monday, May 28 (35-ish miles) — Because showers were predicted again, Paul has us starting off at 10:30-ish today. Gave us a chance to sleep in a little before breakfasting at 9:00. We were off at just 10:30. It had cleared, but headwinds were fierce. We had approx. 20 miles to our lunch stop at Doherty’s Pub in Mulrany where we lunched on sandwiches and cream of veg soup (again!).
After lunch, Donna and Tom opted to ride in the van with Ruairi to Gweesalia. We headed on — just finished a lovely, long descent before Paul whistled for us to stop. Turns out the road was bad ahead, and we needed to go a different route — a bit of a low blow to have to climb back up a long, slow hill. We cranked through the gears and headed up the road toward Bangor. We were buffeted by side winds, but the scenery was lovely — meadows and a small lake early on; then just mile after mile of wild open peat bogs with just the two of us for miles around. (Paul had peddled on out of sight. He’s a former bike racer with the Irish national team and trained for the Olympics. Ruairi too was a racer)
After what seemed like forever, we made it to Bangor. Paul had promised it was only four miles further to Gweesalia, but the signpost said 12K (7.2 miles). By this time we were both well challenged (meaning very tired!) We turned west only to come into major headwinds, almost bringing us to a complete stop. We wondered if we could even go on at this point. As if our prayers were answered, at that moment Ruairi came alongside in the van to offer us a ride, noting that Paul was not far ahead, toughing it out. We quickly abandoned any thoughts of continuing and gratefully hopped in the car. Even the four-wheel-drive was blown side to side the whole way up the road to the hotel.
Our hotel, the Teach Iorrais (pronounced 'chalk orrish'), is is pretty remote, nothing around for miles, except for a small village. The room is quite nice, and we were very much looking forward to a hot shower and a glass of glass of red wine to celebrate another day's efforts. We took a brief stroll through town, and we do mean brief. There are about three small stores and 20 houses but I counted at least two pubs, so we were all set!! Why they plunked a two-story hotel in a very remote area. We hung out in the hotel bar before meeting the group for dinner. Bill enjoyed a glass of Smithwick's Ale (Ireland's best kept secret!) relaxing after another hard ride today. Just then, the TV weather came on, reporting on the unusually fierce gale winds reported all over the Northwest. Just our luck.
We all went out for a quick pint at another local pub, that was full of antiques (present company excepted!). We returned to the hotel for a great dinner — we almost had the place to ourselves. The dining room was on the 2nd floor and you had a great view of the countryside. Tonight, we feast on mussels and smoked duck for starters and salmon and duck for the main course.
After dinner, we reflected on another amazing day in the saddle.
Click here for today's photos.
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