I start out this morning with an uninspired plan to circle the city while staying outside the urban area. Along the way, I pass an interesting-looking little road heading off into the mountains. I end up on a set of roads through the Wicklows that I hadn't travelled before.
It's fall in Ireland, one of those spectacular sunny, cool, crisp, autumn days. Leaves are turning yellow, the roads are still wet from yesterday's rain, and it's a wonderful day for some mountain climbing.
The route, as usual (recorded by my GPS receiver), is shown below. Click on a thumbnail to see a larger version of this and all other pictures. Use the back button of your browser to return to this page.
I wind up into the mountains, partly on minor roads, eventually reaching route R116. It's a major road, I suppose, but no wider than the "minor" ones. It cuts through forests and sheep-studded valleys.
The R116 winds back toward Dublin, but I want to stay in the mountains. At one point I reach a road that seems to go back into the mountains; the sign says to Sally Gap. I take it, and climb a bit more. Mostly, I am riding at an altitude around 1000 feet.
The road intersects the R115 at the top of its climb into the mountains. That's the point where I met a group of tourists on my first Wicklow ride. This is the high point of the ride, around 1200 feet. The view of the city is spectacular; I can see well past the north end. I head down the R115. It's a steep descent, and dangerous, as the road is still wet from morning rain, and slippery with decaying leaves. Doesn't stop the local cyclists from descending at lunatic speed, though. My hands nearly freeze, as I don't have any decent gloves.
Instead of going home by the shortest route, I go through Tallaght, where I stop at a recommended bike store and get some gloves and a couple spare tubes. I come across this rather strange church there. Finally in Dublin, I stop for a moment and photograph the swans in the Grand Canal. I continue across the city, stop for a scone and tea to thaw out, and finally head home along Frascati Road.