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Thread: "Left to Live" - A 23-Day Motorcycle Adventure Around UK and Ireland...

  1. #31
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 8 - Fri, 31 Aug - The Skellig Islands (continued)...


    Visitors actively listen to the guide as she explains what life would have been like for the monks among the challenging terrain. Thankfully, she kept it informative and respected the lives of the monks and didn’t even mention the word “Star Wars” once.


    The myriad of grey lichen on the rock face creates natures version of modern art.


    Walking back down to “Christ’s Saddle”. This was near the area where Ray handing Luke his lightsaber in the movie.




    It’s quite amazing that a group of monks lived in this harsh and desolate environment.


    Standing on the main walkway up to “Christ’s Saddle”. Another walkway continued upwards from the saddle area to the monastic site.


    Returning to the “Wailing Woman” rock. The fog lifted enough to see Little Skellig in the distance.


    Seabirds of various types live on this and nearby islands.


    We never did see a Thala-siren, or get to taste their unique green milk. Apparently they migrate to the Faroe Islands during the summer *Picture from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.


    The departing view of Skellig Island was better than when we arrived since most of the fog was cleared.


    Little Skellig is not populated by humans so a quick boat ride beneath the rocky cliffs gave us a magnificent view of...


    ...the millions of birds roosting and flying around the island. It was awe inspiring to see so many birds squawking and flying around.


    Each of those tiny white dots is a bird. Millions of them. Learn more about the various types: HERE


    The last view of the Skellig Islands as we say “goodbye”.


    Heading back to Portmagee.


    Captain Dave even let me drive his boat back into port until just before we had to dock.


    Thanks to Derek (left) and Capt Dave (middle) for a wonderful day. Thanks to www.skelligsrock.com for the memory and destination of a lifetime!
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  2. #32
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 8 - Fri, 31 Aug (cont…)


    We worked up quite an appetite hiking the stone stairways in Skellig; Time for an early dinner at Smugglers Cafe in Portmagee.


    The restaurant was decorated with seaside and nautical art pieces.


    I find the look of a high-quality colored chart to be very appealing.


    A rope covered hanging lamp lit our table.




    The clam chowder was some of the BEST we’ve ever eaten.

    I would have been very content finding a hotel room in Portmagee and relaxing for the night, but we needed to move along while we still had some daylight.


    The Ring of Kerry continues north through the town of Cahirciveen – population 1,041.


    During a fuel stop this dog kept barking at us. Perhaps he wanted to ride on our mules instead of his Toyota?


    Monument to St. Brendan the Navigator by Éamonn O'Doherty is a sculpture that represents the monks’ voyage to the monastery at Skellig Michael.


    We continued heading northish along the route marked the “Wild Atlantic Way”.


    All hail King Puck, Lord Goat of Killorglin! This statue of King Puck in Killorglin, Ireland is a monument to the country’s oldest festival, the Puck Fair.


    During this ancient celebration, a wild male goat (known as a “puck”) is crowned king of the town for three days before being returned to his normal life in the Irish hills, his royalty all but ignored by his fellow goats.


    Continuing along the Ring of Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Route.

    Today was a great day! One of the greatest!!
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  3. #33
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travisgill View Post
    Today was a great day! One of the greatest!!
    And another fabulous write up, Travis. It just keeps getting better...

    And a nice touch, bringing in the Star Wars elements.
    Rinty

  4. #34
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rinty View Post
    And another fabulous write up, Travis. It just keeps getting better... And a nice touch, bringing in the Star Wars elements.
    Thanks Rinty. After editing and writing the report for Day 8, I wondered "Was this the best day of the entire trip?" It was a great day for sure, but there are plenty of other great days ahead...
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  5. #35
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by travisgill View Post
    Thanks Rinty. After editing and writing the report for Day 8, I wondered "Was this the best day of the entire trip?" It was a great day for sure, but there are plenty of other great days ahead...
    Well, the whole island is just fabulous; and the Irish have built all these brilliant visitor centres.

