24 May 2009

Trip to Glendalough,County Wicklow, thurs 21/5/09

At 2.00pmI took a Mad urge to go for a Spin on my New Bike maybe out as far as Bray County Wicklow 15 Miles away then Home and by the Time I got ready to go it had gone 2.30 pm. But as it turned out Half in my Mind I was thinking about going to Glendalough, the Ancient Monastic Site in the Wickow Mountains . Then when I got to Bray ,I said what the Hell might as well give it a Blast.

So off I went I turned off up the Dargle Road to the Motorway Interchange and up the Ramp to Access the N11 National Primary Road. The Motorway is to the Right towards Dublin and the N11 is left towards Wicklow,Except with the Signs you can easily find yourself going on to the M Way you have to think about it and Double back to Access the N11. These M Way Interchanges are not Designed for Cyclists as we are not allowed on them of course. But you would think the Signage would be better. What if I could not Understand English , It would be Lethal.

Anyway I got onto the N11 and went a couple of Kilometres to Kilmacanogue and I saw the Sign for Glendalough, I had intended to go as far as Ashford before turning Right because on the Map I did not see any Mountains. However without looking at the Map, I decided to turn Right at Kilmacanogue big Mistake. After going 3 Hundred Metres I discovered I was going Uphill, I had to get off the Bike and Walk,and Walk and Walk for how long I do not know up a Mountainside Road. Up the Sugarloaf past Callary Quarry, I was wondering what all the Lorries were coming from I must have gone 250 Metres up until I reached the Summit. I was Exhausted plenty of Tour Buses and a few Road Cyclists came Tearing down the Mountainside past me.

After a Rest I was able to proceed comfortably at a fast pace and then Fly down the Hill for a Dozen Kilometres or more . Past through Roundwood the Highest Village in Ireland so it said on the Sign then the Nice Village of Annamoe where Roses Tea Rooms The Cyclists Tea Rooms were but as it was gone 5.30 or 6.00pm it was closed. Then eventually through the The Lovely Village of Laragh then a short Distance St Kevin's Bed's Glendalough.

It was Marvelous Cycling through the Mountains, The Smell of the Yellow Gorse a kind of Hair Oil Smell then Wild Mountain Tyme and then the Smell of the Pine Forests and the Beautiful Ferns at the side of the Road. I got to Glendalough at 7.00pm ,I did not have long to Sightsee I wanted to be as Near to Dublin before it got Dark so I left at 7.15 pm.

I took the Blessington Road Straight up another Mountain again Walking ,It must have been about 420 Metres Uphill. I calculated it would be around 10 Kilometre I would have to Walk. It took me from 7.15pm - 9.15 pm Two Hours Hard going until I got to the Summit of the Wicklow Gap Stopping every so often for rests and Slugs of Water and Energy Bars With Table Mountain to my Left and Tonelegee Mountain 817 mtr above Sea Level to my Right with the Valley and the Glendassan River between the two Mountains. Up on the Hillside I could see these little Shapes like Birds I thought then Wild Goats and then I discovered they were Deer on a 45 Degree Angle Jumping around the Granite Boulders.

By now it was getting Chilly but it was strange I was Sweating a bit and yet there was a Cold Breeze and I did not want to put on my Cardigan as I was afraid I would be to Hot. After I left the Summit I put on my Cardigan then when I started to Speed down the Hillside I started getting Colder so I put on my Goretex Jacket as well. Then it was getting Dark so I put my Lights on.

Eventually I noticed my front Light was getting Darker and it was Pitch Black on t he Country Roads then I came to a Hill and had to Walk then after a few Kilometre I could Cycle again. At this Stage I had almost no Light in the Front so I put on my HI VIZ Vest. I switched off the Light any time I was Walking to conserve Power for Cycling leaving just the Back Light on.

