We woke in Corofin camp site. The weather had taken a turn for the better. Blue skies and no wind. It seemed we had finally shook the storm that seemed to be following us. Breakfast was sausages with fried egg on bagels with salad and a bug mug of tea. We sat in the sun with the dogs and made a plan for the day. We had come across a campsite in Cliften that was supposed to be very nice so decided to set off on our way. Before departure we did our usual packing up of the gear. I set drone batteries to charge but we also did a check on or gear and reorganised out foot locker for the days ahead.
It was a 140km trek that took us through Galway City. As we passed through the City we took the opportunity to pick up some sunglasses that we had both forgotten when we were leaving home. Having spent the last few days in wide open spaces and green land the concrete and the noise was a bit of a shock to the senses. We got our sunglasses and back to the defender and continue to Ciften. Our route took us through Salthill which reminded me of Bray in Co Wicklow in the old days. A seaside town with a Amusements and Casinos. We figured we didn’t need to stop to explore and continued. We did stop on a Pier in Spiddel where we had the last of the Pork Chops. This time marinated in Curry Powder, dry Garlic and seasoning. Pan seared on Ciabatta, hummus and leaves. It was really tasty and something i will add to the road cook book for future. We spoke with a cyclist in his late 50’s who had traveled 44k from inland to see the view and was continuing along the coast. After doing some drone shots we got back on the road having made it almost 1/2 way and 70ish km to go.
The journey took us through Screeb then up to Roundstone. A fairly challenging terrain of rocky and mountainous roads full of dips and bumps. I rarely got out of 4th gear the entire time. As we were cutting in and out of land and sea we got to talking about what we wanted for dinner. I suddenly got an Idea for Lobster and Crab and Dee wasn’t complaining!! We were trying to figure out where we were going to get some after 5pm as we were arriving in Cliften? We parked up and asked in a gift shop and were told the local Supervalu had a tank. We swung by and acquired largest crab and lobster in the tank from the Butcher who was incidentally zero craic and couldn’t get a smile out of during the entire process of picking and packing 2 fish! We got some other things like butter, dill, white wine and some bread from a local bakery. Now full of excitement and 2 large styrofoam boxes we made our way back to the defender for the final 11km trip to camp for the night.
We arrived at camp for the night and as usual quickly set up the pitch. We also set up a fire for the evening as we had plans to dine in style! I started to get the Shellfish ready and began to realise that my big ambitions for lobster did not stretch to my functionally small pots. It was a possible disaster. How was i going to cook the lobster and crab? Ok so lets think about it logically. I simply need a vessel i can stick on the fire to boil water. So i went to “forage” something. The campsite were using beer kegs cut in half as fire pits but they all had legs. I did manage to find one without legs hiding in a corner. I then filled it with sea water (by choice) and stoked the fire and put the “pot” on for the boil while Dee went for a shower. I decided the only way to prepaid the shellfish was simple. Nothing but butter and a bit of dill. I quickly dispatched the crab and lobster and placed them in the boiling Sea water. Dee arrived back from her shower and prepare the best dill butter dipping sauce, boiled baby potatoes and carved crusty bread while i cracked shell, picked meat and plated. We quickly sat at our campfire for the evening and watched the last of the sunset while dining on delicious fresh Shellfish washed down with a very crisp Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and wondered how the hell did we end up here!!
Tomorrow day 4 the final day to complete The Wild Atlantic Way. Having started from the Giants Causway in Antrum to Achill Island and from Dungarvin Co Waterford to Clifton and everything in between, Westport is our finishing point and brings with it both happy and sad emotions to know our trip is almost complete.
We awake to find the storm has passed and happy to find all the gear stood up well to the driving wind and rain. We started the day by getting the dogs out for a walk and a breakfast of Pate, toasted rolls, yoghurt and a banana. First stop of the day was Doonbeg to stop in to a friend of Dee’s. The rain had stopped but the wind was still wild. After tea and some savage lemon cake we pointed the defender towards Ennistymon on the edge of the Burren to meet another friend of Dee’s. We also passed “Trump Doonbeg” on the way. The entrance had to 3 flags flying, the Irish, American and the Trump flag. Ironic that this guy would have his own flag and is potentially in line for the presidency (debate for a different day).
Ennistymon on arrival was pretty and full of character and had echos of Dingle with old style buildings and buildings painted in lound colours punting for tourism business. We stopped in to “Byrnes” where the decor was natural and pretty and embraced the natural waterfall it overlooks to the rear. Interestingly most of the river had been diverted as work was being carried out installing a new hydro electric system for the town. I was also the first chance to get the drone in the air and get some videos of the work being carried out. (Video to follow.)
Out next point was to stop was in the Burren. We pulled in and by now the weather had cleared to blue skies but the wind was still heavy. I decided to put the drone up and get some shots and to be fair the Phantom was well capable and counteracted the wind like a donkey eager to please. The Burren is a strange place almost alien like in its formation of stone. However it is also very beautiful and interesting to look at the phenomenon.
