2015-08-16 Dublin – Donegal

Today’s photo shows a plane taking off from Dublin Airport as the sun rises in the distance. Dublin airport was really busy for a Sunday morning and there was a plane taking off every 3 minutes as I cycled past. There didn’t seem to be many planes landing though. It is possible that flights were landing at the other end of the airport and they just weren’t as noisy as the flights that were taking off.

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Today – 260 km. Total so far – 3080 km. Longest day by far on this year’s Tour de Travoy. With over 2,200 m of climbing, the route really took its toll and I was pretty tired by the time I finished.

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Bike and trailer ready the day before. In France, the trailer weighed an average of 30 kg so it was much lighter for my trip to Donegal.

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Ham and cheese sandwiches. If you have enough sandwiches, you can go anywhere. I had 6 ham and cheese with me for the trip to Donegal and eat them all.

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Big breakfast and a early start. It was still dark when I got up but by the time I had my breakfast, it was quite brightTwitter_3

Thanks to everybody in Dublin for looking after me so well.  After almost a week in Dublin, it was time to bid adieu and hit the road.

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Tayto Park near Ashbourne. Tayto Park features the largest wooden roller-coaster in the world.

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Ruins of Slane castle on the hill above Slane. Of course, Slane is world famous for it’s music festival which attracts crowds of over 100.000 to the town but today, there were more cattle than people about the place.

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Sign for the Irish Bog Snorkelling Championships near Carrickmacross. The Irish Bog Snorkelling Championship was first held in 2009 so this was the seventh time it was taking place. Competitors have to wear a snorkel and use flippers to swim from one end  of a 60 yard trench in a bog and back for a total of 120 yards.  An Olympic swimmer would take about a minute to swim 120 yards and incredibly, the world record for snorkelling the same distance is only 1 min 22 secs. The sport originated in Wales in 1976 and every  year since 1994, a World Bog Snorkelling Championship has been held there, except for 1995 when it was cancelled due to drought and 2001 when an outbreak of foot and mouth disease led to a lot of events being cancelled across the UK and Ireland.

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McAnenly service station on border near Aughnacloy. This is where the Tour de Travoy started 7 weeks previously but today it was only the halfway point.

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Signs in the North still show distances in miles. Looks like someone had tried to paint over the London part in Londonderry but the paint had just washed off over time.

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Bridge at Lifford into Donegal. The A5  in the North is always busy and also very narrow in places, so the Foyle bridge at Lifford was a welcome sight.

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Last hill today at Muckish in Donegal. About a minute after taking this photo, I got offered a lift in a van by my Dad. After cycling over 250 km, I decided I had climbed enough hills for one day and took the lift. So I didn’t get to climb Muckish but just as well as I would have been eat by midges the whole way up the climb.

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Long day’s cycling. I had done the same trip the year before in 12 hours but that day, I had a good tailwind and no trailer, just a saddle-bag. Today’s trip had taken me over 15 hours. The first half from Dublin to Emyvale only took about 5 hours, whereas the 2nd half between Emyvale and Donegal  took almost 10 hours or as I was so tired.

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Great to get home and catch up with all the news. After being away for 7 weeks, there was a stack of newspapers lying about the place including my copy of L’Equipe, from the day after the stage to Alpe d’Huez. I was so busy packing stuff in Grenoble, I hadn’t time to read all about that epic day’s racing before Noel packed it away for his flight back to Ireland. So it was great to relive all the drama of the Tour now I was finally back home.

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