The Blackbird flies West ( part 3 of 4 )

White haired oneStarred Page By White haired one, 6th Jul 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Europe>Ireland>Dublin & Around

In part three our hero's start to make their way back Home

The strange garden centre

Although the rain was getting heavy and time was a little tight, we couldn’t resist a quick look at the mysterious garden centre that we found years previous. When we arrived it looked exactly as it did before, sneakily tucked away in the back and beyond and it was even hacking down with rain as before.

Ken and I wandered around inside for ten minutes or so drinking in the peaceful feel of this unusual structure. Inside we met a man who was a throwback to when hippies ruled the world - he matched the property perfectly. Although he was full of peace and love it didn’t stop him giving us some pretty dodgy directions regarding our way back to Rosslare harbour. We struggled for a while to find our bearings but, ken got new directions from a bloke in a garage who told us to head for Cookstown which lead towards Cork and home. Ken later confided to me that he had gotten quite anxious about the little detour we had taken and was worried about missing the ferry which coincidently turned out to be cancelled anyway.
Personally, I couldn’t have cared tuppence whether we were late, lost or taken hostage by little men in green suits. It is such a lovely part of the world I could have quite easily gone back to the garden centre , made a cup of coffee and talked to the hippy about stuff blowing in the wind or times that are a changing or any other load of nonsense. I just love this place.

The Blackbird lets rip

The good part about this little delay is that we were a bit tight for time to get back for the ferry ride back to Fishguard so we had to put the hammer down on the bikes. Ken took the lead through the low brown coloured mountains and I did my best to follow. Giving the new Trans-alp a good work out Ken reached a healthy 115 mph at one point causing me to change into 2nd gear on the blackbird. Although I had the power of 150 horses at my fingertips and the acceleration prowess of a SAM missile, I struggled with the bird along these twisty lanes. Ken was whipping the Trans-alp around like a motorised Rudolph Nureyev, agile and graceful but with lots of power.

I, on the other hand, was finding my 1137 cc's of engine very cumbersome and difficult to control, especially on some of the tight bends of which there were plenty. At one point after noticing lots of grit and farmers diesel on the road, we hit a 90 degree bend and I nearly ended up with the sheep in a field saved only by mounting a grass verge with my legs splayed out in a very unceremonious way. Things did change however, when we finally emerged back on to the N25, the main road back to Cork. As we reached the junction Ken pulled out and sped off up the road at a good rate of knots but I took a few moments to do up my fluorescent vest that had come undone in our dash through the mountains.

As I came out onto the main road I could see Ken about a quarter of a mile away going like a bat out of hell and it was at this point I noticed that the stretch of road that we had ventured onto was wide , flat, smooth and dry without a rozzer or camera in sight. These ambient conditions caused me to have a sudden rush of blood to the head. Time for me to really open up the Blackbird for the first time since acquiring this incredible feat of Japanese engineering. I crouched down and hung on for grim death as I twisted the throttle and unleashed the unbridled energy of my beautiful Blackbird.

The feeling of raw power and exhilaration that coursed through my veins as the rev counter hurtled up to 10'000 was indescribable. The four greedy carbs fully opened sent The Bird screaming towards 140 mph in the blink of an eye and bizarrely I was only in fourth gear.The beast let forth a mighty roar sounding like a cross between a tiger and a jet fighter and I felt the front trying to lift with the brutal forces being unleashed. Yet while the engine spewed out this awesome power there was a certain smoothness underlying the whole process - this is what she was designed to do and it showed. No fuss, no strain, just a wonderfully constructed piece of engineering.I shall always be grateful to those little chaps in the land of the rising sun for designing and building such a force of nature it has been a true privilege , thank you !

Touch and go for poor Ken

In a instant I was back up with Ken and we continued to cross Ireland at a generous rate of knots as we thought it was going to be a close call to catch the ferry at 2pm from Rosslare harbour. We kept the stops to a minimum, just stopping for fuel and the odd comfort break which meant we both started getting a touch of SBS - (Sore Bum Syndrome). Making our destination with fifteen minutes to spare, we were greeted with the news that the fast ferry to Fishguard was cancelled. A few well chosen anglo saxon expletives came from Ken but it was time to chill for a few hours.

As luck would have it we met an old friend at the port, a lovely lady called Chris and her husband Chip who were in the reception area of Stena line. They had been staying with family in Ireland and had just arrived after a three hour drive. Finding the ferry cancelled, they promptly head back again to a wedding reception but, not without giving us their complementary thirty Euro meal vouchers.

We made a decision to catch the 9.15 ferry so we had a good six hours to kill so, we did this by heading for a nice meal at the Harbour view hotel restaurant. Feeling a little peckish we opted for a starter followed by steak and chips washed down with a nice cup of coffee. Armed with our 60 Euros (approximately £ 55.00 ) we paid the bill but were both very shocked to be asked for another 10 euros‘.

