Motorcycle in Ireland – Wild Atlantic Way and Ring of Kerry

Motorcycle in Ireland – Wild Atlantic Way and Ring of Kerry

For as many years as I can recall I have been managing to get to Scotland on one of my bikes, most years I have managed to make at least a couple of trips there. Last year I had a couple of superb Scotland trips on my bike one in June and then another a few weeks later in July both of which were wonderful. I was also there a couple of times last year with my wife, first in Arglye and then later in Coldingham in the Scottish Borders. It will be no surprise to regular readers to know that I was looking at making another trip to Scotland as my first bike trip of the year. At that point I hadn’t considered that maybe I should go and motorcycle in Ireland … which is exactly what I did.

 

What about the weather

In some respects I suppose it’s fortunate I’m not in a position where I need to be completely at the mercy of the weather. Being able to pretty much pick and choose when I want to travel and having few commitments that restrict me to certain times of the year is really helpful. This flexibility means I can avoid (to an extent) the frustration of having booked something months in advance only to find out that as I’m about to set off some gigantic storm is set to sweep across my route and put a (literal) dampener on things.

Even looking at and taking account of the weather forecast and making plans at short notice to try to catch the decent weather is never a guarantee in the UK that it will quite work out as planned.

Because of how the weather was looking I was a little unsure of travelling to Scotland. Some of the price hikes for accomodation made me even more unsure of going to Scotland for this trip. Of course I appreciate it must be incredibly difficult for the hospitality industry after the last couple of years, but nevertheless  some of the prices just seemed plain unreasonable.

One B&B I had stayed in before had put prices up by around 40% or so – and for some of the places I looked at the prices just didn’t seem to represent any sort of value at all.

It was a combination of the above that made me think about looking elsewhere, which in turn led me to booking a Stena Line ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. So within a day or two of deciding I’d go to Ireland I was on my way.

Ireland

Ireland

I have been to Ireland before but never on a motorbike. My wife and I had an excellent driving holiday in Ireland about six years or so ago and prior to that my only experience of Southern Ireland was a weeks school trip to Skeries … and that really was a  long long time ago.

Although I have also been in Belfast (in Northern Ireland) it was in a work capacity which of course is never quite the same as visiting somewhere as a tourist.

Ireland on a bike was set to be a new experience – and it didn’t disappoint

Ferry to Dublin

An online booking was made on the (very) early Stena Line ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. The ferry left at 02:15am and although only a short crossing (arriving at the Port of Dublin for 05:30) I booked myself a cabin so as to have a few hours sleep and get a shower before disembarking the ferry and heading off for the Wicklow Mountains.

It’s only around 120 miles or so from home to Holyhead and I left around 9pm and so had plenty of time for my journey. Thankfully the weather stayed dry, my journey was routine and I had time for a coffee from the pretty limited facilities at the port.

 

Only one biker

My BMW F800 was the only bike on that crossing and I was allowed to board first, which in turn meant I was in my cabin and in bed probably before the cars had even started boarding and I was sound asleep by about 01:40.

I slept well until about 04:45, as far as I know the ferry crossing was smooth and uneventful.  The overall experience with Stena Line was problem free. The online booking site was easy to use and I appreciated the helpful crew members who secured my bike on the ferry. All in all it was first class, and I’d be quite happy to recommend the Stena Line ferry to Ireland.

 

Motorcycle in Ireland

Arriving so early was ideal as it allowed me to navigate my way through the almost empty Dublin city streets before heading south of the city for Donnybrook, Glencree and up into the Wicklow Mountains. After that it was on towards Glendalough, Carnew and to Bunclody for a refreshment stop. Although my original plan had been to head for Lismore in County Waterford and then to the Vee Pass, I changed my plan and headed in the direction of Tipperary and onto my overnight accomodation in Listowel.

Overnight in Listowel

The overnight accomodation I had booked was at a Bed & Breakfast called Carriglea in the town of Listowel. My ride there had been about 250 miles or so, although I could have taken a much more direct route (about 170 miles and several hours less), but I hadn’t come to Ireland on a motorbike to take direct routes anywhere!

Listowel is in County Kerry, has a population of less than 5,000 and has a remarkable number of pubs and bars … I don’t think I have ever seen so many so close together in such a small town. I couldn’t resist calling into the pub named Mike the Pies for an excellent pint of Guinness.

Great accommodation

My accommodation was excellent at Carriglea  and on arrival I received a lovely warm welcome from my host Aoife.  My room was spacious, spotlessly clean and importantly had a bathroom equipped with a decent shower..

For any bikers who are considering travelling and staying in this part of Ireland I can definitely recommend a stay in Listowel and in particular at this B&B. Parking for your bike is perfectly secure, it’s just a short walk into town for a drink/bite to eat and Aoife is the perfect host and she was really helpful with good local knowledge and advice as well as cooking up and serving a fine breakfast to order.

In fact it was on her advice that I set off on Tuesday towards Ballybunion and Nuns Beach – but more of that in Part Two which you can to go using this link

Day one in Ireland hadn’t disappointed me, and I slept like a log.

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