Clonbur-Westport (Co Mayo) 72km
Last night I had a stopover with an extraordinary couple in an extraordinary location. Ed and Anya work from their home, overlooking Lough Mask, for a Falconry association, which means travelling around the world attending, and organising, events. Two days after my stay, they were off to Brussels for three weeks.
Their house is a traditional Connemara cottage, high on the hillside, surrounded by grazing sheep. During supper, I sampled both their homemade elderflower champagne and nettle wine. Surrounded by nature, they were feeding themselves directly with the fruits of the countryside…..and I spied a Richard Mabey book on the table, the late guru of the environment and harvesting the fruits of nature.
My destination this morning was to be Westport, popularly seen as the happiest place to live in Ireland,
but I also wanted to make a nodding acquaintance with Croagh Patrick, the mountain where the legendary St Patrick was supposed to have driven all the snakes out of Ireland, and where today people troupe up on pilgrimage in search of indulgences….. reputedly, 25,000 climb it on the last Sunday of July to attend mass and confession on the summit. The logistics of the whole thing are simply mind-boggling, not to mention the provision of refreshments and loos. I mean, the whole event will last about 6 hours, so where do that many people go for a pee (not to mention the other more serious business).
Having had a 62km ride against a very strong NW wind, my own ‘indulgence’ was to finish the day with a 10km tailwind back to Westport. Ed and Anya’s wish that ‘the wind would be ever at my back’ finally came to pass……😊