Reeling from the extra cost of the food we entered the most dangerous part of the whole journey which was the traumatic effect it had on Ken. Don't get me wrong he is a wonderful chap and a better travelling companion you couldn't find. But Ken is afflicted by something called UES which is the abbreviation for Unplanned Expenditure Syndrome. The poor Man has suffered from this crippling ailment his whole life in fact he had recently undergone open Wallet surgery to extract a five pound note leaving him weak and vunerable to fiscal attack. I talked him down and counselled in for four hours in their posh lounge and a crisis was averted thankfully the Paramedics were stood down.

We wait and we wait

Arriving back into the port waiting area we had the good fortune to meet a couple of nice blokes ( motorcyclists of course). One of them was an old retired blacksmith with a dodgy hip who had to be helped off his huge BMW 1150. The other fella was slightly younger was also riding a Trans-alp, which had a few special additions that caught our eye. These additions definitely gave the bike a much more adventurous look, infact it made Ken's bike look really quite girly by comparison.

We had a nice chat with these two lads and then another bloke on a Harley, who was from Bristol, turned up. It was then I realised what a pleasant experience motorcycle touring really is. Lots of strangers becoming instant friends bound by a common love - motorbikes. It is such as pleasure to talk to other humans without the artificial barriers of who you are and what you do getting in the way.
We also met another couple from Belgium who had ridden all over Ireland and were on the way back home. It was at this point it began to rain and we all thought we were in for a wet shirt, but one of the port staff opened up some gates and let us shelter under a big tin roof - how kind.

Fishguard welcomes us

We boarded the ferry and braced ourselves for a very choppy crossing , but it failed to materialize, in fact it was quite pleasant. We settled down in a couple of comfy chairs and closed our eyes for a few hours while we crossed back over to Wales. Arriving at 12.45 in the morning we left the ferry and entered Fishguard. The weather was dry and a little breezy but it woke us up nicely. I took charge of the next stage of the journey which was to locate the bed and breakfast that I had booked us in Fishguard.
I promptly went in the wrong direction and got us lost, which wasn’t really a problem except that the proprietor of the bed and breakfast were waiting up for us to arrive. Due to some pretty dodgy map reading on my part, we wandered around Fishguard for the next three quarters of an hour until I finally got myself sorted.
Not bad when you consider that we could actually see the ferry from where we were staying. When we did arrive the owner said it was unusual for the ferry to be so late as it usually docks at 12.45, but me and Ken said nothing about my navigational misdemeanours and went straight to our rooms. Although I was wide awake by then and had to endure half a film about the great train robbery starring Stanley baker.

Better late than never

Arising at 8 am we sat down to a hearty Welsh breakfast which seemed to be yet again remarkably similar to a full English. The owner had a very pronounced brummy accent, obviously hailing from Birmingham. I noted that he had been a gunnery sergeant in the Royal artillery judging by the memorabilia adorning the walls.
The thought of a brummy in charge of a great big gun was a concept I found rather disturbing, But still he was a very pleasant chap and it was a qwerky little place full of character and very homely. We said our goodbyes again after breakfast and the owner responded by saying 'Yow visit tus again now.
We set off with the wind on our backs and a full Heart.

Next stop England

Part 1
Part 2


Googan Barra, Ireland, Motorbike, Motorcycle Touring, Motorcycles

Meet the author

author avatar White haired one
Having qualified with a full Masters degree from the University of life I just want to help everyone along the majestic River of life. If you would like to see more from the White haired one why not pay a visit to

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author avatar Songbird B
6th Jul 2011 (#)

I am so glad to see this adorned with a Star, my friend. I have really enjoyed reading your and Ken's adventures. Another great instalment WHO...

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author avatar White haired one
7th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you Songbird
your very kind as always

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author avatar Denise O
8th Jul 2011 (#)

Even though y'all have SBS (cracks me up!) I bet it was sad having to go back home. Just a great trip, I am thoroughly enjoying. Still just loving the photos. Congrats on the star page, it is well deserved. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar White haired one
14th Jul 2011 (#)

Thank you Denise O
Yes it was sad to go home but I willl go again.


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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
10th Jul 2011 (#)

You are making me itchy to travel more. I have not been to Ireland, it looks great.

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author avatar White haired one
14th Jul 2011 (#)

It is a beautiful place Mark but you better save up its very expensive but worth it.


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author avatar deepa venkitesh
12th Jul 2011 (#)

very nice and kept me glued.

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author avatar White haired one
14th Jul 2011 (#)

Thanks Deeps glad you liked it.


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