    After a couple of years' reflection, I think, perhaps, that two special places, for me, were Kinsale, and the Wicklow Mountains area.
    Last edited by Rinty; 11-18-2018 at 05:39 PM.
    Rinty

  6. #36
    Registered User okiegman's Avatar
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    Thanks

    Great ride report - thanks for sharing!!

    As a Star Wars fanatic I love the addition. I didn't know where that scene had been filmed. I'll add it to my bucket list
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  7. #37
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okiegman View Post
    Great ride report - thanks for sharing!! As a Star Wars fanatic I love the addition. I didn't know where that scene had been filmed. I'll add it to my bucket list
    Thanks! Hope you have the chance to visit Skellig Michael.
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  8. #38
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 9 - Sat, 01 Sep:


    We covered quite a bit of ground today in order to get back on schedule – 350 km! That’s a lot for us. We continued clockwise along the Wild Atlantic Coastal Route of Ireland’s west coast, stopping at Clare Abbey Burial Ground, Cliffs of Moher, and Aughnaure Castle. We found a campsite, well after dark, at Kings Caravan & Campsite.


    “Did you see that sign?” This ended up being an impromptu spot that we discovered from the highway.


    Heading to the ruins of Clare Abbey. The abbey was founded in 1195


    Could this cool place really be without any tourists?


    No people to disturb? Time to fly the drone and captured some great videos that we’ll post in a future video of our trip.




    The Celtic cross seems to be the gravestone of choice for most Irish.

    Story: This is a bit creepy, but during our visit I heard voices of children laughing in a playground. I just shrugged it off because sound can travel in peculiar ways...


    ...however, as we were leaving the site, Chantil mentioned she also heard voices!


    The weird thing is that there was nothing around except for some cows and goats in the surrounding fields. Why the sounds of children playing at school on a Saturday? Haunted? Nah.


    Next stop, the Cliffs of Moher. The entrance fee of 8 euros included parking for our mules.


    The famous Cliffs of Moher!


    Pinnacle Rock. Pan around to see the bay from 200 meters above.


    It was a perfect day. The sun was warm. Musicians were playing Irish songs. People were smiling. We were in Ireland!


    The word “Mothar” means ruined fort in ancient Gaelic. A fort from the 1st century BC stood at Hags Head where Moher Tower now stands.


    O'Brien's Tower was a popular spot for taking pictures and enjoying the views. The tower was built in 1835 as an observation spot for Victorian tourists


    Pinnacle Rock.


    A group of young adults relaxing in the grass above the cliff walls. Just a few feet from the guy on the left is the edge where it drops 200 meters onto a rocky shore.




    Cows enjoying the afternoon sunshine and multitude of fresh green grass. By the way, that fence is electric. Guess how I know?


    A black bird enjoying his perch above all the tourists.


    Just up the road from the Cliffs of Moher is this restaurant called Stonecutters Kitchen. We sat next to an older Irish couple who recommended...


    ... the Traditional Beef and Guinness Stew with Cidona apple drink. It was delicious!
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  9. #39
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 9 - Sat, 01 Sep (cont...)


    Although we were pushing to get back on our scheduled timeline, we did stop and enjoy the scenery along the way.


    The narrow roads combined with the sunny weather made riding a joy today!


    Near the end of the day we came across a sign pointing to Aughnaure Castle. Why not? We parked our mules and walked past a pasture to a walking trail leading to the castle.


    We ended up being the last tourists of the day. We walked around as the caretaker was tidying up the castle.


    The picture shows what the original looked like when it was built in the 16th century.


    The design and wood of the rafters of the ceiling.


    It seems a lot of castles we went into have this murder hole where you could pour hot coals or shoot arrows down on unwanted guests.


    The castle owner and caretaker is a loving and kind lady that showed us the keys to her castle. The keys looked just like you would expect castle keys to look like.


    The caretaker was such a warm and friendly lady. Meeting wonderful people is part of the adventure!


