Cycle Ireland Day 8: Glengarriff to Castletownbere

Today’s ride was a short one – just over 20 miles and not too much climbing. When we did have our big climb (right at the beginning), we even had a bit of a tailwind.

Rhodies doing their thing

We got a very late start (12:30) because we started the day by taking a ferry ride to visit Garinish Island. Roughly 80+ years ago the owner turned his 37 acre island into “Ilnacullin Gardens,” — a well-known garden that takes advantage of the sheltered cove to provide a “subtropical growing climate.” (Personally, I don’t think any of these people have ever visited the subtropics.) Nevertheless, it was pretty stunning. We visited just as the rhododendrons and azaleas were starting to come into their own.


As we mentioned in a previous post, the landscape has really changed. It’s much less green, mostly grazing fields for sheep, and even more sparsely populated. As a result, because of our late start and the reduced number of places to eat, we had to skip lunch. Instead, we stopped at small gift shop cafes twice — where we were forced to eat cake each time. (I am tempted to order cake after dinner, making it a “three cake day.”)

The roads along which we are cycling are much more “open.” We are no longer seeing the high hedges that line roads further south. These hedges can be quite hight – ten feet or higher. They are quite attractive, often made up a mixture of flowering plants, most prominently, fuchsias. I’ve never seen fuchsias plants this tall. West Cork seems to be in love with this flower and even their village and town signs incorporate a picture of them. While it’s lovely to ride along fuchsia-hedged roads, particularly when the hedges block the wind, these hedges do have some downsides. First, totally fulfilling their purpose as privacy hedges, they block your view of the landscape. It’s a challenge when the hedges are trimmed right up to the road edge as it leaves us nowhere to go as there is rarely a shoulder and never a bike lane. And, since I always have to pee, it really puts a damper on privacy if I need to just pull off the side of the road for a bio break. It’s even worse if there are CCTVs looking for people littering.

Keeping Track of Where We Are

You can see our progress at: Joy and Tony’s Ireland Wild Atlantic Way 2017

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