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Friday, May 24

Today's ride was from Westport to Bunratty. The weather started out looking quite ominous, however the morning's ride down the N59 and some R routes (N's are national, R's are regional) to the village of Cong, 20 miles or so north of Galway, was not bad, with only intermittent rain.

But the rest of the day was hideous. We experienced *very* high winds, weather reports carried numbers in the region of 70MPH. My Honda Deauville was a real handful in the stiff crosswinds, and several times I was afraid I'd get blown off the highway. The long, straight stretch leading toward Galway, where we were exposed to unblocked gales from the sea, was particularly hair-raising. We had lunch in the village of Oranmore but only after trying unsuccessfully to park the bikes on the town's main street, where the wind would have blown them down. We finally found sheltered parking and dragged our sopping wet selves into a cozy little cafe. They're probably still mopping up.

We continued riding to Bunratty. Often we'd ride at 30 or 40 MPH on the shoulder of a major highway, because I didn't dare go faster in the crosswinds, but yet we didn't want to be rear-ended by overtaking traffic, all going 60MPH on the main roads.

I had everything that would clench, clenched, and the rest, puckered. Even taking the most direct route from Cong down to Bunratty, we arrived feeling battered and very tired at roughly 2:30 PM. We collapsed into bed and slept like infants for 4 hours, in time to wake for the riders' meeting and dinner.

Dinner tonight was a "Medieval Dinner" at Bunratty Castle, a touristy bit that was nonetheless enjoyable if you didn't let the occasional anachronism (post-medieval music) or ana-geoism (Scottish bagpipes) get in the way.

These pictures courtesy fellow tour member Cherry.

Queueing up to enter Bunratty Castle
The performers during dinner at Bunratty Castle