    It was well after dark before me made it to Kings Caravan & Campsite. It was so late that the office was closed but Chantil was able to find the camp host who opened the bathroom doors for us.
    Last edited by travisgill; 11-18-2018 at 11:58 PM.
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  10. #40
    Registered User RIDERR1150GSADV's Avatar
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    What an awesome RR!
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  11. #41
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIDERR1150GSADV View Post
    What an awesome RR!
    Thanks so much! Glad you're enjoying it.
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  12. #42
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 10 - Sun, 02 Sep:

    A day of aviation history, rainbows, church attendance, and more exploring of the beautiful Irish coastline.


    450 km today! Unfortunately, we passed by some great places that would have been worth the stop. On a positive note, we are closer to being on our planned schedule for our trip. We were definitely ready for some sleep once we reached Northern Ireland.


    Ask most Americans who was the first person to fly a plane non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean and they will most likely tell you Charles Lindbergh. They would be wrong. Lindbergh was actually the 19th person to fly non-stop across the Atlantic.


    In a remote bog of northwestern Ireland known as Derrigimlagh,…


    …two British aviators, John Alcock and Arthur Brown, completed the first non-stop transatlantic flight in June 1919. They flew a modified First World War Vickers Vimy bomber from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Clifden, Connemara, County Galway, Ireland.


    Their landing wasn’t glamorous, but they completed the trip in less than 16 hours.


    The hike out to the “landing” site is not difficult but it is shared by sheep. Watch out for their droppings.


    The site where John Alcock and Arthur Brown landed was definitely a rough boggy landscape. It’s surprising they were not seriously injured in the landing.


    A simple white cone marks the site where aviation history was made in 1919.


    A display shows the damaged Vickers Vimy bomber where it “landed”.


    Some may wonder why they decided to land here but it’s important to remember that the ground looks much different from the air and they had been airborne for nearly 16 hours with some pretty terrifying icing and storms.


    The two aviators who made aviation history - John Alcock and Arthur Brown.


    As if it wasn’t crazy enough, they brought two cats with them on the plane!! Actually, I read that wrong... Two toy cats were given to them for the journey. One of them, named Twinkle Toes, later flew a similar flight 60 years later in a RAF F-4 Phantom. The F-4 was a bit faster at only six hours and it landed without mishap. Twinkle Toes is in the RAF Museum in Cosford, England.

    As an aviation buff, I enjoyed the remote and quite corner of Derrigimlagh. However, this experience made me question my education since I had no idea about Alcock and Brown growing up. Perhaps the textbooks in the United States tend to focus on American accomplishments? After all, Charles Lindbergh was an American born in Detroit.

    We continued along the route, making good time in order to attend church services in the town of Sligo. Along the way, the rain clouds lifted and we had the joy of experiencing one of the brightest rainbows we’ve seen for quite some time.


    It’s no wonder rainbows are often associated with Ireland. This was one of the most vivid rainbows I seen in recent history.




    Along the way we noticed the Church of St Joseph and St Conal in the town of Donegal.


    It was open so we peeked inside...


    ...to find this charming altar...


    ...and beautifully designed stained-glass window.

    We decided to take a diversion to Bunglass Point, based on a recommendation from some motorcyclist we met at church earlier.


    In many ways, I feel the BMW G650GS is the ideal adventure motorcycle. It's not too heavy, a world traveled proven engine with adequate power for riding on highways, gets great fuel mileage, has more cargo capacity than we’ll ever use, is easy to maintain, and doesn't cost much. The cost of purchasing, outfitting, and customizing our two mules was about 14K USD.


    On our way to Teelin we stopped to take some picture of grounded, broken-hulled boats.


    The Rusty Mackerel near Donegal looked like a nice place to eat but we only stopped long enough to snap a photo of their mural.


    The mules parked at Bunglass Point.


    Although, I would have liked to see more of the coast, the day was getting late. Bunglass Point ended up being our last stop before we reached Northern Ireland.


    Welcome to Northern Ireland! Time to switch our GPS units to miles per hour, put away our Euros, and pull out our Pound sterling.
    *Picture from www.thesun.ie

    It seems many are in support of the Irish reunification where the whole of Ireland would be a single sovereign state. This is a complicated and emotionally charged issue for lots of Irish folks on both side of the border. As an American who was just traveling through, I don’t have the history or information needed to form an opinion. I just hope for a democratic and peaceful agreement for the future of Ireland.

