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Dublin via Athlone to Cashel, Ireland (2,642kms)

Jul 30, 2012

A rather lovely memorial to an ancient old cemetery with graves going back to the 9th and 10th century. The surviving headstones line a walk into and around the Mortuary Chapel and give the village a restful little park. This was a project of the local Council with Youth workers in 1985. We were very impressed. We had to check out the village of Athlone because we have special friends (Bill and Kerry) who lived for a time in the little settlement of Athlone near Drouin in Victoria.

The day dawned sunny with big dark cloudy patches and has remained so all day. Thankfully we travelled more in the sun than cloud and managed to miss the rain entirely so Murphy a bit under par today. We donned the long johns to keep the legs a bit more comfortable which we were grateful of as when we were in the cloud it was decidedly chilly. Tomorrow is forecast to not be as friendly but we will see.

Part of the ruins of the Abbey at Clonmacnoise on the edge of the Shannon River. This was a site where pilgrims made their way to centuries ago. Still looks very peaceful.

We have travelled through lots of rolling green fields today criss-crossed by hedgerows and stone walls / fences separating crops from fields full of sheep and cattle. Less barley and harvested wheat visible today but much evidence of hay and silage. We have also noticed a huge number of new build houses all day both on farmland and in village allotments. These were particularly noticeable around the Athlone and Clonmacnoise areas. Interesting.

The bridge at Shannonbridge looking towards the ancient fort. This was no doubt a point of defence as well as management of trade by whoever inhabited the fort in times gone by. Great volume of water flowing and the quays each side of the river were in good repair with lots of modern boats of all sizes moored.

In an attempt to identify which County Cashel was in so we could find our accommodation we headed for another name on the map the GPS would recognise and ventured into the village of Roscrea which was a delightful combination of ancient and new buildings climbing up and down hills around waterways. We enjoyed a hot chocolate and discovered the Cashel we were looking for was in Tipperary County so set the GPS and headed off. The view of the Rock of Cashel (ancient castle) as we rounded the corner (almost into town) was a WOW moment and we look forward to exploring it before we head off in the morning. By the way we rode past two absolutely beautiful golf courses on our way to Cashel this afternoon.

A street view (from under a begonia pot) down a little street beside a small waterway in Roscrea.

Bits and Bobs:

The locals here seem to consider speed limits more a suggestion than anything else, particularly in the villages and at roadwork’s. As a result we tend to hold the traffic up in these areas as we aim to keep our noses clean in a foreign country.

Last nights’ Accommodation:
Grand Canal Hotel, Dublin Ireland

A very nice hotel, spacious rooms (loved the recliner chair) and sofa as well as plenty of room to do the blog and the best functioning shower we have found so far on our trek. The food in both the restaurant and Gasworks Bar was plentiful and good, we had undercover parking under the hotel and the staff throughout were cheerful and helpful.

Grand Canal Hotel, Dublin