The weather is generally overcast, with the occasional, brief glimpse of sunshine. The threat of rain seems constant. It is a bit cooler than is comfortable. There is quite a bit of wind. And there are lots of hills. And they are often steep.
The people are generally friendly and helpful, the scenery is wonderful. I’m not getting overheated. I don’t need sunscreen. The Guinness is great. I speak the language ( but can’t always understand it).
Cathy recalls an irish cyclist she met many years ago who said, to paraphrase badly, Cycling is all uphill into the wind and rain. Anything else is a gift.
So I have been endeavoring to view these conditions in a neutral way. It is a cloudy day. That’s an observation, not a complaint. This is a steep hill. Same thing. This is the nature of the place I find myself at this time. I suffer if I react with aversion. I am in Ireland. That’s the way things are here. Accept it. Embrace it. And consider sunshine or wind at my back a gift and be grateful for it.
That’s what I am attempting to do, anyway. I am not going to be successful all the time. But when I fail, I can eventually see the aversion and come back to centeredness and equanimity.
The ride yesterday was pretty easy. The day of rest allowed my thighs to recuperate. It was hard to leave the warmth, comfort, and friendliness of Mary’s Wild Food BnB. The night before, Mary prepared a delicious meal. I made a pear and almond frangipane tart, using Mary’s canned pears.
Today tested my equanimity. It was 50 degrees, deeply overcast, with a fine mist in the air. Even though it wasn’t “raining”, I needed full rain gear to stay dry – even the booties. The ride was on small roads through an area of small farms. The hedgerows came right up to the side of the road. There was usually no view, just the road ahead. And I am still feeling the ongoing conditioning of my body. I go slow.
Oddly, a few people I encountered today commented that it was a nice day. I think they were referring to the weather. I struggled to agree. Talk about adopting a positive outlook in the face of challenging conditions!
I stopped in Portumna for a full Irish breakfast, (because the Air BnB provided no food and there were no restaurants open at 8:00 AM when I left) then went to the Irish Workhouse Centre. http://irishworkhousecentre.ie/
Very well done. They have restored parts of a 19th century workhouse, and the tour guide was outstanding. It was a bad time to be destitute. Deliberately cruel and inhospitable conditions that only the most desperate would tolerate. The 160 workhouses were filled well beyond capacity and turned away a million people. Vacancies occurred because of deaths – at the height of the famine, 2,500 per week.
After the tour, I secured a reservation for a couple of nights in Doolin, where I will be arriving Saturday, then pressed on to Ballinakill where I am spending a pleasant evening at an elegant and comfortable B&B
It turns out that there is a folk festival in Doolin for the weekend I will be there. That meant it was hard to find a place. Instead of the hostel in the center of town, I’ll be staying at a B&B 3 km south of town. Doolin is known for its proximity to the Cliffs of Moher, and it is known as a traditional music center. So this should be a fun weekend, if I can make it there on the coastal road.