It was Dangerous with Cars coming toward me with their Headlights full on,it Blinds you for a Second or so and you have to Steer Dead Straight. When I got to Blessington and the other Towns and Villages I was glad of the Street Lights for awhile then Black again. It Rained throwing The Light from the Sky on to the Road a Bit so I could see a little bit. I eventually got to Crooksling Nursing Home ,then Down the Big long Hill into Tallaght for several Kilometres back into the Lights of Dublin Suburbs then Templeogue ,Terenure, New Street ,then into Dublin and Home at 2.30am. Tried to get some Batteries in the Allnight Garage Shop in Terenure but no Luck. When I was in New Street I saw several Cats and then a strange looking Cat with Long Legs and a bit Soggy with the Rain and I said Miaow to it like you do then discovered it was a City Fox. It was 5mtr away but it did not move it looked a bit stunned as I Rode past.

I saw Three Girls and a Man on their Bikes all without Lights of any sort and here was I worrying about mine. I saw the usual Pub Crowd on Dame Street with one Pub absolutely Loaded with People nearly falling over the Rail outside where the Smoking area is and you can sit . I heard the Sound of Hysterical Laughter from Young Girls Enjoying themselves and their Men Friends and Loads of Taxis waiting to pick them up. I saw a few People with Bicycles walking along, how the Scene has changed in Dublin People out with their Bikes at 2.00am in the Morning. I had some Prawns potato and Cabbage with Tea before going to Bed at 5.00am.
I was Sore and I only thought of the Boots Muscle Pain Gel the Next Day. I could do with that Stuff Assos Chamois Rub. I have Calculated I must have gone around 70 Miles in a Circle around Wicklow and back to Dublin. The Photo's below were taken with a Sony Ericsson Mobile Phone .800 Cybershot as my two othe Cameras are no more ,one stopped Working the Olympus and the other got Flattened by a Car in Balbriggan the Fuji.


anna said...

Sounds like a nice trip apart from the light problem at night. What's it like cycling on the N11? I suppose it's rather stressful as the cars go pretty fast. Can you cycle on the hard shoulder?

le homme au velo said...

Hi Anna .From Stilorgan out to Bray on the N11 is very good now,they have put a Lot of Segregated Cycle Lanes up to the Village of Shankill .Then it is quite good out to Bray in spite of no Cycle Lanes.

It is when you come to that Interchange with the Motorway and N11 you have to be careful that you are going onto t he N11 and not back to Dublin on the M way.

There is an awful lot of Fast Traffic on the N11 ,it is almost like a Motorway in style but it has turn offs and Buildings like Houses and Business Premises. but yes it has Hard Shoulders for to Cycle on.

I have been on it before in a Lorry and they upgraded this Road some Years ago, even though it is not a Motorway it is very much like one.

I have been to Wicklow Town and Wexford in a Truck but not on a Bicycle.

A lot of small Country Roads ,they Travel on them very Fast . The usual Speed Limit is 80 KPH or 100kph.

Around Blessington later on my Trip back Home, Cars were Flying along. I am sure they were going well beyond the Limit. There is not many Police if at all around at Night in the Country and they just break the Rules the Car Drivers.

Apart from the Towns and Motorways being Lit at Night, the Ordinary Country Roads are Pitch Black. So if you are here on Holidays down the Country make sure you are well Lit up preverably with a HI VIZ Vest as back up.

Down the Country and especially in the Wicklow Mountains is 4+4 Country SUV . They go Pretty fast at Night.

By right I would suggest if you went to Glendalough by Bicycle it would be better to stay in a Hotel or Youth Hostel for the Night and Explore Wicklow at Leisure.

I had to do a fair bit of Walking up Hills and those two Mountains which Ate into my Planned Timed Estmation of how long I had to Travel.It took a lot Longer than I thought ,It is very Tiring walking up those Hills. So unless you keep to the Coast be prepared to Walk . Unless you have the Constitution of a Competitive Cyclist and can go up these Hills.