On each journal entry I put the dates covered, the towns I stayed in and the cumulative total distance biked in kilometers, since the beginning of my trip.
I am close to the geographic center of Ireland and the countryside is predominantly rolling green pastures, with small farms of cattle and sheep. As I bike by some of the cows are startled and run and others come towards me, not sure why the different reactions. This herd ran towards me, I hope it's not because they mistook me for one of their own.
The land is often divided into small parcels by rock fences, something that I always pictured as typical Ireland and is what I will see more of as I head west and south. My back hurts just thinking of the work involved building these fences by hand.
Shortly before the town of Slane, I spent a few hours visiting the famous site Newgrange. For those interested in history, economics or politics, I will be writing a more detailed "letter" on each country giving an outline of the places I have visited, the history and perspectives on the people. It will be posted in the "Letters" section of my website when I exit each country on the way to the Philippines. There will be a section on Newgrange in that letter. Briefly, Newgrange is a passage tomb dating to 3200 B.C, making it 500 years older than the pyramids at Giza, Egypt. The entrance to the site has a "roof box" at the tunnel facing the winter solstice. On December 21st of each year the rising sun shines directly along the long passage into the chamber for about 17 minutes and illuminates the chamber floor. The rocks were set into place at the precise location timed to accept the beam of light long before written knowledge of astronomy or telescopes existed. It is a remarkable site and highly recommended.
A farmhouse near Slane, Ireland.
My accommodations in these last 5 days have been both camping and in B&B's. In the small town of Delvin, I stayed with Paul and Mary Devine. I took Paul's picture and promised it would be posted on my website and gave him the address so "his kids could show him how to see it". Paul is 80 years old and retired as a butcher. They have actually retired from the B&B business but Mary took pity on me as I rolled in and they decided to help me out. Thank you Paul and Mary for your kindness.
This part of Ireland does not have a lot of camping and I expect more as I head to the more touristy parts of western Ireland. The B&B's run the gamut from rooms above pubs (very common) to family homes in typical neighbourhoods to some resembling hotels. An interesting feature they all have in common is of course, the breakfast. They all come with a "full Irish breakfast" consisting of 2 slices of bacon, 2 sausages, 1 fried egg, tomato, white and black pudding, toast and tea or coffee. The "pudding" is made from the blood and innards of a pig much like sausage and then cut into small circles and fried. It certainly is not like the pudding I am used to so when asked if wanted some pudding, I accepted expecting a dessert. It has the consistency of a potato and not a bad taste but I prefer the white to the black. The breakfast also includes beans, as in pork and beans. It is a filling breakfast and not one I care to eat every day, a little too much fried food but it tastes good. Here is a breakfast served up by Paul.