It was a very ambitious project to cycle round Ireland visiting all thirty two counties in just two months. Add in to the picture (pun intended) the fact that it was a painting tour, with coverage on several Blogs, Facebook and with updates on Twitter many times throughout the day. The whole effort was to be funded by 10 commissioned paintings, and through social media connections, hosting Liam Daly/@eolai for a nights bed and board. In return @eolai would paint a picture for each host, of a place or view of their choice and give it to them before leaving.
Looking down at the fast flowing waterfall at Gleno
Sounds easy doesn’t it?
GRADIENTS & ORDNANCE: You forget that Ireland is not as flat as a bowling green. There are things called hills and mountains that slow the legs down. Travel uphill is difficult for the leg muscles, while free wheeling downhill is dangerous so the hands need to be in full control of the brakes. Walking on water was the Province of the bible, cycling on water – across lakes or inlets is not possible. The cyclist needs to peddle around the edges. It all takes time! Five miles in the morning when the body is fresh, is a very different story at the end of a long hard day.
VIEWING: Constant pauses or stops to look at the scenery and absorb the essence of it, before deciding to commit it to camera or straight to canvas. If it is a ‘canvas now’ job then it takes time to unload the canvas, brushes and paints. Painting in ‘situ’ takes way longer than clicking a camera shutter.
TEA: The fuel for cars is petrol/gas, and they will not travel far without it. Our Dear @eolai needs constant top-ups of his fuel – TEA – to keep his brain flowing with inspiration. You cannot drink tea while cycling.
PEOPLE: Passers-by, want to know what you are doing and why? They ask silly questions like “Would it not be easier to drive?” “Why did you come along this route?” “Are the paintings for sale?”, “How much do you charge?” or “Where are you going next?” Staying with hosts involves social networking and interactions. A couple of hours at the dinner table and strong bonds of friendship are born.
WEATHER: Due to the tail end of Hurricane Katia, with 60 to 70 mph winds, made it impossible to stay in control of a bike or a body several inches off the ground, a couple of days were lost. Heavy rain, wiped out the scenery and made the roads a little more dangerous with water running off some fields bringing mud onto the road. It became impossible to use the camera or apply paint to canvas.
HEALTH: Cramp is a disaster to a cyclist. The leg can ache for hours if not days. A tummy bug can catch any one of us in a moment, literally wiping us out for days on end.
CARE & REPAIR: Punctures can happen when least expected. One on the first day out was not a good omen. By the time our Digital Nomad™ reached Mayo the puncture count reached four.
TIME & COMMITMENTS: Being flexible about dates can be a bonus giving an extra day in a particular spot, but it can also impinge on availability of a host further down the line. Commitments at home tend to build up and an end date looms ever larger.
All too soon it was time for farewells as this amazing man headed off to the next host and to his 25th county of the thirty two. I so look forward to hearing about a book or three in the weeks and months to come following this trip.
Safe home my friend.
An amazing enterprise. I admire his resilience in the face of so many obstacles and setbacks. People do indeed ask the silliest questions. At least he’s not old enough to be asked if he “should be doing such a thing at his age”.
All of us have to go off at least on one such enterprise in our lifetime. I did two trips, one by a Lambretta scooter and one by bus, when I was young and foolish and had some of the problems that you have so correctly identified though the weather did not play any part in it. At the end of both, I returned with great belief in mankind and their warmth.
I do not know how old Eolai is, but when he hits my age, I am sure that he will look back on this adventure with much nostalgia and he will remember your kindness.
Did you get a painting from him, GM? If so, can we see it?
He is so inspiring, so few have the courage to undertake this life dream.
Nick – Eolai/Liam Daly is a very interesting person to talk to. I had the excuse of driving him about locally, so let him do the talking while I listened. He has more than one book in him!
Ramana – It was a privilege to play a part in the #paintingtour.
WWW – There will be a painting for me, but with time constraints and so much to see, I suggested saving my piece until I am sixty five! That gives him six months. The subject of the painting…. I left it up to him, to pick his favourite of what we saw together over the last few days.
Grannymar, although bruised and battered, you still managed to ingress a stranger and egress a friend. 🙂
Marianna – @eolai/Liam was no stranger to me, but we are certainly friends now.
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