Tuesday 11 April. Docking alongside a Severn Class Lifeboat confirmed that my first bike ride on Irish tera-firma was likely to be my shortest. Less than 50 metres to Rosslare Harbour Lifeboat Station, where Fondo was unloaded and tucked up for the night. Many thanks to Jamie Ryan,DLA/ LPO, for such kind hospitality and a bed for the night at his huge old farmhouse overlooking the sea.
Weds 12 April, Day 104.
Back to Rosslare Harbour Lifeboat. Thanks to Michael (RNLI mechanic) for adding the 194th signature to the well-worn/well travelled chart. A long day ahead. First stop, Kilmore-Quay Lifeboat, 25Km along the coast into a brisk, cool, westerly headwind. Met a local legend en route.
Bobby O’Dowd, now 83, still riding his racing bike daily. He cycled with the famous Roches and Kellys and bought one of Eddie Mercx’s bikes from him when they met many years ago.
The Kilmore Quay Tamar ALB is moored in the still busy, sheltered harbour. (A quick reminder that most Lifeboat Stations here pre-date the 100 year old Republic of Ireland and they remain part of the RNLI, usually with a long, distinguished history of saving lives at sea. You can read their brief history notes by clicking on each named Lifeboat Station link as you read. Almost all of them also have a Facebook page with regular postings of recent activity.)
Another 34Km to the very contrasting setting of Fethard ILB Station. As usual, all unpaid volunteers. Many thanks to Walter(LOM), Eoin(Helm) and Kevin(Crew) for turning out to welcome me. Three of Eoin’s great uncles were lost in the attempted rescue of the crew of the stricken Schooner “Mexico”.
From Fethard, the direct route to today’s final destination would be just another 27Km. But Hook Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in THE WORLD still operating, is just a 16km detour down to the end of The Hook peninsula and back. Not to be missed.
Needless to say, by the time I reached Dunmore East I was well behind schedule.
But what a welcome from so many members of the local RNLI committee (mostly stalwart ladies plus a couple of crew)! Thank you so much Margaret, Carol, Liz, Carmel McAllister, Shirley and Eddie, for being there AND arranging accommodation at the very grand Haven Hotel, in such a beautiful setting above the harbour.
Today I have learned a lesson. You can’t rush through Ireland. The country is far too beautiful and the people much too friendly, interesting and interested. I might have to reassess my estimation of times of arrival and departure.