The “Three Lads” Bike Adventure

Day 1

Chicago to Shannon – 3-hour van trip to our first Bed & Breakfast – Milltown House in Dingle – mythical look. Mark, the Innkeeper was a real fascinating character. Lenny supplied us with green shirts, windbreakers, and hats. A lady in Dingle thought we were with a professional biking group. It was hard to miss us, especially with the “Janis Brothers Great Bicycle Adventure” printed in bold letters on our shirts!! Great job, Lenny. The lads really appreciated the recognition. We drank a pint of Guinness and some Carlsburg ale and called it a night.

Day 2

Our 8 days of biking began in the rain – (ring) Forts – Beehive huts & fortresses (500B.C.). Beautiful views of the ocean, cliffs, palm trees. We ended the day with a 5 mile steep climb up Conner Pass. Larry got leg cramps, but made it to the top. Spectacular view of Dingle Bay. Les had no problem due to his extensive 6 months of training!!! We all looked great in our matching green shirts. Beer and dinner and 3 tired lads went to bed.

Day 3

We biked from Dingle to Killarney – a beautiful day. We had a number of tough climbs with great views at the top. Lunch at a vegetarian café (right out of 1969). Views of MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. Overlook of green fields and a Fairy Fort. Arrived in Killarney for a 2 day stay at the Killarney Lodge (4 Star B&B). Tried some Kilkenny beer and ended the evening with Effie Lenihan – Famous Irish storyteller.

Day 4

Killarney National Park Loop – Muchross House – Lunch – Candy bars and scones with clotted cream. Raining all day. Challenging ride to Moll’s Gap. Of the 16 people in our group, only the “Three Lads” made it to the top. (As usual, we were also the 3 oldest). Great dinner – Irish Boxit (Potato Pancake). Pub with Irish music. Pints of Smithwick’s Ale.

Day 5

Gap of Dunloe – Great Bike Climb – no cars – ponies and sheep everywhere. One scene was better than the next – absolutely gorgeous – very steep sections. Picnic lunch near peat bog (used for fuel). Black Valley (1845-49 famine). More great climbs and descents. Arrived in Kenmare – Neidin House B&B. The greenery was spectacular. Irish pub for Smithwick’s.

Day 6

Our longest day – 85 miles. Blue skies, hairpin turns, more steep hills, huge boulders from ice glaciers that covered Ireland 10,000 years ago. 1 mile steep climb, then ½ mile of steep, steep climb. Larry close to heart attack. We all made it – of course. The terrain was amazing. This was a 10 candy bar day with 12 Advils. We came to Healy Pass at the 60-mile mark. A very tough 4-mile climb with cliffs, mountain goats, head winds. An exhilarating feeling for all of us at the top. What a view! Lamb stew. Delicious and more beer.

Day 7 Driving rain storms all day. Very exhausting ride. Headwinds, no pictures, brutal. We made it after more chocolate, scones, desserts, Advil, etc. Arrived in Waterville tired and wet. Even our Gore-tex red Jackets didn’t help us. We did do all the miles, of course. Lenny bought a round of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey – 4 rounds later and 3 pints, we walked back to the Cable House B&B. Sleeping by 10 p.m. Our meal was also an experience – Chips, Fish & Chips, Chips, 3 scoops of Ice Cream and double-decker cones on the walk back.
Day 8 The Ring of Skellig ride and the climb to the radio tower was another steep, steep challenge. Gorgeous flowers, pastures, views of the cliffs, ocean, slate quarry – amazing site. The weather started poorly, but ended sunny. Stop at chocolate factory during a rain storm.
Day 9 Light “soft rain” all day, but the brothers had a great ride. Narrow roads not much wider than bike paths. Lenny got a flat tire on a downhill. Arrived at Carrig House – an elegant Irish country estate home. Lush gardens and grounds that bordered the lake. Harp’s beer and a fabulous dinner. 4 scoops of ice cream for dessert.
Day 10 Irish breakfast at Carrig House and drive back to Shannon.
Facts of Interest:

·        Lenny’s conversation with a drunk in pub after being asked if we three were heterosexual. Les & Larry moved away and Len bought him a drink!!

·        Irish music – accordion, flute, drum, guitar – sensational.

·        Thatched roof cottages – Last for 20 years.

·        Cows intently watching the Three Lads – the sheep attracted somehow to Lenny!!

·        Fairies

·        Best beer for Larry – Harps

·        Lenny’s fascination with sheep

·        Each small village had 20-30 pubs.

·        Major 18-hole golf courses in Waterville – Professional athletes ---- Tiger Woods there last month.

·        Alan – our Innkeeper at the Cable House.

·        No need for suntan lotion.

·        Massive amounts of scones with clotted cream consumed.

·        Tea with Milk – not bad.

·        No homes with lawn sprinkling systems.

·        Kieran

·        Colorful homes – all well built, clean.

·        Per Lenny – “Wow, look at those sheep with long tails”.

·        Friendly people (Average Guinness consumption – 6 pints a day).

·        Our bike group – most unusual collection of people!!

·        Most candy bars ever eaten by the brothers – forget the energy bars.

·        The Three Lads in Ireland

·        How does Les do it with no training!!

·        Lenny’s fascination with sheep

·        Lenny’s favorite meal (3 X’s) – Lamb Chops.

·        The Janis Brothers Bike Adventures Web Site coming in the near future. Per Lenny – “It will make us millions.”

There were many exhilarating moments on this trip to Ireland . The vistas were truly spectacular and the climbs were more than challenging. The Three Lads rode EFI “of course”. It was great being together again, and a very special feeling to be able to spend 10 incredible days with the brothers.