The final days of our trip were spent in the very north of the country. We paid homage to Joey and Robert Dunlop at their memorial garden in Ballymoney, which coincidentally, is the town where I was born. Lucy and I rode the legendary North West 200 track up and around Portrush. The fact that the country’s biggest sporting and social event is based around two wheels not four legs, should have TBM readers itching to visit.
We spent a great day walking the pristine sands at White Park Bay and exploring the bizarre rock formations at The Giant’s Causeway world heritage site. While listing in on a tour guide’s description of the 60 million year old history of how these formations came into being, a pair of sharply dressed Americans interjected. ‘But the world is only 9,000 years old according to the bible. This explanation is nonsense.’
Now Ireland has seen it’s fair share of disagreement when it comes to the subject of religion so a delicate response was needed. Quick as a flash the guide said: ‘I agree, I never believed all that scientific evidence and research. The Causeway was in-fact built by the giant Finn MacCool who built a bridge across to Scotland so he could have a punch up with a Scottish Giant.’ Everyone laughed… well, everyone except the creationists.
Our final afternoon was a special one - we followed the 50-mile road that leads you around the rugged outcrop defining one edge of the North Channel in the north east of Ireland. With its combination of smooth tarmac and savage beauty this was easily the best road we had travelled on during our tour and again a slow and psychedelic sunset bade us farewell. Destination the overnight Stenna Line ferry departing from Larne and taking us to Fleetwood.
Lying in my bunk on the ferry home we both reflected on the trip. Riding two-up on a big trailie was great, though my side ached from Lucy’s prodding finger when unhappy with my speed. It proved a really social way to travel; I kept my promise to ‘Killer Hands’, as we didn’t come across even a drop of rain.
Was it a dangerous trip? What risks did Lucy take to face her personal Everest? I think the biggest issue of a successful ‘summit’ is how do you capture that feeling again. The same with our voyage around Ireland… How the hell do you top that?
BMW and Vines of Guildford for the loan of the 30th Anniversary edition BMW F800GS
Feridax for the clothing and helmets - www.feridax.com
Adventure Spec for the Pants - www.adventure-spec.com
Irish Ferries www.irishferries.com
Morrison Hotel in Dublin - www.morrisonhotel.ie
Max Couque at Galway Fishing - www.galwayfishing.ie
Ashford Castle at Coin - www.ashford.ie
7th Wave Surf School - www.surfsligo.com
Brian McGirr at Trail Bike Ireland www.trailbikeireland.co.uk
Killyhevlin Hotel & Chalets - www.killyhevlin.com
Eddie McGovern - Fermanagh Tourism - www.fermanagh.gov.uk
Philip Coldwell at HTM Trail & Enduro Ballymena - www.htmtrailenduro.co.uk
Stenna Line (Ferries) - www.stenaLine.co.uk
Phil Cosby (musician) - www.philcosby.com