Determined to cycle part of the Dungarvan- Waterford Greenway before returning to school, I arrived in Dungarvan this morning with two friends to an overcast sky, threatening rain and other dire offerings. The look of the sky was so bad that it prompted Nora to remark, somewhat sourly, that swimming goggles might prove to be of more benefit on the route than the sun glasses we wore, somewhat rakishly, on the crown of our heads, to effect a rather bohemian demeanour.
Emerging from a hearty breakfast at Meade’s Cafe in the square, well, there wasn’t any point in foregoing food because of some misplaced notion that real athletes set off on 25 kilometre cycling trips with only granola and natural yogurt in their stomachs. We’ve never set much store in the well-loved catholic belief of penance and fasting, so there wasn’t much chance of the three of us suffering from hunger pangs en route. We are inclined to lean more towards an army marches on its stomach school of philosophy really.
We were amazed, even suspicious, to be greeted by sunshine and a warm breeze as we stood in the square, among all the food stalls: it very evidently being market day in the town. Still, we persisted with our plan of hiring bikes and pedalling the 22 kilometres to Kilmacthomas village. It was wonderful to see so many people, adults and children cycling, walking, running, (ok, there were some who did seem to be on the verge of expiring but even they were putting a brave face on it, it being such a sunny day and all) Fair play to them.
The view was wonderful, for the first five or six kilometres, we had the sea beside us, choppy with white spray dashing off the rocks. We passed Clonea Strand, though we stayed wedged in our saddles, as we had this superstitious belief that if we once dismounted, we mightn’t be able to persuade our limbs to climb back up again.
There was a long tunnel, dark, moisture laden, lit only by faint bulbs along the way. It was black and rather sinister and I was thankful when we were back into the sunshine again. We passed under another tunnel, of trees this time, cool, dappled sunlight peeping through the branches which met in the middle. I was so busy here, admiring the beauty of nature and wondering if I’d chance writing a poem on it, that I only narrowly avoided falling off the greenway altogether and tumbling into the ditch ten feet below.
By this time, we’d begun to believe that we’d actually manage to complete the 22 kilometres without mishap, so we detached ourselves from the saddles to take a break at the old pub, near Durrow. Mahony’s has been plying its trade since the 1860s and the three of us were so intoxicated by the combination of fresh air and the quaintness of the pub that we went mad altogether, treating ourselves to a yogurt and bottle of water, with Nora losing the run of herself completely and demolishing two Curley Wurlies – in addition to the yogurt and the water.
Nora and myself take a short breakBack on the bikes again, it was just over an hour to the old kilmacthomas railway station. We were feeling inordinately pleased with ourselves and maybe, in retrospect, that was the problem. Haven’t we all been reared with the old adage: pride comes before a fall?Whatever, it was here, as we were on the home straight that we had, what could euphemistically be called ‘the incident ‘ – though we did manage, thankfully, to survive to tell the tale.
Well obviously, you’re rceading me, aren’t you?
To be continued
The Dungarvan -Waterford Greenway was opened by Simon Coveney TD on March 25th this year.