Thursday 6 July 2023

Retirement trip - Day 38

Left Limerick in (guess what?) light drizzle and made my way to the motorway. Since the first day of the trip where I used motorways to get from my house to Portsmouth, I had managed to avoid motorways and and travelled only on back roads. However, this was my last day and I wanted to get to the ferry terminal in Belfast in time to get the boat back to Scotland.

Not much to report about the trip, the road was fairly empty and free flowing until I got close to Dublin where it got a bit busier and was fairly stop/start getting onto the ring road. After that it quietened, and was very clear up until I got close to Belfast. At some point I crossed the border, but as it's not marked, I only realised when I saw a sign referring to the road as the A1 rather than the N1, and the town names were in English only.

I had booked onto the 19:30 sailing, but arrived at the ferry terminal at around 14:00 and managed to change my sailing to the one at 15:30. I rode out of the ferry terminal to fill up with petrol and returned to take my place in the queue to get on the boat. We were soon told to board the ferry and our bikes safely tied down for the two hour crossing.

The crossing was very smooth and is long enough for you to get a couple of cups of coffee, walk around the deck, and have a look at things in the shop. Eventually we were called down to the car deck, bikes unstrapped, and we waited for the doors to open.

However, a crew member told us all to make our way back up to the restaurant and await further instructions. When we got there the crew counted all of the passengers and informed us that a man had ended his life by jumping from the ship into the sea as the boat docked. 

We had to wait as the emergency services retrieved the man from the sea, a helicopter took him away, and the Police interviewed witnesses to the incident. It was about two hours before we were allowed to leave and they informed us that we would disembark slowly as the Police wanted to question each passenger. Luckily, motorcyclists were allowed to leave the boat first, I was the third person off the bot, I was asked some questions by the Police and allowed to go on my way. The ride back from Cairnryan was uneventful, just taking place in varying levels of rain! Just after Ayr, when the rain was particularly heavy, my bike stuttered and cut out. It took me a few minutes to get it restarted and it ran OK all the way home. I assume this was caused by water getting into the electrics, possibly those that had loosened earlier in the trip, something I will look at later.

After about two and a half hours I made it back to my house. 38 days, 6 countries, 3 ferries, 6700 miles/10,800 km and a lot of memories. It was an amazing trip, visited lots of interesting places, rode on some amazing roads, and the bike (mostly) behaved itself. The Bonneville showed itself to be a very competent touring bike, and one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone.

I'll write an article soon about what I learned on the trip, what I would have done differently, etc, etc.

Wednesday 5 July 2023

Retirement trip - Day 37

 Went back into the city centre in the morning, but it rained fairly heavily so I made my way back to where I was staying and rearranged my luggage and had a sleep in the afternoon.

In the evening I made my way back to King John's Castle for the second concert I had come to see.

They put on a great concert and, despite the rain now and again, the crowd really enjoyed it.

Went back to my accommodation after the concert and got ready for heading back on the road tomorrow. 

Tuesday 4 July 2023

Retirement trip - Day 36

 Had a day off the bike exploring Limerick. It's a very nice city with plenty to see and a friendly 'small town' atmosphere about it. The city centre is laid out in a grid so is very easy to navigate.

I visited two museums, Limerick Museum and The Hunt Museum, which gave a lot of information on the history of the city.

Limerick Museum is the plain fronted building, the building with the columns is a church.

There is also a small art gallery in a very pleasant park.

I visited King John's Castle and the interpretative centre has a very good display about its history.

Wandering around the city I saw statues commemorating actor Richard Harris,

television and radio presenter Terry Wogan,

and a sculpture commemorating the work of dockers at the city's quays. 

I also saw this interesting entrance to an auctioneer's yard.

I posted this photo on Facebook and my friend Sean replied with a period newspaper cutting.

Monday 3 July 2023

Retirement trip - Day 35

 Left Killorglin on a slightly drizzly morning and rode to my first destination of the day, the Lartigue Monorail at Listowel, Co Kerry. This is a truly bizarre raiway with a raised monorail built by French engineer Charles Lartigue. I believe the raised centre rail was to allow the railway to be built in the Sahara desert where conventional rails would be covered in sand. Why it was built in the west or Ireland and not Morocco or Algeria is a bit of a mystery. Unfortunately, it was still morning when I arrived and it doesn't open until the afternoon, so I could only make a video standing outside! Website

Undaunted by that disappointment I headed to my next destination, the Flying Boat Museum at Foynes, Co. Limerick. However, when I arrived I found that it was partly closed due to refurbishment! However, the control tower and restored flying boat were open and they were showing videos in the cafe.

I carried on and saw signs for the town of Adare. I had heard this referred to as 'the prettiest town in Ireland', so went for a look. The pretty part is certainly true, but it also appears to be 'the busiest town in Ireland' with the main street being a two way, slow moving traffic jam! I also totally failed to find anywhere to park the bike, so had to leave without stopping.

I headed on to wards my destination for tonight, the city of Limerick. I had rented a room in a large house for three days, but when I arrived I found the gates locked. I managed to contact the owner and they texted me the code for the gate, the front door, and which room I should take. The room was very nice and I carried my luggage in, got changed, hung my wet clothes out to dry and wandered into the city centre. I made my way to King John's Castle and managed to sneak in and take a look at the stage that had been erected for the concert I was attending tonight.

I had a wander around the city centre, got something to eat then headed back to my accommodation, a short 15 minute walk away.
At the accommodation there was another bike parked, a British registered Royal Enfield 350. I didn't see the owner and it left the following morning.

Back to the castle and remember the hassle I had over tickets I mentioned yesterday? About half the people in the queue had printed their tickets onto a piece of paper, and those that had bought their tickets from the local promoter had paper tickets and they all got in OK. So what was all that panic about having to use the new app all about?

We all got in and I managed to stand at the barrier at the front. The band were Kraftwerk and they put on a fantastic set. Unfortunately, I forgot to put a new battery in my camera and it ran out very quickly!

Took another bit of video using my phone, so quality is a bit poor.

Approximate map of today's journey.