29 September 2009

Bike Trip through North Clare

September hasn't been a bad month in Ireland compared with the summer we never had. So this afternoon, my husband and I set out on a bike trip around North Clare (the county we live in). First we went to Lahinch, a small seaside resort with a beautiful beach. Lahinch has in recent years become very popular with surfers.
We then went on via Kilfenora, home of the famous Kilfenora Ceili Band, and on to Lisdoonvarna, where the annual Matchmaking Festival takes place. It's actually on at the moment and the town was decorated with bunting. We were too early to witness any activities as most of the "dances" are taking place later in the evenings and at night. I've never been in one of the pubs or venues during the festival, but I found a nice video clip on YouTube (funnily enough from the BBC in the UK) which illustrates what the Matchmaking Festival is about:
Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival
We carried on through the Burren to Ballyvaughan on the North Coast of Clare which forms part of Galway Bay. The panoramic shot shows part of the Burren with Ballyvaughan and the sea in the background.
We stopped at Monk's Pub in Ballyvaughan, a well-known pub and seafood restaurant for a bowl of seafood chowder and then took the coast road via Fanore to Doolin. Doolin is a famous tourist spot for traditional music and you can take a boat to the Aran Islands from here where people still speak Irish.
On the way back, we passed the famous cliffs of Moher which can be seen in the video clip about Lisdoonvarna and went back via Liscannor and Lahinch.
A nice round trip of over 150km. The weather was kind to us and the sun came out near the sea, so we had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

Photo 1: Our bikes in Lahinch in front of the leisure centre
Photo 2: View from the Burren towards Ballyvaughan and Galway Bay
Photo 3: I'm sitting on a wall by the pier in Ballyvaughan
Photo 4: Sitting inside Monk's Pub by the open turf fire
hoto 5: The boat going to the Aran Islands from Doolin

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