Leaving Westport in the rain to Sligo … grrrr … a necessary evil. I was way over thinking it was romantic to cycle in the rain, but too proud to bus it.
"Ninety-nine kilometers could not be too bad," I told myself. Shouldn't that be about 60 miles - a metric century? Didn’t someone mention that on a ride in NYC?
At the beginning of my journey from Shannon to Ennis I saw three signs at a crossing pointing to three different directions with no indication as to where they might lead. A farmer passed me and stopped his truck up the road. He must have seen me in his side mirror taking a photo of the odd signs and fumbling with my map.
I followed the big signs in the direction of Dublin on the N5, turning off on the N17 to Sligo. Screw the longer and more scenic coastal road - I just want to get to Sligo! The N5 had nice wide shoulders where I could safely ride next to the "heavy traffic." I was fed up enough to count the kilometers to every town leading up to Sligo. It read "7km to Swinford.” I kept on pushing my bike up and suddenly it is 8 kilometers to Swinford, then around the curve 3 kilometers.
The distances kept changing throughout the trip. Ultimately I relied on my odometer to give me a closer reading.
Memorials and Yearning for Luxury.
The landscape changed from the short Connemara scrubs and mountains to gentle sloping hills with lush green grass. The trees were abundant, shortish and with branch-heavy crowns. There were plenty of cows and a few sheep. Stone walls and fences delineated the properties.
Reaching my exhaustion limit at 62 miles with 10 more to go, I stopped to have snack at a limestone statue. Not wearing my glasses, I had to get close to read that it was a memorial for a young boy who died of the age of 2 at this crossing. His name was Patrick Moran, born on May 21, 1977, and died on May 15, 1979. Today's date was May 19, 2014 and I was born 16 days before him on May 4, 1977. He would have been my age.
It was airy after having talked to Genieve about Irish superstition and Celtic tradition.
I left in deep thoughts and arrived in Sligo at 9:10 p.m. looking for shelter. I made reservations at a hostel, but could not yet bear the thought of sharing space. The Glass Hotel had one room left and after dinner I enjoyed a warm bath and lying in the over-sized bed with WIFI watching Shawshank Redemption.