Day 189: (Roscrea (Tipperary) Killaloe (Co Clare) – Approx 45km – Distance travelled so far 11,345km “Morning Mass, A cycling cavalcade, garda escorts and coming back to our family)”

Today we are just 35-40 kilometers from completing this journey. It IMG_0495 Moneygall     3693991244_e785e8f1b2_z
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     started over 6 months ago and took us through 18 countries.
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How naive we were
 Its difficult to comprehend.  We decide to head to mass in Nenagh.  It is being said by an ex teacher of all of ours, Fr Pat Molone.  We walk in (to some bizarre looks). Fr Pat notices us during his sermon and announces our arrival and our adventures to a round of applause by his clergy.  It is fun.  We are invited for refreshments after mass with Fr Pat, where then we will cycle out to Killaloe with a team of fellow cylists made up of family, friends and cycling enthusiasts who heard about what we were at.
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The crew
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Laura and Eilish – The press!
 Little did we know was that we would be given a full Garda Escort from Nenagh onwards.  It was such a buzz…who wouldn’t like it!!!!….
Photos were being taken as we cycled with all our family and mates side by side in ridiculously poor weather.  The roads were so familiar that our cycling seems like such an unconscious action to us, pedaling up close to people, avoiding such nuances in the road with ease, having a drink, adjusting in the saddle; things that would make us wobble and very conscious of just a couple of months ago.  We are hardened and experienced cyclists now.

As we arrived over the bridge of Killaloe in our native Co Clare, we could see our family, girlfriends and friends lining up waving with tear-filled eyes….It was pretty emotional for us hardened cyclists!! The Killaloe Search and Rescue team also gave us a great homecoming too!!….Crazy crazy stuff….Like a Carnival in Rio…It is fantastic to be home…We earn some fine pints of Guinness and are awarded a beautiful wood carved piece by The Anchor Inn.  The Share a Dream Foundation also say some very kind words and highlight the ongoing work of the Charity……The final thing we do is cycle in the gates of our on homes, before partying the night away back in Killaloe…..Yahooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!! Check out Gordon Thompsons pictures of the homecoming – They are pretty class!!!

IMG_0505Mike and Brian and their cousin David cycling up the hill to home

Its all over…..What can we say?…..We would like to thank all our families, girlfriends and friends for all their patience and support over the last 6 months.  It was just terrific and wont be forgotten.   We would like pay tribute to the Share a Dream Foundation and committee for what can only be described as heroic efforts in raising such funds for a very noble childrens charity.  For all the donators on www.thaireland.ie, who throughout the cycle kept raising the awareness of the charity….Thanks so so much.  For all the people who sent us such nice texts, mails, wrote news articles and memos, this was of such a lift to us you wouldn’t believe!!!!  For all those who did anything else….cheers guys!! From all of us, Thanks so much. Mike Brian and Paul. (Thaireland 08/09) P.S; Get on those bikes of yours!!! See you around!!!

 

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Day 188: (Outside Naas (Co Kildare to Roscrea (Tipperary) – Approx 100km – Distance travelled so far 11,300km “Guinness Guinness and comfortable beds (for once!!)”

We are on todays newspaper…..Check it out on the Irish Independent online!!

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/living-the-dream-from-bangkok-to-dublin-by-bike-26548048.html

Waking up outside Naas to a series of Thunder Storms was not an ideal start to the morning…but hey, we should be used of such suprises at this stage of the trip. Setting down our tents for the penultimate time, we set off in the teeming rain. The rain feels different…Its driving and sweet on the face…It feels Irish and its fantastic….

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We are today contacted by a mystery person. He identifies himself as Brendan Lynch, a Tipperary man, an author with a fire-filled passion for crazy stories ranging. He tells us that he has a huge enthusiasm for cycling, himself being a cyclist and telling us that he came across our story when researching. We plan to meet in a place named Borris on Ossary. We cycle, fund-raise, cyle some more, stop and then we finally meet this mystery man. We chat with Brendan and his wife Margie for a good time. Brendan then presents us with a signed copy of his latest book “Yesterday we were in America.

