Distance: 185km ridden, 0.2km swum
Pork Balance: Intermediate
Johnny Cache: 4
Dogs Stolen: 0
Visits to Cliffs of Moher: 0
Route: L3148 / R458 / R470 / R462 / R352 / N65 / R489 / R440 / R445 / small roads
Over breakfast at The Inn, we spotted Belvedere at breakfast, wandering around the tables no doubt telling them about his amazing Moher parking workaround. Cue a somewhat furtive exit - after all, we didn't want to take up any more of his time and prevent someone else getting this vital intel! As we were checking out we saw him boarding a coach of French tourists as their tour guide, wonder if he'll have them all parked on a verge and hopping over a wall to save a few euros...
Meanwhile in the countryside, David makes a last attempt at stealing the dog:
As arranged the night before, we all met up back in Quin (alas minus the jack russell) and went for a potter around the friary...
Seems that whoever carved this tombstone wasn't in the habit (boom boom) of planning their lines of text:
The nice bloke who took our group picture also decided to try to give us the skinny on parking at the cliffs of Moher. Is this some kind of trick to play on tourists or something? Alas we'll never know as it would be a pretty big detour from today's route.
Back on the road, we head towards Lough Derg. A short pause for cows, then back to the usual near-empty country lanes.
We arrived in Mountshannon and had lunch (more Special Toasties!) at The Village Inn, then since the weather was nice some of us went for a nice swim in Lough Derg, and all had a pleasant sit in the sun!
Carrying on, we headed into Birr as we needed to do a food shop - we're self catering this evening. However before we reached the supermarket we got a hankering for more refreshments, and found ourselves in Spinners - a nice cafe with a courtyard at the back.
A quick blast around Tescos later, we set off through Kinnitty Forest. Not many good places for overtaking if you get stuck behind a car, but that's okay 'cos there's lots of places to stop for great views here!
As we exited the forest and headed towards our hotel through Port Laoise, we were all missing the coastal feeling - I'm sure these inland towns have their charm but it perhaps isn't so apparent when driving down the high street.
Anyway, we'll never know as we're not stopping - we're heading to our accommodation for the evening, which takes the form of the rather ridiculous Ballesteros Penthouses. No, none of us plays golf, this just happened to be available and in the right place - so none of us knew what to expect from apartments fitted out to the exacting standards of Seve himself.
It turns out that he has a bit of a penchant for gilding, marble, chunks of doric column, and general mock-something-or-other (I would say rococo but I don't think there was that much of a plan) design motifs! We all pretty much cracked up as soon as we opened the doors.
To be honest I'd have preferred it if they'd spent a bit less time buying vases and a bit more time making sure that the windows opened and the like, but I guess if you're a famous golfer you take certain things for granted. But still, we managed to collect together enough utensils from the two apartments to cook dinner, and spent the evening scoffing fajitas and drinking wine. Cheers!