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Ireland 1983

Ireland 1983.


I was a student at the time and after two years saving I managed to undertake this self-funded trip to Ireland.  It was to be a three weeks' bicycle tour of the island staying at people I corresponded with, camping, trying a youth hostel and being introduced to the "Bed & Breakfast" formula.


Ireland was not a common tourist destination in 1983 but having Irish neighbours a few houses down persuaded me to go for this trip.  It took months of planning, including writing to the tourist bureau for information and making arrangements for overnight stay, booking international train and ferry crossings, currency exchange, etc.


Getting there would involve a train journey from Brussels to Paris, change trains to the port of Le Havre to embark on an overnight ferry to Rosslare in the south east corner of Ireland.  I had arranged (by correspondence, phoning internationally was too expensive at the time!) to hire a bicycle at a shop in Wexford for my three weeks' (kind of ) circular route of the island.


Unfortunately I had to cut short the tour given the daily distances involved and because a knee injury hindered me completing the Clare and Kerry coastal route.  The knee injury is still problematic thirty five years on!


The July 1983 weather was unseasonal with hot sunny days.  I got sunburnt as there was no shelter at all cycling through the open landscape of the midlands.  I also remember road tarmac melting causing chippings to stick to the bike's tyres!


I had a wonderful time staying at people's homes (the people I corresponded with) happy with a couch or bunk bed for the night, even staying in a tent in someone's back yard, trying a youth hostel in a mountain region and staying occasionally at a "Bed & Breakfast" en route.


I don't have my old map anymore but the itinerary included Wexford, the Wicklow Mountains, Dublin city, Co. Offaly turf fields, Athlone, Co. Clare the Burren, Limerick, Waterford (Suir Valley) and Cork.


I was traveling mostly on local roads using an old road map.  Cycling is a great way to explore a country, allowing you to cover a reasonable distance every day at a leasurely pace yet able to stop to chat to the locals!


I have fond memories of this trip and have been returning to Ireland on subsequent holidays, in recent years taking my ham radio equipment for SOTA (Summits on the Air activations) and /M operation.




Scanned from gainy old pictures ...



The Irish Continental Line ferry from Le Havre to Rosslare.

Packed for a three weeks' journey through Ireland!

Unknown hill believed to be in Co. Wicklow.

Impressive turf fields in Co. Offaly.

Castle (tower house) ruin believed to be in Co.Clare.

Photo stop near Kilkishen in Co. Clare, on my way to Limerick city.

A younger version of me on a hill top on Co. Kilkenny ... a precursor to SOTA days.

Ruin and round tower on the Co. Waterford coast.






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