The story of Alcock and Brown “the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic from St John’s, Newfoundland to Connemara, Ireland on June 15-16, 1919″

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It is a very nice presentation which will be such a fine read during our time re-couperating in the coming days. Thanks again Brendan. For anyone who is looking for this book or info about Brendan. Visit his website at:

http://brendanlynchbooks.wordpress.com/books/yesterday-we-were-in-america

We reach Roscrea where we are put up in The Rackett Hall Hotel for the night all compliments to the hotel management. Thanks a million guys. We chill for the night with some of the Share a Dream cavalcade and have a good couple of well deserved pints of Guinness…..Absolute bliss and such and enjoyable evening listening to all the good works carried out behind the scenes at Share a Dream…..What a day!!!

Day 187: (Dublin Port to outside Naas (Co Kildare) – Approx 65km – Distance travelled so far 11,200km “Pauls very slip in Ireland and good ould Irish weather”

First leg on the ferry platform in Dublin and Paul slips and lands right back on his elbow…Ouch!!! “I thought that was it for me” and “well thats just perfect!!” were quotes that quickly followed. We finally land ourselves on terra ferma was the first time in 6 months. The weather is so bad.

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We will cycle up to Liz’s house (Paul’s girlfriend) in Drumcondra to unwind and to do some interviews and media stuff.

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The Irish Independent call over to take some pictures and interview us. We will also got on The Ray Darcy and George Hook’s “The right hook” at some later stage too. Its great to be in Ireland again and with the weather improving, we will attempt to get on the bikes again and head down to Naas, raising awareness all the way for our charity; the Share a Dream Foundation. But first we have to hit the pub for the first Irish Pint on G!. We meet Brian’s college mate Frank and his girlfriend Mia.

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On our way down, lots of people wave at us, sound their car horns…Its going to be an enjoyable couple of days!!!….Brian has to stop off in a pub in Naas to take a call from George Hook on his show….Its all a bit too surreal!!! – We meet up at a couple of locations on the way down with Tina from Share and Dream (accompanied by all her devoted fundraisers)….We will try to collect as much as possible with Tina in the coming days in the larger towns on the way….We will camp tonight outside Naas village. We aim to camp the last couple of nights before the coming….Beds would also be so so welcome!!!!


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IMG_0481 No need for sign posts!

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Just before meeting the share a dream folks

 

IMG_0484 Good weather

 

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Have to finish a day on the saddle with a pint!

Day 186: (Liverpool Port-Dublin Port) – Distance travelled so far 11,140km “How to get to Liverpool Port!!!”

You would think that we would be chomping at the bit to get over to Liverpool Port so as to make sure we would be on time for our ferry to Dublin. You would think that!!!! Us being us, we miscalculated the journey over to the port thinking that we could cycle easily over a bridge……There was no bridge but there was a tube/train under the river….so we ran,went up escalators (with bikes!!), stuffed them into the train just in time…..Absolute mayhem and panic insued which I guess was largely down to “really longing to come home” We boarded the ferry with 4-5 dozen truckers or so and went straight to the dining area for some grub. The weather was horrendous and jokes about a potential last supper and sinking at the final hurdle were passed. We all looked at each other again, knowing that when we woke up in the morning, We would touch our wheels down on Irish soil for the first time in 6 months. After dinner, we grabbed some beers, chatted and watched the movie and The Story of Tina and Ike Turner with all the truckers. Wrecked tired, we crashed out in a pretty comfortable and padded kids play area. Thanks to reception who provided extra blankets…..Tomorrow Ireland awaits us!!!!

Day 184&185: (Liverpool) – Distance travelled so far 11,135km “Party Time!!!”

 

Yippeeee!!!!!!!!!….Liverpool here we are…..Freaky really. It has felt like such a trek from Michael and Vanessa’s Stratford pad in East London. Adrenaline has played a key part in keeping us on top of our game. At least we got a free gaff in Sandbach which gave us a good nights sleep and in out of the rain….Liverpool brings us a chance to do some site-seeing…..”Beatles” style….but first of all…a great chance to relax, have a hot shower, some hot food and another frothy beer or five!!!!…..

IMG_0447In the spirit of the trip

The Beatles tour

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In Penny Lane there’s a

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nothing to say here!

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John Lennon’s home

and for the pool fans..

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We find a newly renovated hostel called Hatters (good one for a cheap w/end) which suits our pockets in the center of the city and with the bikes locked up for a night or two…its time to get freaky in Liverpool….Some clubbing and some caper ensued!!!!

