Treacherous roads, trails and beaches of Mayo

Disclaimer: this post may contain excuses, whining and blatant advertising, along with some of the most beautiful scenery in western Europe.
Nephin mountains in the west of Ireland

So I took quite a few pictures down in Mayo over the Christmas but I’ve been slow to update and tidy up my flickr account to a point where I’m not ashamed to link to it! Here are three photo sets you might find interesting.

Around the mountain, through the forest and down the rocky road

The 23rd of December was looking like a decent day in the midst of a stormy late December, so it seemed like a good idea for Dad and I to take out the mountain bike s for a spin. I bought him a Giant Boulder back in August, like every good son should, and he’s become an addict, beating me in mileage since August quite easily, like every good dad should.

A 12 mile trail around the bottom of Nephin Beg. A tough trail on hardpack forest roads with some serious climbs and a couple of crazy descents. I was hanging on for dear life on the second last, hitting upward of 32mph and realised that the trail surface was completely washed away by storms. Great fun, and as much work as a 30 mile road trip, easy.

My dad beats me

Earie morning along the ShannonFiguratively speaking of course. Never should have bought him that bike.

Our next trip was the day after Boxing DSt. Stephen’s Day – we had a long road trip planned, from the River Shannon on the borders of Leinster back into Mayo. Our planned route was around 47 miles with a potential bonus 20 miles if we were still up for it at that point.

Dad was again on his Giant Boulder MTB, but this time he swapped out his knobbly tyre’d wheels with a second set of spare wheels which have faster gearing and Deore hubs incidentally… courtesy of his favourite (and only) son. I was on my lovely Surly Cross Check .

He beat me, because as you’ll notice in the 2nd picture of the set, he’s cleverly wearing the under-helmet head warmer that I bought him, but I decided I’d be stylish and omit mine. It was a fairly mild day and if it did get colder I’d notice and put mine on too.

Five hours and one excruciating headache later I was reaching into my pannier for my new Thermos flask (thanks Dad!) of tea, and hoping that would help with the brain freeze.

In the end we got to Claremorris just fine, despite going half-way around a large hill, turning back because it looked to be getting steeper, and having our detour take us up over the hilltop – D’OH!

Following in the Footsteps of the Four Famous Flannerys

The interesting thing about the route we followed in the road trip to Charlestown is that it’s almost identical to the route that John Mulligan took on foot. John who?

John Mulligan , a close friend of my family’s, has released a new book called ” Following in the Footsteps of the Four Famous Flannerys ” (Amazon UK 8.69) This book details the journey of the four more than 150 years ago, and John’s retracing of their route in modern day.

John and my father have walked the same route as the famous Flannerys. Dad and I were cycling the final stretch of the journey that he had yet to complete.

All of the royalties and profits from the sale of this book are being donated to the Aurelia Trust a non-profit Irish NGO that works to improve the lives of abandoned and at-risk children in Eastern Europe.

West Mayo, next stop New York

Celtic cross in Belmullet, Co. MayoWhen I said “some of the most beautiful scenery in western Europe” I meant it – west Mayo is a fantastically beautiful place. Of course I’m not claiming to have captured that scenery in these pictures, but I’ve tried. These are pictures from walk on the beach in Belmullet on the west coast of Ireland on Stephen’s Day.

Blatant advertising

Yes, as if that wasn’t enough already – here’s the book information again!

Books on Amazon UK

Four Flannerys website

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