Westport to Bunratty in THE RAIN
We woke pretty early without much sleep. Two surfers were out on the beach, probably from the van parked across the cove. They didn’t take too many passes before heading back in – it was pretty cold out and I can only imagine how cold the water was. We were able to make coffee and breakfast and pack up the camp gear without rain, which was so key. After looking at a map, we decided it didn’t make much sense to ride back to Westport to meet mom and dad because it was going to take us two hours just to get to their first stop at Dunquaire Castle en route to our next destination, Bunratty. So we texted the plan to meet them at the castle and hit the road again.
Then it poured again. I mean like really fucking poured.
I was freezing by the time we stopped for gas about 20km out from the castle. Despite the heated grips on the F700 my hands were completely numb (I had on two layers of gloves – one inner layer I use for extremely cold weather snowboarding days and one outer layer of armored leather). My Fox dirt riding boots had collected an actual pool of water inside them by this time. Even the inside of my helmet was wet because I had to vent it to prevent fogging. We had all rented Klim gear from Celtic Rider – jacket and pants to try out for the ride. And it proved to be far superior to any road riding gear I’ve had in the past. And this day tested it’s threshold. My core was completely dry.
What Klim gear can’t do is protect your ass from a completely soaked sheepskin seat. Write that down.
We finally got to Dunquiare Castle and somehow beat my mom and dad. We found out later they had tried to take a quicker route to get there, and got led THREE times to a road that no longer existed. The first word out of my dad’s mouth when we saw him was “miserable”. I’m laughing now, but at the time it actually was pretty rough. Once we found out the castle was completely outdoors and there was no place to escape the rain, we all said screw castles and decided to just hammer the remaining 80km out to Bunratty on the closest highway we could find.
In Bunratty we were staying at a place called Bunratty Villa; more of a family-run Inn than a hotel, outside of town in the countryside. It was beautiful, and I was soaked and frozen but all I needed was a nice drink. No bar. Ok a hot shower and then we’d ride into town for a drink. No hot water in the room. For a brief moment I wanted to bail and go to the next town where I could find an actual hotel with an actual bar and actual hot showers, I was SO COLD. But we all dried off, the rain miraculously stoped and we walked the 15 minute walk into town for dinner at Durty Nellies, a bar that had been there since the 1600s (and I stopped being a baby). I’m not sure whether my dad ate more there or on the way there – he obsessively picks blackberries any time he sees them and the streets there were lined with them in every direction.
We made a few stops at gas stations and gift shops to pick up some alcohol so our rooms could be properly stocked in the absence of a bar. The family running Bunratty Villa were so extremely nice that it made up for anything originally bothering me. They took all our soaked clothes to wash and dry them, and even hung my sheepskin out on a line to dry.