Definitely sick, prompting a pharmacy visit. Pharmacies all over Europe have a large green blinking “+” sign outside, making them easy to find. Brand names differing in Ireland, the pharmacist picked out several medications for me. That complete, I headed out of Galway.
I pondered whether to take the coastal or mountain route across Connomara towards Clifden, and then remembered the mountain route passed by Auglinaire Castle, my entire reason for cycling to Connemara.
On the small road just outside of Auglinaire Castle, an older gentleman driving by stopped next to me and rolled down his window, so I stopped. Besides the usual questions from the FAQ, I learned most of his life history, with him having spent much of his life living in New York, but also owning a house here in Ireland. He also offered me a place to shower and wash up should I need it, a very generous offer. At that point, only 20 km outside of Galway, I graciously declined, but if I regularly wild camped the offer could have been timely. He also provided some navigational tips on how to get to Oughterard once I visited Auglinaire Castle.
Auglinaire Castle sits just outside of Oughterard as a example of the classic Irish tower castle. Unfortunately they did not permit tours inside the tower today, but no charge for wandering about the outside. I wish I’d been able to tour inside; they located the door on the ground floor, and I couldn’t find any sign on the exterior of the location of the original door on the second floor, the normal location.
During our honeymoon Marnie and I passed by Connemara because the contours on our map indicated significant mountains. With a better map, and now having cycled across from Galway to Clifden, the main roads run through the valleys, with no major elevation changes. With a limited shoulder, and traffic limits of 100 kph, I would have traded some room on the road for some elevation. With the continuing dark grey days of Ireland, I appreciate the gift of the neon yellow vest all the more.
The head cold leaves me with less energy, so I took my time. When I arrived at my next potential stopping point (the next hostel), 60 km from Galway, I decided to press on to Clifden. The winds turned, clouds darkened, the road began to climb, and I pondered the wisdom of that choice. Fortunately those circumstances didn’t last long, and I arrived in Clifden by 4:00 pm, plenty of time to go by Tourist Information should I need assistance. The hostel host maintains the registry with paper and whiteout, but after some pondering he decided he had a bed available. I spent part of the early evening working on the upcoming routes. I’m still working to reacquire the habit of planning my route every day, made more complicated by carefully laying out routes with a fallback plan.
Even run down a bit, until the end of the day I managed a slow steady pace, so the same plan for tomorrow. I have a hostel at the 30 km and 50 km point before pushing back over to Cong, the filming location for John Wayne’s “The Quiet Man”. The forecast tomorrow calls for warm weather and sun, without indicating any rain at all – highly unusual.