Ireland Wrap Up – Random Thoughts about its Roads and its Ways

Having spent the last couple of weeks biking Ireland, and as I now ramp up for home, before I run you through some of the pictures I have been taking,  I feel compelled to offer some observations about what biking and living is like here

Longer days
The fact that it does not get fully  dark here until 11pm throws off my sleep and eating patterns. In fact the late sunset finds kids playing outside well  past the bed times for most American kids. Nor is it unusual to hear power mowers going strong in the late evening hours here.

The difficulty I find for myself in all this is not being able to use where the sun is in the sky to know when dinner and even bed should occur. As a result I often find myself eating a big meal at 11 PM. and going to bed at 1 and 2 in the AM. In doing so, I get less sleep because I like to be up with the sun, and here it finds its way into my eyes at 5 am. And even if I force out a couple more hours, I still end up averaging only 4 to 5 hours of slumber per night. And back in America when the Eagle is beating me up, I like to get a solid 6 or 7…

Lost (almost on a daily basis)
In a town filled with roundabouts, it is difficult for me to  make a right or left  turn and then be facing what I expect to be oncoming traffic (since I am in the lest lane) only to have to then split second remind myself that I am in Europe where they drive opposite to what I have been conitioned to know. The fact that i am having to pay more attention to the road, does not let me take in my surroundings. So instead of knowing which roundabout is marked by which landmark (in Ireland they say by which pub), I never seem to know where I am at. With the result being that directions from others  are also meaningless to me…

Nor do I feel as safe. For example even once I have established my position in the left most part of the road, the gap between traffic coming toward me lulls me into thinking I can let my guard down with all the wiggle room I think I have. That the open space I see is an escape holed I can slip into should trouble arise. This as, in  reality, unheard cars are bearing down on my immediate right. As such, I have drifted enough times to consider myself lucky to be alive.

Insane speed limit signs

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If you leaf through the three photos above, you will see that cars are allowed to go as fast as 80 Kilometers per hour on country roads (I am showing one with a B&B to make my point) with no shoulders and low visibility. While 100 Km//hr is not unheard of on its faster thoroughfares where bikes and pedestrians are still allowed!! Read 80 as 65 mph or in reality 75 and 80 mph. While the 100 is more like a 90 mph reality – yikes. 

At least when cars were passing me last summer on my Eagle ride to Salt Lake there were excellent sight lines and there was a shoulder to ride on. 

 

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While few cars use them, here are a few 80 Km/hr roads barely wide enough for two cars to pass each other. 

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Ilene was hand trimming  the hedge that fed her long driveway so the fast moving cars could better each other. Granted, there are few such vehicles but …….

The house I am showing in the second clip is hers. Far off the beaten path, she raised her family here and has been in it for 13 years by herself after her husband died…..

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A Norman Rockwell scene,, the Irish countryside is filled with beauty like this…

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On a seemingly empty country road,  Virginia and I waited at this rail crossing for what had to be three minutes. I present this for all my friends back in Palo Alto, CA where there have been a lot off deaths caused by speeding trains that clog several busy  intersections for usually under a minute. While there was plenty of advance notice that a speeding train was coming, do also note how well shielded the tracks are by the crossing apparatus….

My last weekend here, I have grown to love this place. And yet I cannot wait to get back on the Eagle, one of which I am hoping will be ready for me upon my return. I say one because we had still needed spokes for the one the car hit and the replacement  bike is still waiting for the insurance settlement to come through…..

THX 4 all of U!! 

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One thought on “Ireland Wrap Up – Random Thoughts about its Roads and its Ways

  1. As you’ll find out when you return in the fall; you make up for the long days of summer with shorter days in winter. The climate is mild but it is surprisingly far north and in winter the sun isn’t really up until 10 and sets at 4.

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