In the middle of the Burren we find Fr Teds Parochial house. We were as respectful as possible as we heard the owner is inundated with “guests” making life awkward. We quickly headed on to our camp in Corofin.
Corofin Campsite was clean and well laid out. Nicely full and not too full. We arrived late and reception was closed. So in true camping trustworthy style we set up camp and would pay on departure the following morning. This is a very typical thing that happens. We weren’t long setting up and Dee got a spag ball on the go while i had a “cup” of wine!! It was a welcomed rest and always great to have a really nice meal prepared for you. Dee makes a killer spagball and never disappoints.
We left home about 12 noon set to pick up the clare leg of the Wild Atlantic Way. The drive through the midlands is always slow and unadventurous. Never the less we ground our way through carlow in to Portlaoise where we got on the N7 and paid the sum of €3.40 to use the motorway network.
Not long after we found ourselves in Limerick and decided to take the Tarbert ferry as it would mean a more scenic route down the Shannon rather than the more boring duel carriage way from limerick to clare. We took the ferry to clare through the choppy and windy waters of the Shannon. After a short 20 some minutes we landed and set off for Loop Head Lighthouse. 1/2 hour off the ferry passing through Killrush there was a very strong smell of diesel. We pulled in to check only to find the Diesel regulator purging more than a 15 year old on junior cert results night. We limped back to Killrush leaking and looking for a dry sheltered spot to perform emergency surgery on the Td5 regulator. Shortly after with the regulator out now realising it was 5:50pm and everywhere was closed options became non existent. I began to remove the diaphragm by taking out the clip. To find one of the seals had failed. Now,if i was standing in Dublin at 11am on any weekday this regulator would be extremely difficult to find. ( i had to buy a previous replacement from Portugal.) in Killrush Co Clare after 5pm chances were non existent. Suddenly i remembered that i bought a kit of seals in Lidl and had stashed them in an emergency kit bag. I had a rummage and matched up as closely as possible and the diaphragm popped back in to the housing with a satisfying pop. I was hoping that this meant it was going to work.
After a few minutes of refitting the regular to the engine it was time to find out if it worked. If it didnt it would mean we would be stranded on the road and have to get recovered to who knows where looking for a part from possibly the UK. It wasn’t worth thinking about the fall out from that scenario. After switching on the ignition the diesel pump surged in action and the diesel lines groaned as the air was being purged from the system. And astonishingly no leaking diesel do far. A further turn of the key and the engine fired up in its usual quick manor and again it ran normally with no leak! SUCCESS!! The leak was fixed on the roadside with minimum tools and without help. A quick wash of the hands and back in the defender bound for loop head Lighthouse.
Another hour or so of driving on roads that look like they had been bombed back in WWII found us arriving at a misty and overcast Loop head Lighthouse. We were running so late it had closed. No big deal still amazing views of crashing waves against sheer face cliffs. Shame the wind was so hard i didnt want to chance putting the drone up to get some ariel shots in weather that bad. A quick walk with the dogs and it was time to make lunch. Pan seared pork chops in Turmeric and Garlic on a crusty baguette with mixed leaves, cheese and Mayo washed down with a savage cup of tea. All packed up and off to our campsite for the night purecamping.ie
Arriving at the campsite it was wet, windy and gloomy. Traveling down the lane we could see 2 tanker ships bracing the storm in the nook of the Peninsula. I found this place on the internet the night before departure and new little about it other than they had a Geo-dome and a Sauna!! Couldnt resist booking it. After setting up the roof tent and settling the dogs we went to the “Sauna” i was still stressed and patience were short after the diesel regulator debacle earlier so the Sauna was a welcomed rest. I have to say when i got to it i was a little shocked and didnt know what to make of it. I had assumed a nice Swedish type sauna with lap sheeted walls and hot rocks. What i found was quite different but not bad, just…. Well different! It was a handmade hut made from branches and what could only be described as a hobbit entrance. We had to get down on our hands and knees and crawl to get in. Inside we found an old gas bottle converted to a wood burning stove which was the heat source for the sauna. On the ceiling were little unobtrusive fairly lights. We sat back, took in the experience and enjoyed nearly an hour of relaxing and unwinding in the sweltering heat. Afterwards a quick cold shower and back to the tent for dinner.
Tonight i fancied something hearty as the weather was harsh and stormy. I decided to go for chicken thighs made in to a broth or soup with sautéd summer veg, (fennel, clearly, spring onion, onion and baby potatoes) a quick searing of the chicken and all in the pot for a fuss free dinner. Have to say it hit the spot.
Now off to bed to get ready for tomorrow and another day of adventure. The Cliffs of Moher, Fr Teds house and some nice food along the way.