In Ireland the weather is probably more important than the news. If the weather forecast was on before the news, the viewing numbers would halve I reckon.
When I was planning the route this year it started in sunny May with Elanine Leavy. We accompanied Brian Kerr to the Phenoix Park where he was marshalling a week long bicycle ride in aid of SOSAD.
Elaine and I headed for Tallaght and Blessington. Elaine led the way on her white Suzuki Vstrom 650. We tipped up the Wicklow gap and then had a coffee in Lacken.
From Laragh we headed along the beautiful oak woods and curvaceous Rathdrum road. A bikers paradis. It’s not for the faint hearted as it twists & turns like a Blackpool roller coaster, hidden dips and sudden turns that test the skills of the most skilled rider. This twisty section brought us through Rathdrum where we continued south towards Arklow.
Arklow to Carnew is a lovely run as the road widens a little to give a better view going into tight left hand corners and bends.
From Carnew to Graighnamanaigh through the south Wicklow hills is as charming a road as we can get here in Ireland. Although the signposts can be tricky. We got lost in Ballymurphy. How can you do that you might ask? We took a wonderful “L” road in error and drove about 10 miles out of our way. As we headed for Graignamanagh we saw the signs for Ballymurphy so back we went to see how indeed we did get lost. Then back again on track for Graignamanagh. Lunch by the river Barrow was terrific, heading on then to Carrick on Suir. After that we went to Dungarvin. We were at the most exterme point of the run here and after a coffee break headed north for home. It was a long days drive but it gave us the basics of the run.
Unfortunately it was too long for a one day trip. It took two more attempts at the run to sort out check points and the correct way points. The final route did not include Dungarvin but went to Portlaoise via Mullaghnahone and Urlingford.
The route was not leaked to anybody before the day of the run. Cards for the poker run were picked and it was off on the run. Blessington was the first check point and Daphnie Laragie was the controller of the cards. It was cold and wet on arrival. By the time of leaving the weather was improving and when we got to Carnew for the second check point the sun was shining. Joe Swords, Elaiane Leavy & Brien Kerr did the honours in Carnew. The sun continued to shine for the rest of the day. At Carrick on Suire the Portlaoise Heritage Hote destination was revealed by check point steward Kevin O’Neill. There was a bit of a time limit on the run this year as some of the riders wanted to be at the hotel to see the All Ireland GAA football replay between Dublin and Mayo. Unfortunately they got lost and missed most of the match.
Accomodation this year was in the Portlaoise Heritage Hotel. Food and accommodation was super.