Sunday, 25 May 2008

Castles, Tombs and Open Roads




Today the summer touring season began with a quick Sunday tour around some local sights, namely Trim Castle and Newgrange, both in County Meath, Ireland. My current ride is still the Kawasaki ER-6N hire bike while I await my ER-6F to be returned to me.

So to start with I should point out that the Er-6n is restricted to 33bhp, basically because hiring a bike in Ireland is near impossible and when it is available the insurance companies find it more convenient to keep a fleet of restricted bikes. I seemingly find myself in the unusual position of having only a motorcycle licence and only one bike!

Onto the trip...the roads around Trim are 'full of character', essentially meaning that they are of less then average quality except for the work being carried out between Navan and Trim. While the new Trim to Summerhill road has been improved, but get off any of the main routes and you will have to take it easy. Which you should also find very rewarding as the scenery on some of the stretches of road is outstanding, especially along the Boyne Valley.

Trim Castle is an excellent location to visit, the link should explain more but if any of you have sat through the Mel Gibson movie 'Braveheart' then you may find it interesting that most of the film was filmed here at Trim Castle and the various battles in the film took place locally. Also at one stage in the movie you briefly see a castle burning, that is once again Trim castle.

After Trim castle I headed out to Newgrange. The roads may not allow for very spirited riding but they are very rewarding allowing you the time to soak up the scenery as you take your favourite ride through picturesque tree and hedge lined roads. The were some strong winds that kept me slightly off balance at times but nothing very surprising.

You can follow the signs to the Newgrange visitors centre. Here you will learn the history of this tomb built around 3200BC. For the minimal entrance fee you get free parking, plenty of picnic spots, the full history of the site and local tombs, all with regular audio visual shows. Also there is a guided tour that takes you by bus to the Newgrange tomb. Of course there is a gift shop and cafeteria available. If like me you get there too late in the day you will find that the guided tours of the tomb are all booked up...but if you are a local like me you will also know how to get up to the tomb (though not inside) with local roads. The location should be on the route map.

Heading back to Trim I took the road past Slane castle to Navan, adding some time to the journey back to Trim, though it is a great road for motorcycles, being smooth and flowing. By time you reach Navan you will be sorry it was over but still have a very big grin. Even on the restricted Er-6n it is a great run, though the curse of the 'Sunday driver' will frustrate.

I highly recommend this run for anyone visiting the area, it is a great way to spend the day and a lot of fun. Hopefully all the Flickr pictures will encourage you to give it a shot.

As always, keep the rubber side down.