Day 4 Ballina to Collooney
Wednesday, May 30 (45-ish miles) - This morning we hit the road by 10:00 for our trek to Colooney. The weather was delightful as we left the castle grounds. We had fairly flat terrain to start off as we cycled out of Ballina, along the River Moy. We stopped to take a photo of a concrete ship that was stranded on a sandbar in the channel. The ship was built as an experiment during WWII, looking for alternative building materials due to the shortage of iron & steel for the war effort.
We encountered the requisite number of Irish hills during the first part of our morning ride, but the terrain was really nice. The roads were a bit up and down to Easky where we stopped for coffee.
As we cycled along towards Aughris, there was an exhilarating downhill and then a breathtaking view across the bay to the Ben Bulben mountain that loomed off on the horizon about 50 miles north. We hit a stretch of gently rolling terrain along a quiet back road and arrived at Paddy's Pub for a lovely picnic lunch. Paul provided the entertainment by cycling backwards on one of the bikes. Amazing!
As we left the pub, we continued along the gently rolling hills, past lovely fields and homes until we hit the main road about 5K out of Ballisadare. This was a stretch where we had to keep our wits about us. There was a higher speed limit allowed on the main road although it was still rather narrow. Paul pedaled back to meet us and led us on through the last few miles to to Markree Castle, where we arrived around 4:00pm. We rewarded ourselves with a pint of Guinness in the pub before heading up to freshen up. Yummy!
Another castle, another top-notch dinner. We thoroughly enjoyed lamb again at dinner, followed by the requisite nightcap before retiring at midnight. It was a long but rewarding day!
Click here for today's photos.
Thursday, May 31 — Today is our day of rest, which we’re happy to have. It’s been a hilly trip! Had a late breakfast, and Paul drove all 4 of us into Sligo town for a day on our own. He and Ruairi went their own way for a hard (65 mile) ride. We poked in shops and had lunch at the Belfry (cream of veg soup again). Shopped a little more and headed back to the pub for Irish coffees. Grabbed a taxt back to Markree Castle later in the day.
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