Coast to Coast Day 1

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble.
And if I stay it will be double..

It’s Saturday morning, 16th July 2022 and we’ve a decision to make. This afternoon myself and Mary are booked on the train to Castlebar, heading for Blacksod Bay to cycle Coast to Coast from the West Coast of Mayo to Carlingford, County Louth. Mary tested positive for Covid on Friday and its impossible for her to do the cycle. Her Mam too has been under the weather but Patricia and Eleanor are on hand and manning the fort.

Go West. Life is peaceful there. Go west. Lots of open air.

With her blessing, I reluctantly pack my panniers and catch the Castlebar train, feeling guilty. Any regrets were dispelled when an elderly lady I got chatting to gave me three miraculous medals; one for the bike, one for Mary and one for her mother. It felt like a sign from above! Right decision.

Hats off to Irish Rail. Unbelievable value if tickets are bought online – two adults with two bikes cost just €28. Rail staff couldn’t have been more helpful and it really opened any eyes for future bike trips.

The plan was to get the bus from Castlebar to Belmullet and cycle out to start at Blacksod. But it was a grand evening, so instead of boarding, I cycled past and head for Newport and the Western Greenway! It was a perfect evening for cycling; the Greenway was deserted, I only met three other cyclists on it and had it all to myself. The views across the bay to Croagh Patrick are exceptional and the path is terrific, just wandering sheep to worry about – and clouds of biting flying ants!

Wasn’t long till my arms were covered in ants..

It was after 9pm when I reached tropical Mulranny and after three refusals, I was relieved to get a bed above Ciaran Moran’s pub, Moynish House. A good start. 38kms done to ease into it.

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