    Tomorrow is Day 11! Join us, along with some wonderful sunny weather, as we continue our travels clockwise around Northern Ireland…
    Last edited by travisgill; 11-21-2018 at 01:09 PM.
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  13. #43
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 11 - Mon, 03 Sep:

    A few days ago, we were talking to a gentleman about our plans to ride around Ireland clockwise to Northern Ireland. He responded, “Northern Ireland is always rainy, cold, and cloudy.”
    Our experience was the opposite - sunny and relatively warm. Luck of the Irish for us!


    Only 102 miles (165 km) of riding today. We experienced the beauty of Northern Ireland’s north coast: Downhill House and Mussenden Temple, Giant Causeway, and The Dark Hedges. Then we rode south to Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland and the birthplace of the RMS Titanic.


    Sunny with white fluffy clouds this morning.




    Dry roads. No raingear. It’s going to be a great day!


    Our first stop, and right along the northern coast, was the Downhill House. This palatial home was built in the late 18th century but was destroyed by a fire in 1851.


    The nearby Mussenden Temple was built in 1785. It is perched picture perfectly on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.


    An inscription around the outside of the building reads “"Suave, mari magno turbantibus aequora ventis e terra magnum alterius spectare laborem."; meaning "Tis pleasant, safely to behold from shore. The troubled sailor, and hear the tempests roar."


    I imagine it was quite a nice place to study or just look out over the ocean below.


    The Downhill House is now just stone steps and walls ever since a fire destroyed it in 1851. It was rebuilt but then fell into disrepair after WW2.


    I imagine it must have been quite the elegant residence.


    Since there were relatively few visitors, we launched the drone to capture some video and this photo of the Downhill House. Here is one of my favorites.


    Looking down at the foundation and layout.


    Passing through the seaside town of Portstewart.


    Dunluce Castle sits proudly on the cliff edge surrounding by cows.


    Originally built in the 13th century; the last resident lived there until the 1690s. It’s been slowly deteriorated ever since but is now managed by the Northern Irish Environment Agency.


    The views from the coastal road are some of the best.

    As we got closer towards Giant’s Causeway, I started to get a bit nervous. Were we heading into another tourist trap? The multitude of tourist buses and large parking lots suggested that it would be.

    Travel advice: Do not park in the visitor’s center parking area and pay the £11.50. There are much cheaper alternatives that are just a short walk away. We parked by the train station for £5.00


    The visitors center is definitely a unique architectural design that was built to compliment the basalt columns of the Causeway. We didn’t go inside because of the high cost.


    The walking trails, Causeway, ocean views, and today’s sun was all free.
    Last edited by travisgill; 11-24-2018 at 04:34 PM.
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  14. #44
    Registered User travisgill's Avatar
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    Day 11 - Mon, 03 Sep (continued…)


    I definitely recommend taking the Red Trail since it’s less crowded and give great views from the cliffs above.

    [
    There were even blackberry bushes…






    Some benches had some informative wood carvings on them.




    We even found this lady bug that kept moving making getting this picture difficult.


    The Red Trail winds down the cliff and drops you into this picturesque beach.








    Love the different colors of lichen on the dark rocks.


    There are over 40,000 interlocking basalt columns that make up the Giant Causeway.


    These unique shapes and columns are the result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption.


    The ocean waves splash against the lower columns turning them into a darker color.


    Lots of folks!


    The parking lot uses the unique but complimentary hexagonal patterns.

    Giant’s Causeway, you surprised me! I thought you would be a tourist trap but your many miles of trails and views from the cliffs above the Causeway made the visit definitely worth the time.


    The nearby restaurant called The Nook had tasty sandwiches and a side of potato and lentil soup.

    We continued along the coast enjoying the views, and wonderful sun, along the way...
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  15. #45
    '99 '03 '06 National Co-Rally Chair Friedle's Avatar
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    Aw come on man. You can't just leave us hanging like that. Please finish the story. It's like reading a book without the last two chapters.

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