Waking up in the morning was bliss. Cosy beds and not a chance of getting on a 2 wheeled anything. We shower up and get a breakfast in. Site-seeing is on the agenda today therefore, we didnt delay in booking The Beatles” Black cab tour of Liverpool, which takes us to all of the Fab Fours houses, penny lane, strawberry fields, Eleanor Rigby’s grave. Yeah yeah yeahh!!!!!

After a mighty tour which incorporated Anfield, the home of Liverpool football, we headed back to our hostel.
After another hairy nights party time, we would would wake up the the morning to get ready to board a ferry for Ireland…Absolutely incredible!!!….We honestly cannot wait!!!

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Securing the bikes on the ferry. This is it!

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Day 183: Sandbach – Liverpool(82km) Distance travelled so far 11,135km “A you wrecked mate!!!”

After our free nights accomodation we were ready for road again.


More canal cycling


A stonesthrow from Wales


Chester, a lovely part of England


Smiles all round


Close to the Pool


Just a couple more kms boys..


Signs for Liverpool start appearing


Yes please


Not so fast now, eh!!


The Bridge, entering Liverpool


A roadside break


Liverpool


Alls well


We made it

And so, the Thaireland trio make it to Liverpool. Next stop- Dublin (IRELAND)……17 countries, over 11,000kms, and alot of pedalling we can finally say…..we made it……we’re home….

A reminder to all, our homecoming is on the 5th of July in Killaloe Co.Clare. Please come along.

Day 182: Hinckley – Sandbach (104km) Distance travelled so far 11,053km “Free house in Sandbach!!!”

We were all surprised at how humid it is in England. The weather does not help while on the bike. Very sticky, very quickly!!! After the few days on the road, there was a slight bit of a pong coming from each of us!!!!

Please god let us complete our journey today with a shower at the end of the road


Power Station


Canal that leads pretty much into Liverpool


Lookin and feelin good…


Nearing the end of the day….still very humid


Fancy a spot of bowls???

Well, our prayers for a shower were answered….

When we finished our days cycle we decided to stop into the local pub and watch Andy Murray play at Wimbledon. Of course, our looks only drew attention. We met a lovely couple and before we knew it, they offered us a place to stay for the night. A shower was the no1 priority!!!

Tomorrow…Liverpool….. oh yeah…

London

London Baby!!!!!!!! Yeah!!!!!!!

With plans in place to stay with Mike & Vanessa, and Vanessa’s brother Pat, we could now chill out and plan our final route home. This route plan had always been to head up to Scotland and to potentially “pedal boat” across the Irish Channel. We had been secretly planning this finale for some time throughout the trip and had secured a safety boat to guide us across, but unfortunately we could not source a pedal boat which was sea worthy!!! Perhaps we will do it again someday…

With the pedal boating looking pretty unlikely, we now had more days to chill in London which to be honest was a welcomed outcome. Ok..so lets do some site-seeing then!!


Londons eye


Big Ben


Travalgar Square


Chilling out in Travalgar Square..


Heavy night last night?


Picking up asbo’s is easy


Corrected this street artist’s Irish of Go raibh maith agat


The auld Covent Garden..I remember only too well….


Brian gets roped into this street perfomers act…(It took 30 mins!!)


Abbey Road

While in London, we decided to head down to Wembeldon…Lawn tennis, strawberries, sherry, and lots of tennis balls..The weather was pretty good so lots of people camped (like ourselves) in the hopes to gain early morning entry…
The Wimbledon Queue is world famous as it is still possible gain entry to Center Court on the day of the event. People queue the night before and the first 500 get center court tickets. Unfortunately we were no. 880 in the queue so we had to settle for court NO. 1. Not bad… we still managed to watch Venus Williams and Andy Roddick cruise to the 4th round……


Brian in the Wimbledon queue


Squatters rights!!! – Mike relaxes Pakistani style in the queue


Henman Hill/Murray Mound. It was jammed for the Murray game


The Ball boys and girls enter


Venus and Kateryna enter


Kateryna mid serve..Very good service indeed


Andy Roddick


Chilling with Mike and Vanessa at their apartment..


Prime Real Estate – View from the apartment over-looking Londons Olympic Stadium for 2012 Games

It was great to chill with Mike, Vanessa and Pat. Thanks a million for putting up with us. We would have had loved to stay for a couple more days!!! ha ha….PS – Hope Kevin Webster gets things sorted out…”fancy you like mad!!!”

Time to get prepared for a three/four day cycle up to Liverpool…..Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!