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Up until now distance cycling was the 6km round trip for free range eggs or 16km into town for goats milk or any extra's that we might need (like dark chocolate), well worth the trip.

We promised to visit Simon and Sue, and said that we would walk with Molly and bring the tent. It was difficult to find a few days together to make the trip over and back without having to be rescued as it is Festival season and there are a lot of tunes to be played. stroller

Pedal Power seemed the only solution.



Monday 26th July

After a weekend of music we were up early and ready to set off at 7.30 . We had the picnic in the bag and our goal was to make it to Leitrim before dark. It was very exciting as it was something new to us. Dave, who was also looking after Molly assured us that he would come to our rescue if we needed it. It was a beautiful morning the sun shone on us as we bade farewell to our Tigin Liath. There was little traffic on the road and 20km's later we were in Ballymote drinking hot chocolate and feeling good.



Onwards and upwards as we walked up the hill out of town aware that the lads lived on the side of a mountain, we were also aware that we needed to pace ourselves and that the early morning surge of energy might not last. Riverstown was where we were heading now, the traffic was building and we had to cycle single file for some of the way. We soon realised that motorists have a low tolerance of bicycles and do not like to slow down, so some even overtook us on blind bends risking our lives, their lives, and the lives of any oncoming travellers. These are country roads, why the hurry ? life is short, let's take the time to enjoy.


Safely in Riverstown, the folk park is not open yet but we take a look around at the entrance, it saddens us to see the once such important pieces of our past just lying here without due care and decaying.

Its time to fill up our tanks, (no diesel required), Just yesterday we had breakfast here on the square as we had stayed overnight in the campervan after Saturday nights tunes.

donkeys So we fill up with a picnic on a street bench, renewed with energy we set off again, this is new country side for us so we are taking in all the sights at a leisurely pace aware that others are also observing the strangers passing.


The main road is ahead, we have researched our route well so it is just a brief 2km cycle on the R284 then we view our mountain road ahead, just about 15km to go. It is a very beautiful isolated area. We were accompanied by a dog for about 20minutes who was threatening to nip the ankles off us if we passed him, eventually we parted company.

We passed the sign for Tullynascreen mass rock we knew we were getting near, on to Killavoggy next stop Lisgavneen, but here we continued up the mountain instead of going around the side of it. Before we knew it we were right on top where the wind farm is, rough terrain for the 'ol high nellies, after all they are not mountain bikes. We found a forest road down and came out behind Lisgavneen. 55km, four hours later with two half hour stops and we were feeling good.


The lads were very surprised to see us, they felt sure that we had parked up the camper van in the forest and cycled the last few kilometers. We were welcomed warmly with hot tea and opened arms. Soon we all took a walk up the mountain and stopped to talk to a neighbour who herds goats and lives on wild plants and goats milk. Later we shared a simple meal, some wine and our life stories.


Next morning after breakfast we were on our way to experience the magic of the return journey.













More power to your pedals.




Home once more

All is well, just a little watering required and a rest in the sunshine to be fit and ready for tomorrow nights tunes in Aclare, and then on to Dublin for a few days, before the James Morrisson festival in Riverstown where we helped out with sound for the street ceili.

We still have the cycle bug.


A few days later we set off again, this time in the Sligo direction. Again the weather favours us and before we know it we arrive at the monument at Doocastle crossroads. no sign of the Castle though, we will make some enquiries (but not today). We arrived in Tubbercurry just before 10am. shops were opening up and the town was quiet. We pushed the bikes up the hill past the library and on to the N17. Here the traffic was fast and furious, and the road is narrow with no allowances made for bicycles. We cycled fast and in single file for 1km. then we turned off the main road for Cloonacool , phew..... not for the fainthearted. We arrived at our musician friend Monica's house to a warm welcome and warm freshly baked scones.



donachafiddleSoon the tunes began, the children played and Bessie too.

The phone rang, Johnny asked if he might say hello, we arranged to call, have a cuppa, a chat and a tune. Home to Johnny is a three roomed cottage with a tin roof, much like the one I grew up in, in north county Dublin, his more basic as Johnny lives alone. Time passed so quickly as all were as one, sharing and belonging, Johnny is a blind poet but that is another story for some other time.judyjohnny johnnysgroup











We leave johnny to have his tea,and as always theres a sense of sadness,happy to have been, and not wanting to leave.




Beidhimid arais aris A bottle of wine, some more tunes, a good nights sleep and we are on the bikes for the return journey. The freedom of the high nellies, what a gift to have inherited, me from my Mother and Jimmy from his Grand Father, blessings to them both.

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