I’ve been toying with the idea of a trip around Ireland for a few years. 2016 saw me cover England pretty comprehensively and my trip from Lands End to John O’Groats covered a bit of Scotland but, apart from a brief incursion into Wales in 2016 I haven’t yet touched that – maybe something for the future. However Ireland has always been a favourite place for me: from fishing holidays in Donegal before I was a teen to visits to Belfast and Dublin and a memorable trip hitch-hiking around the south west just before I went to college.
Last year I cycled back from Sicily: how much harder can it be to circumnavigate Ireland whose highest mountain, Carrauntoohil is a mere 1038 metres? After all last year I crossed the Great St Bernard Pass at 2469 metres and in 2015 the Col du Galibier, an even mightier 2645 metres. Well, having done the planning, it transpires that it may be rather more difficult than at first sight. Last year my cycle computer showed that I climbed a total of 67340 feet over a distance of 1731 miles.
In 2016 when I cycled the County Towns of England, including crossing the Pennines four times and cycling over Dartmoor, the respective figures were 71751 feet and 2028 miles.
This year my draft figures suggest a physically staggering 93095 feet over 1968 miles. The problem is that none of the Irish coast is flat, so I shall be roller coasting my way up and down most of the time.
I’m praying that the practice will be less severe than the theory so, on 2nd September I shall leave Bristol by train to Holyhead for the overnight ferry to Dublin and, if all goes according to plan, I shall start my journey at about 6 am on 3rd with a (relatively) flat ride to Dundalk.
Hopefully you’ll follow me all the way around the coast, arriving back in Dublin on 5th October for the afternoon ferry to Wales.