Dawn Annagassan

Had a lovely spin to Clogherhead this morning. The rain threatened to be a spoilsport but it never troubled us at any stage.I was anxious however because I had a couple of new guests coming out and I wanted them to see this lovely route at it's best. I needn't have worried and at the end they said they'd be out next Saturday.

Really, once you turn off in Castlebellingham, the road is yours all the way to Clogherhead. It's time to get into the zone and enjoy the Wee County as it unfolds for you. Annagassan is a treat with it's little harbout and that lovely bridge over the Glyde. Annagassan owes its origins to the Vikings and apparently at one stage it was a toss up between here and Dublin for the Viking capital of Ireland. Annagassan lost because of the shallowness of the harbour but archaeologists have found very extensive remains from that time at a place called Linn Duachaill and there is a Viking festival there every summer.

                                                                      Bridge over Glyde

Leaving Annagassan we quickly caught up with the breakaways who had taken that lovely detour along 

Salterstown. I avoided it today because it's a road that can let you down, but fortune favours the brave and they enjoyed it. They dropped us for the second time on the way down to Port but I didn't mind as we were having a great chat and getting to know each other.

We passed Togher Church, which is an impressive looking building and has sheltered me on occasion from rain. The roads get even quieter now as you approach the beach at Port and the cycle beside the beach is a pure joy, unless the winds are south east. The winds today were insignificant for the entire 50k.

Togher Church with Cooley

We turned right at St Michael's Church in Clogherhead and headed for Dunleer. The Parochial house is on your right hand side and I only mention this because I got one of the best feeds ever here. We were cycling by last summer, minding our own business, when these ladies came out and blocked the road. They insisted we come in and have cup of tea and some cake. There was a cake sale on for the parish so what could you do except contribute and eat. God love them we were the only support they had then and we tipped them handsomely and ate out fill but it was tough to get moving again.

Anyhow the joys of cycling are not just confined to the physical activity. You never know what will happen when you go on the road. You meet lovely new people, you might have an absolutely lovely spin, which has been my experience over 17 years. Every cycle is an adventure, literally, and we all need a little of that in our lives. I did my first Maracycle in 1996 and I wondered where the buzz came from afterwards. Then I realised those 6 hours from Dublin to Belfast were one great adventure.  Anything could happen, and did. At Loughbrickland I clipped the bike in front of me and brought down 3 cyclists.The young lad at first aid in Belfast was disgusted at all the congealed blood and grazing. .

To get back to today, that road from Clogherhead to Dunleer has to be one of the quietest in Ireland. Pure pleasure. You'll notice I don't say we made great speed on it but we had a great chat. I met an old gentleman I cycled with in the past, the mighty Fitzer, and he was sick jealous of our coffee stops and chats. He told me that he stopped bringing even a bottle "because that time if you took even a sip you'd be dropped". Well we stopped in Foleys for our tea and scones and chat and the lovely fire. The only way to do it. The breakaways were there before us, so that made 11 of us on a drizzly morning. One of our guests was from Banbridge so I took her on a wee tour of Blackrock before returning to Felda. A great morning cycling, thank God.


[All paintings in this post are by a Dunleer Artist - Dahman Hocine of Kabyle Gallery.

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Tags: Bicyling, County Louth

Comment by Fran Reddy on January 13, 2014 at 4:23pm

I just love these quaint little stories of rural Ireland and the things that can stop one along the way! Very much enjoy reading them!


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