Sunday, September 11, 2011

Inter alia the Cliffs of Moher

Thursday, 8th of September. When I started in Limerick it was in between cloudy and clear – and it would go on like this for quite a while. I followed the route Dave had sketched for me yesterday, and after I had left Limerick the road was really lovely, such small asphaltic paths, no traffic, all the green… Once I passed a track, a tiny level crossing, but a man worked there who opened the barriers manually by moving them until they were parallel to the path and now bared the track.

Cycling wasn't so easy in the beginning, I felt tired. Last night I felt bad – for the first time since I'm in Ireland – full of self-doubt, doubt in general, lacking confidence, somehow constrained, somehow at the wrong place in this life. It took me some time to fall asleep. For the last two weeks I was just there, in present, feeling alive, full of energy, domiciled in myself with no need for other securities. But last night and still this morning I felt so homesick, so lost. I don't want to have to fulfill societies requirements. – I have no idea why I feel so bound sometimes, although I should know I'm not. But go on cycling felt good, feels good in general, it just helps to use the body, to move on, to make things change.

From time to time there was some misty rain and also not so misty rain but mostly for just some minutes. Just nice cycling. Once I saw a car lying upside down next to the street, maybe one or two metres lower, and it was weird to see this. I had to stop to make sure that it was just the car lying there and no accident with maybe wounded people. Other cars passed without noticing what could have been a sign there's no danger but also that all these people are ignorant, but I would have felt bad just ignoring, as I know it's so easy to close the eyes especially if all the others do so. Certainly whatever has happened was time ago. But I was also glad I didn't act gutless.

In Ennis I couldn't find the junction up to Miltown Malbay via R 474, so I ended up at N 85, also okay and nice, interesting landscape and only on first sight to much traffic. From Inagh I switched to the R 460, what was just great. Rough landscape, fir forests, not so hilly, although it was high – but wide! The road passes on the southernside of the Slievecallan mountain. It felt really wild, much nature, marginal houses – and somewhere in this wasteland placed next to this street there was a little church and a school and nothing else. Maybe this school was build at this place as a compromise to all the pupils, the midpoint of all the places where they come from…

While I was cycling this area actually the sun came out – it needs so less to make me happy. In Miltown Malbay, a cute little village, I followed the signs to the public library to use a free Internet access, but nobody had answered my couch request for this night. I went on cycling the N 67 close to the coast. In Lahinch I passed a golf course – once again. I didn't count how much golf courses I have seen – especially in England and Ireland, they seem to be extremely popular. The Irish ones are very open to visitors. Doing golf isn't something very exclusiveness, no sport only for the rich, but something everyone can try out just for fun – so it looks a little bit like middle class miniature golf players playing adults golf… But also this place seemed to be much more a natural steeplechase course than a professional site.

It went late but now I came closer to the Cliffs of Moher. I didn't follow the straight route along the R 478 but cycled some very local roads which offered me the non touristic side of this Moher area. I did some exhausting cycling by following the little paths which connect all the houses in this area and also had some nice talks with some locals, who haven't seen someone like me so often before. It was fun. Then I reached the cliffs or more precisely the traffic guiding system and the parking area, where all the tourists usually arrive with cars and buses. The Cliffs of Moher are definitely the most touristic place in Ireland. It was told to me one have to pay 6 € to see them, but I have no idea how this usually works. At the time I arrived there weren't much people there, so I just went on cycling as long as possible. The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience closed anyway and I wasn't that interested in visiting as I try to avoid touristic stuff at all. Because of this tourism thing I also wasn't that impressed of the cliffs. Yes, it's high, yes, it's nice, yes, one should see it, but it wasn't the or even a climax of my tour. The most nice thing is to enter the "forbidden" area and look down the precipice – that's really high. What made me laugh (although it's surely not funny) were the signs where the Samaritans are asking if someone needs to talk, because it was first seeing the sign and then realizing why they are standing there – the usual tourists have other reasons to visit the Cliffs of Moher, what makes a funny contrast… At the cliffs I once again met Dean who showed his new couchsurfer around.

This day I ended up in a fantastic hostel ten kilometres behind the cliffs after cycling around 105 kilometres. The Aille River Hostel is a 300-year-old cottage lovingly renovated. And one can feel so much warmth and trust, all people there are so open hearted and open minded and interested, and Carl is the soul of it's all. If you are ever in this area, come to this hostel and feel at home!

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