I’m pretty sure I’ll find something to type about, but from my point-of-view, at least, Wednesday wasn’t the most eventful day of the trip. Dave & Bernie finished the second half of the Sligo Way, and I waited for them. That in a nutshell (and you’ll hear more about nutshells later), just about sums up the day. Oh, and Kay got a new job – which makes it a very special day for her. Congratulations Hun!
Setting Off – Sligo Way Part II
Right, I’ll try and add some meat to those bones…
Another earlyish start for the 40 minute drive back to Gorthakeerin. As you’ll see above, the sun was out and it made for a spectacular start for Part II of their walk. I left them in a cloud of diesel fumes and headed back east toward Collooney (confusingly, there’s a smaller village of Coolaney next to it – both of which the Sligo Way passes through). I got side-tracked a little (pun not really intended) by the sight of the disused Collooney Junction to Claremorris railway. I gather that the last train passed here in 1975 and it has simply been left alone ever since. IE still own the line and there is, it seems, something of a political battle over its future, the proposed options including; part of the “western corridor” rail link from Sligo to Galway, a greenway for walkers & cyclists, or being returned to farmland/developers. Meanwhile, it has simply been left to nature and makes quite a striking sight as a result.
Collooney to Clairemorris Disused Railway
Having taken a few, particularly poor, snaps of various part of the disused railway (low sunlight and busy roads being my excuse for a slip-shod job of documenting the scene), I retired to a coffee shop – inevitably. Actually, over the next few hours I tried three different places, not just for the coffee, but in a futile search for decent WiFI. Thanks to the SIM I bought on the first day, and Three’s pretty good coverage (except at Bernie’s house – although even there I’ve now perfected the positioning needed to consistently get at least one bar of 3G signal) I have been pretty much sorted for data coverage. Wednesday was different, however, because Apple released a whole slew of updates on the back of the previous day’s launch for the new iPad Air. Uppermost on my list of priorities was getting the new ‘Mavericks‘ MacOS X 10.9 – which is a 5.5Gb download and cannot possibly be obtained by anything other than really good WiFi. History will record that I never found a good enough connection in Ireland, and as I type this am resigned to waiting until I get home. It didn’t stop me trying though.
The first coffee shop was called the Gourmet Coffee Parlour just off the main N4 road at Collooney, but it was WiFi-less. It did provide excellent Elevenses and the venue for typing Tuesday’s blog though. Sad to report, thereafter I even tried Costa on a retail park on the outskirts of Sligo. They had good WiFi but it was limited to half an hour, unless you’re a “registered Costa card holder”, which I emphatically am not!. Kay is however, and I shamelessly blagged her number from her via email, but by the time it arrived, I’d given up on Costa.
There was a McDonalds next door, who can always be relied upon for conveniences (geddit?) and free WiFI. Indeed, between the two venues I managed to get a few updates done. While I chomped through a McChicken Sandwich and read Bill Bryson, the download speed was nowhere near good enough to get much of Mavericks though. I suppose I could have stayed there longer and got more downloaded, but in the end I really didn’t want to (sit in McDonalds, that is).
I set off to explore a little of the countryside to the south-east of Sligo, with the eventual destination of the east end of the Sligo Way (in Co, Leitrim!) at Dromahair. Following a brown tourist sign, I found a quite impressive viewpoint overlooking Lough Gill (after a diversion into one of Sligo’s housing estates thanks to a missing sign). This coincided with a short, sharp shower to produce a reasonably good rainbow.
Lough Gill rainbow
More of Lough Gill
I pressed on eastwards, through the interestingly named Ballytogher. There some wag had added an Australian “Beware Kangaroos” warning sign to the similarly shaped and coloured Irish road signs. At least I assume it was a joke….|? Still obsessed by a desire to connect to good WiFI, when I got to Drumahair, I resorted to something I haven’t done for years; what used to be known as “wardriving” (it still is, it seems). I found that the good people of Drumahair are very security conscious when it comes to their plentiful WiFi, so resigned myself to not getting Mavericks. This coincided with Jim Allen texting me a link to, as he put it, the Geek’s Geek review of Mavericks by John Siracusa. I got to about page 16 of 24 (the first of three pages about a new feature called App Nap) before I resigned myself to having been out-geeked. It passed the afternoon though.
Having been severely basted for impetuously (and unilaterally) expecting the Boys to appear about 16:00 on Day One of the Sligo Way, I knew better than to expect them much before 18:00 this time. As it happened, it was 17:45 when Dave popped into view, with Bernie only a creditable five minutes behind. I was duly informed that the gap was nothing to do with Dave’s walking speed this time, simply that Bernie had been delegated with camera duties (“He commandeered it, more like” – DC] and was performing them copiously (208 photos during the day – several of which were of things other than donkeys).
The 40Km (not to mention all the rest of the Kms prior to today) were taking their toll on both of them. Bernie mentioned once or twice that his hip was giving him a little bit of gyp. And if Dave said “ow” once as he levered himself into the car, he said it twenty times – to be echoed less than sympathetically from the two occupants of the front seats. We repeated the performance no more than 50m down the road as we alighted and decamped into The Blue DeVon (“We trade in Beer, Traditional Music, and Sometimes Gossip”). Two pints of Guinness for the walkers and a Diet Coke for the driver, collectively barely touched the sides. Then the third tirade of agony as the wounded warriors (only now slightly lubricated) got back in the car.
Siri navigated us along the lanes forming the most direct course back to Bernie’s house, through a village called Riverstown. This area seems to have some big houses with some very narrow lanes. This combination leads to some pretty hairy moments, as drivers returning to their big houses in their big cars along little lanes don’t believe in slowing down for oncoming tourists. “Coming Through Like It Or Not” seems to be the mantra around this particular part of the world.
Back at base camp for a splendid tea of sausage casserole – another Bernie triumph – then up to the pub with laptop in hand to abuse them of their WiFi. While Bernie and Dave chomped their way through not one but two bowls of nuts which the kind hosts laid out, I got about a fifth of the way through my Mavericks download before I resigned myself to not getting it until I get home . The observant will have noticed this was the fourth or fifth time I had so resigned myself, which I acknowledge makes no sense (perhaps on several levels).