W.Ireland & NW200 races
May saw the start and completion of the first two tours of our 2015 season. Both were either end of the spectrum tour wise, but judging by the feedback enjoyed equally by everyone. The first was our USA tour which we will write about later and the second was our W.Ireland and NW200 tour which was run by Alison & Roy
We have been running a tour to the NW200 races for over 10 years now and decided that for 2015 we would add a few more days to explore the beautiful West coast of Ireland. Here is how the tour went as described by Alison
'We’ve just completed another tour, this time to West Ireland but also taking in the NW200 road races. The weather was pretty good to us with just a few spits of rain here and there … apart from Friday when we got an absolute soaking!
We had a very early start on Monday and, after meeting everyone on board the ferry to Dublin, travelled to our first night’s stay in a lovely 3 star hotel in Shannon. The Irish motorways are very good, although there were three toll charges to pay … €5 in total!
The following morning we headed up the west coast to Westport, taking in the Cliffs of Moher and the Twelve Pins. The Wild Atlantic was certainly wild! A lovely 4 star hotel awaited us with its restaurant on the 4th floor making the most of the views over the Quay and Westport Bay.
On Wednesday morning we headed north again. We had plenty of time to go on to Achill Island, where we stopped for a coffee break, then followed the coast road all the way to Sligo. Another 4 star hotel for us … we were really being spoilt!
Thursday was quite a long day. We visited the Carrigan Head view point on the Killybegs Peninsula in Donegal. The Atlantic Ocean was a lot calmer here. We had time for photos and an ice cream, then called in at the Craft Centre and tea shop at Teelin for lunch. The R230 (Meenaneary to Ardara) is a very interesting road with hairpin bends! We then cut through the Glenveagh National Park through to Letterkenny and Londonderry to our hotel (yes, another 4 star!) on the outskirts of the city.
On Friday we toured County Antrim, taking in the Dunlop Memorial Gardens, the Dark Hedges and, a particular favourite of ours, the Antrim Coast Road. The weather was beautiful in the morning but, after arriving at the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge, the rain just poured down. I waited in the café and kept an eye on the bikes while the others walked to the rope bridge and got their certificates. Most were squelching when they got back on their bikes for the ride back to the hotel!
Saturday was race day … some went to watch the racing and some toured with us. We watched the first lap of race 1 in Joey’s Bar before it was red-flagged, went through to Bushmills Distillery for lunch, then went to the Giant’s Causeway in the afternoon where a TV crew from Australia were filming. The weather was pretty good and, for those that went to the racing, 5 of the 6 races were completed before the 9 o’clock deadline when the roads were due to re-open.
After breakfast on Sunday, it was a dash to the Belfast – Cairnryan ferry where we said our goodbyes and then made our way home.'
Thanks to Alison for that, they will be returning to the West Coast soon, however this time to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.