Friday July 18, 2008, 88 km (55 miles) – Total so far: 604 km (375 miles)
It was a bright start to the day as we rolled out of camp at around 10am. We started off following the coast road around the Beara Peninsula to Adrigole. Here we turned inland to head over Healy Pass. A fantastic 7km winding climb, generally around 5-10% all the way up. Justin likened it to an Alpine pass with its hairpin corners and views of the Caha Mountains. Once at the top we were pleased to see a shop. It sold all manner of Irish themed fridge magnets, tea towels, etc. We were disappointed to find out that it didn’t sell hot drinks. It was a bit chilly at the top, especially with a mist coming over, a cup of tea would have gone down a treat.
We were in luck though; a Dutch couple who were driving and hiking their way around Ireland had a flask of tea and were happy to share. Time to go down the other side – it was fast and fun. We had lunch at the Lake House. Carrot soup and toasted cheese sandwiches were washed down with Guinness (Darren), Bulmers Cider (Justin) and tea (Agata).
Back on the road we were now on the north side of the peninsula heading inland, something strange happened – the wind started pushing us. It was our first tailwind of the trip and lasted 10km all the way to Kenmare. Sweet! Once through Kenmare we headed north along the eastern side of the Ring of Kerry to Killarney. Soon enough, we were climbing again up to Moll’s Gap, famous for its views of Macgillycuddy’s Reeks. It was another long grind to the top and there’s a shop here too. This one is a lot more high end, and it has a café too. There was, however, a queue out of the door full of tourists who had been bussed up to the top.
The last 20km to the campsite on the outskirts of Killarney were pure bliss. It was mostly downhill, fast and winding. We paused for a quick hit of the Black Stuff and rolled into camp just after 5pm. We all agreed it was the best day of cycling so far.