I’m excited, the crisp morning is full of promise. Jackdaws cheer us on as we cycle the aromatic stone flanked roads that hug the coast. Blooming purple buddleia and fruiting blackberries, mix with fresh field mushrooms that smell of wet newspaper. Only cyclists know this feeling of renewal; all that we see before us is ours if only fleetingly as we pass through this space wrapped up in the moment.
We have been taking our time cycling along the unique Irish coastal landscape. Every little town or village gives us reason to stop and explore. In Kilcoole we joined locals at the community market where we bought a huge bunch of fresh basil along with a bag of the sweetest home grown cherry tomatoes I’ve ever tasted. We devoured them as if they were grapes.
It’s only just the end of Summer now, but already the air is icy. Defying the weathermen, people get about bravely in tshirts and young girls in summer dresses! It’s a wonder the whole country doesn’t have pneumonia.
In Ireland people will cross the street just to have a chat.
“Now if you were to shimmy down the path by the gate to your right you can view the only place in Europe where you will see three lighthouses in a row.”
“That sounds impressive!” I said.
“Yeah but the first two were built in the wrong place!”
Seeing the little Aussie flags we fly, a frail, older women called out “I hold the worlds record for the shortest stay in Australia. I flew out all that way to Sydney for me brothers wedding, only to get news our Ma was taken ill and me being the oldest, I had to go right back. Less than 24 hours it was.”
They couple who run the camping ground told us “The Irish enjoy indoor activities: Talking, drinking and fornication, our greatest export is people and literature. You know that God invented alcohol to stop us Irish taking over the world!”
I had to agree about Ireland’s writers: Maeve Binchy, James Joyce, Edna O’Brien, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Becket, George Bernard Shaw and Brendan Behan, who when arriving in Spain was asked what he would most like to see, and he replied “Franco’s Funeral!”
Cycling into a headwind up the never ending hill climb into Bray was taxing but we were rewarded with a new cycle path all the way into Dublin.
The Dubliners are happy today having won both the Gallic Football Championship and the Hurling final against Mayo and Galway respectively. The sky blue and navy chequered flag of Dublin County hangs proudly from lampposts across the city.
I think we will stay in Dublin for a couple of days before heading west to visit the vanquished in Galway and the West Coast.