The Good Life
It was a very drizzly and VERY windy start to our holidays, as we ventured south on our trusty v-twins. Connemara, Galway, Doolin for the dodgy dinner of the holiday. That night was staying with Maeve. A lovely B&B, and as you would expect, great hospitality and a cracking breakfast. The dodgy dinner at the ‘Bistro’ was soon in the past as we got back to the pub. We’d met a couple of Canadians ‘B and B’ who were good company, so we joined their table in the busy pub. Pretty soon though the tiredness caught up and we were off to bed. The next morning the weather hadn’t improved much. It was windy, foggy and drizzly rain, so the local tourist sights, such as the Cliffs of Moher will have to wait until the next time we visit.
We continued south and before long the weather improved. So much so, Ed had to slap on the sun tan lotion. Roughty toughty biker that he is! I shouldn’t really talk though, 3 days later I have the makings of a superb comedy tan from wearing my helmet in open face mode. I’m not sensible enough to do suntan lotion it seems. I’ll never learn.
Our friend Sue had recommended that we visited the Maharees. A beautiful headland. I was gubbed. I’d ridden enough tiny twisty roads and was on the verge of losing concentration. We stopped at a B&B which was full, however, in true Irish style, they did a ring a round and found us a bed. Looking over the breathtaking Castlegregory bay, we were escorted by the owner Michael. His wife Mary was just like Mrs Doyle from Father Ted. The only thing was she had better lipstick.
We had the most glorious carrot cake and tea. We showered then got a taxi into the local pub. The plan was the taxi driver was going to pick us up after a run to Dingle. That’ll be shining bright. 10:30 pick up? Managed to last to 8:30 and called him to collect us. Just knackered. I watched the most gorgeous sunset before collapsing in bed. Go me.
The breakfast the next morning was the best yet. What was very odd, was not so much having to choose the next morning’s breakfast when we arrived but more the choice. 19 different options. Well and truly set up for the day, we headed off to meet our friends, Sue and Gary in Portmagee. It was great to see them , it’s been too long since I’d seen them. A bite of lunch in the lovely Café, before Gary took us on a tour to their house. It ended up being a fabulous run to Sneem, where they live, a bit off the beaten track, to say the least!
Gary had warned us that the road to the house was challenging, it was 3 miles long and the last mile was the worst bit, due to the logging lorries that were working in the area. I consciously looked at my odometer. The first mile was good. The second mile interestingly challenging. The third mile was oh my fucking God, what’s happened here? I’m so glad I did it. It’s made me deal with the wee tiny roads that we have been on since! Rutted doesn’t even cover it. Not for the feint hearted and guaranteed if you target fixate on the rut, guess where you’re going to go? Yup. I was very proud of Indy.
Gary and Sue live in a lovely colourful, homely bungalow and have a self catering cottage called Bridget’s Cottage. Apparently, according to a census, there was always a Bridget living in it. It’s really cute, open plan down stairs with two double bedrooms upstairs and a bathroom with a view. They’re nestled in lots of trees, surrounded by 7 acres of woodland and fields for their animals. It’s just so tranquil. Their family includes sheep with wee lambs, ducks, chickens, geese, piggies, and a completely nuts goat called Nellie. She’s got big floppy ears and is such a character. There’s lots of wee chicks too and a mahoosive vegetable plot and a tunnel for growing goodies such as strawberries, raspberries and mahoosive courgettes. Everything it seems grows extraordinarily quickly. The geese think Sue is Mum and follow her around the garden. Nellie is just nuts!
Outside the bungalow, Gary has crafted seats from the numerous felled trees. Two huge bench seats and just for good measure ‘Ruth’s rock’. I have to say, I loved sitting there with a mug of tea, reading my book and listening to their extended family causing a small riot, especially cheeky Nellie who had a habit of throwing her bed around her stall in the barn. You could hear the clatter of her bed being chucked against the barn wall reverberating up the hill. Sue puts a huge amount of time and work into her flock.
Needless to say they are well and truly living ‘The Good Life’, pretty much self-sufficient with more fruit, vegetables and meat that you can shake a stick at. Sue has a magic talent for jams, pickles and chutney, dried poultry, home made sausages…. nom nom. On our first morning we had duck eggs on toast. Massive, they were and full of delightful eggy flavour. I was astounded when I loved Sue’s plum sauce which was fairly similar to brown sauce but way much better. It was the first time in my 49 years that I’d had sauce with an egg. We felt truly spoilt, especially when we were given a gift of some vacuum packed meats to take home. Gary was gutted.
Gary had a plan for the next day. When he told us the plan, we immediately agreed that the best thing for us to do was to stay two nights. More practice on the road then! That evening we went down to Sneem where it seemed the whole population of this lovely town was on the street celebrating an unveiling of a new statue. The bars were heaving, however, we found a seat, met some of the locals and enjoyed some pulled pork and salad, with the compliments of the pub! The midges and tiredness drove us back home to cheese, biscuits and pickles. It wasn’t long before I climbed (literally) into bed and snored the night away – sorry, Sue!
The next day we had a great time, and Gary led us on a great route. It included their favourite pass, the Healy Pass in the Caha Mountains and a fab lunch in a pub along the coast. Sadly the food in Ireland is great. Sadly? Too easy to stuff your face and I’m going to be on lettuce and water when I get home. It was another long day, so I asked for a wee break when we got fuel. The combination of the heat, the roads and the work needed to ride Indy does take it out of you, that’s for sure. Back at Sue & Gary’s for home made sausages and salad. I snored again.
The next morning, it was time to move on. I didn’t want to leave. It is such a beautiful spot and you can well and truly chill out. Thanks to Sue and Gary, truly great hosts. I wonder what Ed has in store for us next?