We woke up this morning in Ashford Castle to a clear blue sky. After a breakfast, we were left our luggage outside our door and loaded our backpacks into the van. We were on our way for 40 miles of cycling at 9:00 this morning. We only rode about a half a mile before we made our first stop at the Ashford Abbey. This is a very well preserved Abbey. We learned that the most well preserved churches are from the church of Ireland, since in times past there were many interesting rules applied to the catholics. For example if you were catholic you could only build your church out of wood. If you were catholic you could not pass down your family land to one member of the family it had to be divided equally among all of the family members. So for a large catholic family it did not take many generations before the land was subdivided into sections so small that they were useless for farming. While we were at the Abbey reading gravestones, I did discover a typo on one from the 1800's the stone read that the couple buried was survived by "there" daughter.
Biking with DuVine is a bit different from the way I bike at home. When I bike at home I just ride and I keep riding until I'm done. With DuVine we ride, then we stop for snacks. These snacks always involve an important local beverage. We've tried some delicious Irish Stouts, a Smithwicks Ale, along with a some wonderful Bulmers Cider. Anyway, as I was saying, the weather today was fantastic, no wind, and some great sun. Here's a picture of Loch Fuehy (lake phooey) You could really see the reflection of the hills in the water it was so still.
Our first snack stop today was at the edge of Irelands only Fjord. Does anyone know what it takes for a body of water to be a fjord? Mike keep your hand down, anyone else? No, well to be a fjord, you must be fed by the Ocean, and must be formed by a glacier. For our stop we had some Bulmers pear cider (I hope someone in Decorah can get this) and some fruit. After a little rest we continued up the road to our lunch stop. We had a specially designed menu just for us. I had some seafood chowder, a crab sandwich (right fresh from the fjord) and some Creme Brule for desert. Below you can see a picture of the fjord.
We had one pretty good climb today, just before our lunch break. Jane had a little problem with her chain at the bottom of the climb and ended up talking with one of the local farmers for quite some time before she got a ride in the van to our lunch stop.
Another fun feature of riding in Ireland is that occasionally some sheep will be right on the road. Here you can see Jane herding a small flock out of our way.
After our lunch we continued along the fjord until we turned onto the coast. We stopped to check out the peat bogs, and have a little afternoon snack of some Harps Lager and nuts. Once again the views were just amazing. Now we are at Roseleague Manor. There were a lot of rolling hills today so we are just chilling, catching up and email and blogging until our next meal. when DuVine says their motto is "Bike, Eat, Drink, Sleep" they really are not kidding. We've had fantastic food everywhere so far, and I feel like every calorie I bike off, I immediately consume at the next snack stop.