A beautiful morning greeted me on awaking, sun lighting up the bedroom and birds singing. Shower and dressed I was ready for the road. Open vents in my jacket and sort light weight gloves, fire up the bike and I’m off. Four mile up the road and I’m riding in thick fog, forty miles later and I’m still in it. My first point today is on the north coast of Ireland, its number 2 on the rally map . Portstewart harbour and the Jimmy Kennedy memorial. The Fishing boat.
Has you can see it was a gray day here, in fact its rain lightly. Jimmy kennedy was a song writer born in Northern Ireland, wrote songs sung by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and other great singers. Jimmy Kennedy There’s an art gallery and cafe across the road so a cup of coffee and its time to go. Head across the north coast towards the east coast and follow it south. A short ride over to Portrush take me along part of the North West 200 road race. The track is along public roads which they close while the motorcycle races are taking place. Speeds in access of 200 mph / 321kph are hit on parts of the circuit. Heres a link to a You Tube clip of the racing. NW 200 .
Leaving Portrush for the coast road running down the east side of the country the rain is falling but the sky is clear ahead. The first town I come to is Bushmills. For any whisky drinkers out there this is where the famous Bushmills whisky is distilled. Bushmills . Okay for those that opened the link, I thought you might enjoy the it. Turning left in the centre of town and continue along the coastal route. Today I give the town of Dunseverick a miss and turn off for Ballintoy harbour. Down pass the small white church and follow the narrow winding road down to the harbour.
Just before you turn down into harbour you pass ‘Bendhu’, this house was built by a artist from Cornwall in the south of England. Another link Bendhu . Please visit this link to see and learn about this piece of art.
A coffee and a chat with a couple from Hungary touring on a motorcycle and its time to continue south. Has you climb out of Ballintoy village you pass the Carrick-na-reed rope bridge.
The next town on route it Ballycastle. Every year they have Irelands oldest fair here in August, The Auld Lammas Fair is held over two days. Six miles off the coast is the island of Rathlin. A beautiful island where you can walk on roads and never see any traffic. There are three lighthouses on the island with one being a bird sanctuary where sea bird come to breed every year. Getting across is on a small ferry, foot passage only.
Out of town and I go down a small road that splits the golf course in two, and pull over to look across at Rathlin and the Scottish hills. Rarhlin was just showing through the sea mist and Scotland could not be seen.
This is Ballycastle beach looking back towards the town. Has the photo shows it was still cloudy but warm and dry. The hills in the background is north and the road I traveled down follows them. South and I take the Tor head road that hugs the rugged coast with fantastic views across the Irish sea into Scotland. will there would be if this sea mist clears. Next stop is Murlough, a viewing point with great sea views.
This shot see’s the mist clearing and the sun has dropped in to say hello. That is one of Rathlin Islands lighthouse’s in the mid ground and Scotland in the background. Scotland is only 13 mile across from Ireland at this point. From here its follow the road around around to Cushendun where there is a grand little tea room beside the harbour. No luck this time for it is full so needing fuel I head on to Cushendall. While stopped for fuel my sister and hubby stopped. Never know who you meet…. great to see them. My next point is inland a few miles from Ballygally, another small seaside town. This time its up into the hills and another view point and my rally point. A plaque To Judge Richard Campbell (1870-1935) link It was non stop down the coast road to Larne. If you ride a motorcycle this ranks has one of the great motorcyclist road in the world. Sandwiched between rock face and just a stone wall with the sea lapping on the other side it makes some riders nervous and others love the thrill of riding this fast. From Larne I follow the coast around through Carrickfergus. There is a Norman castle here worth a visit if you happen to be passing this way. Castle.
From Carrick has we call it here in the north it was onto Belfast and Stop for a coffee. From Belfast it over to Comber on the shore of Strangford lough and follow the lough shore around to Mahee Island. These small isles are connected with man made causeways. And this time it Mahee/Hendrum castle is the rally photo. The temperature has climbed and now when I stop the jacket has to come off.
With the sky clear and the sun high its not great for photography. But its the last for this trip, I strap the jacket to the bike and its tee shirt and sunshine for the trip back home.
A few hundred metre’s from here is Nendrum Monastic site, with some great views and the remains of an old Monastery dating back to the 5th century. But that will be another trip and post.
Thank you all for visiting.