On the second day, the ride took us through Glenveagh National Park and then to Glenveagh Castle. The national park was mostly "bog lands" and low mountains. Bog lands are full of something called "turf," which is an interesting thing that we don't really have in the US that I know of. Basically, it's thousands of years of wet, dead grass, all layered up. They dig it up with shovels that produce little brick-sized pieces that they dry out and burn as fuel. Here's a trench where they have been digging it up.
Here's what the area looked like. There were no fences or gates and we were able to ride off on random dirt roads.
was pretty cool but wasn't really my favorite kind of castle. It was built pretty recently, 1870's, by a rich guy basically for the hell of it, and he was an *******. It was pretty, though, and had a great view.
After the castle and park was a ride out to the Slieve League cliffs
. They are less popular than the Cliffs of Moher but that meant that we didn't have to pay to get in, there were no touristy gift shops full of junk, and no crowds. They were my favorite part of the day. The pictures, of course, don't do the place justice.
My girl is fascinated by rocks so she was looking at every single one of them and picking them up and ended up finding this amusing specimen.
As kind of a bonus, you can see this lone tower thing from the parking area. I took this picture through a set of binoculars and we decided to go see it up close.
There was no path to it, so we had to ride to where we thought it was, park, and walk toward the ocean to try and find it. Everything is so green and the grass grows so thick and fast that there was no obvious trail.
Here's what it looked like on the inside.
Here's what the sunset looks like over the North Atlantic.
It's hard to convey the way the ground is in Ireland. When I stood still, I could watch the ground flex as my girlfriend walked on it. Like the whole thing would move under her foot and all around. It was like a giant sponge we were walking on. The whole place looked like a golf course. Presumably the sheep keep the grass short. It was weird. There were no dirt-spots from constant foot traffic. It was like we were the only ones who had ever been there...
Our parking spot for the tower exploration expedition and the road back to the hotel.
The ride home that evening was a mess. We still didn't understand the GPS properly and it took us on some sort of long route home, where we passed the town and didn't realize it until we were about 20 miles out. While we were idling, trying to figure out the GPS, the oil light on her bike came on. I tried to check the oil but discovered that someone had cross-threaded the dipstick in the past, which made it almost impossible to get it back in. It was already dark, we probably lost an hour and a half, and we were cold. We had done a lot of hiking at the cliffs so we were tired too. We were so glad to be back at the room and then it took me 20 minutes and an actual internet search to figure out the weird European shower faucet. I think I was asleep before I actually made it to bed.