Some highlights of the Ireland trip

It is difficult to summarize a country such as Ireland in a few pictures. It has a unique, wild beauty which I have not seen anywhere else, a sense of history spanning ten thousand years, and a feeling of intimacy with the environment. Ireland is a biker's paradise - in spite of the narrow roads we never felt threatened and the drivers showed patience and a tremendous interest with our "weird" bikes. We often shared the road with cows and sheep, and were always surprized by spectacular carpets of "40 shades of green" interspersed with wild flowers, including the ubiquitous large hedges of fuschias.

There are many fairytale settings of castles and abbeys, such as Kylmore Abbey, beautiful sculpture blending in with the surroundings such as the spiral sculpture dedicated to St. Dierdre on the Mullet peninsula, as well as spectacular natural sculpture such as Downpatrick Head on the North Mayo coast.

The weather in Ireland is totally unpredictable, and sometimes changes from bright sunshine (we foolishly did not use enough sunscreen) to rainfall, and back to sunshine within the space of a quarter of an hour. We often found ourselves donning raingear and stripping up to five times on any ride. Only twice were we in solid rainfall for a few hours. A very strange phenomenon that we noticed is that you can often see the rainfall from a distance, thus in the following picture we were having beautiful weather on the Mullet peninsula watching the rain across the bay on Achill Island. In cases like this you always check the wind direction, since if it is blowing your way you should surely put on rain gear, even if the sun is shining.

Finally, the ever changing pallet of cloud formations and magnificent sunsets was always a delight. In the following picture we see an example of sunset on the beach of Enniscrone. We had just come out of a unique hot seaweed bath followed by an invigorating cold seawater shower - the relaxing beauty of the sunset made us feel as though we had discovered paradise...