Friday, August 3, 2012

Exploring County Mayo

You may not think 'beaches' when you dream of Ireland, but today we rode to one of the most beautiful beaches we've ever seen. Achill Island, connected to the rest of County Mayo by a short bridge, is home to five gorgeous beaches complete with smooth sand, green mountain backdrops, and pounding surf.

We don't often get off the bike and walk around, but the beaches called to us today. We couldn't resist walking on the sand and peeking over the side of the cliffs that plunge down to the Atlantic.

We stopped first at Keel Beach, where surfers played in the waves and two boys used kites to power their beach cruiser across the sand.

We then rode a short distance up a steep, winding, narrow road that led to Keem Beach, bookended by the cliffs of Benmore to the west and Croaghaun mountain to the east. The sheep cling to the steep cliffs or nonchalantly walk down the middle of the road. This is their country, and they walk where they please. The golf course has fences around the greens to keep the sheep away, but they freely wander around the rest of the course.

We continued to explore County Mayo, riding through periodic showers into busy Castlebar where the one-way streets through the old downtown area are barely wide enough for one car.

This fields in this part of Ireland are marked with beautiful, tall, limestone walls that criss-cross the countryside. An old, derelict stone church surrounded by some of these stone walls caught our eye.

A man drove up as we were walking around, and we started talking. When we asked him why the walls in all of the fields are made of stone, he said they have a lot of it around. Indeed!

The intermittent rain turned into a downpour, leaving large puddles of water in the roads. The oncoming drivers pulled over and let us drive slowly through the water. Once again the Irish are friendly and welcoming. As we took small, rural roads back to the B & B in Westport, the rain stopped and the sun started to come out behind the clouds. We crested a hill, and looked out over the green valleys and the Atlantic in the distance. The end of another glorious day on the motorcycle in Ireland.

1 comment:

  1. The beach looks beautiful must be a nice place to visit the Achill Island. For sure getting off the bikes and relaxing the muscles on the beach is good on a road trip. Am sure you enjoyed this.
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