The beauty of a long trip is that your itinerary is flexible. There’s no where you have to be, so when the unexpected arrives you can take it in stride. In this case, the unexpected was a folk music festival happening in the tiny town of Doolin we just happened to arrive at the day before.
We extended our stay at the lovely Rainbow Hostel so we could partake in the first day’s musical festivities. But the music wasn’t starting until 6pm. We had a whole day ahead of us with no plans. So we did what any self-respecting bicycle tourist does on a day off: we went for a ride.
Our ride took us through a unique region known as the Burren. The Burren is made up of several limestone hills. Slightly acidic rain water erodes the limestone to create small pockets and deep but narrow gorges known as grikes. The result is a stark landscape of exposed light gray rock. If the Burren were a face, it’d be the face of an Irish farmer pushing 100 years old: wrinkly and white.
But the best part was the road. Nearly free from motor vehicles, we enjoyed views of the Burren while rolling up gentle climbs and down twisty descents. It was fun to ride my bike again without the added mass of the panniers. Carrie also had a big grin on all day.
That night we walked into town to the Hotel Doolin to listen to some folk music. There was a good mix of traditional folk groups and groups that seemed to incorporate the Irish folk sound into alt rock music. The best entertainer however was a guy named Luka Bloom. Carrie and I had a laugh when he played a song about riding bikes called Pedal On.