An early morning cycle, starting at sunrise, along the Barrow Track between Goresbridge and Clashganny was a great start to County Final Day!
Joe Sheppard, now domiciled in Manchester, a keen cyclist on UK towpaths and Sustrans routes, was looking forward to cycling along a riverbank as distinct from the linear towpaths that criss cross the UK.
Of good GAA stock, the conversations were wide ranging – from Ruislip to County Final Day; from Mental Awareness to Social Housing and Brexit; from Mary Teresa Kelly’s newsagents to out of town developments!
We don’t appreciate how much it means to ex pats to see Carlow doing well on the inter county scene. Joe and his son drove from Manchester to Rusilip to cheer on the Scallionaters in the Qualifiers during the summer. It was his sons’ first game of gaelic football and he was hooked. He marvelled at Brendan Murphy’s performance in particular – ‘ like a ballet dancer’ was his description of his movement and his agility.
Joe has been following the debate about the Blueway from afar, and he was initially all for it until he began reading up on the debate going on around the proposal. His position was changing before he came over based on first hand accounts of those who utilise these wonderful green linear nature reserve that we have hidden away so well in south Carlow.
After his cycle today Joe compared the route with what he has experienced in the UK. The UK routes benefit from hubs where bike repair / hire shops and coffee shops dot the routes attracting cyclists out into the countryside. The Barrow obviously does not have those key facilities but he maintained there was nothing to compare with the Barrow in the UK. He considers it a unique trail and would strongly be an advocate for minimal development. he found the route very passable – even though the grass was wet and long in places this morning. Interesting to hear the views of a very experienced touring cyclist from across the pond.
Here are a few photos of this morning: