Saturday 20thOctober, 2018

The 2018 Final of MasterChef Ireland was held in the 5-Michelin Star Castlepollard Hotel Restaurant on Saturday 20th of October. Following the sacking of Gregg Wallace and John Torode, nine new judges were specially flown in by Ryan-Air in a totally new format for the popular TV show. The judges were all famous TV chefs from Ireland and around the world and included JR Ramsay, Sandra Allen, Mark Rhode, Noel Oliver, Andy D’Campo, Vincent Skehan, Kieran Dundon, Karl Stein and Alan “I love fish” Maguire.

Following the new format, the judges all ordered their own favourite breakfasts – from the popular Full Irish to Three Eggs and from Omelette to Sausage & Eggs. Or course there just had to be one !.... just to be “trendy”, judge Noel Oliver ordered a Vegetarian breakfast.

Although they were naturally very nervous considering the culinary talents of the judges who they were preparing breakfast for, the three finalist chefs were on top of their game. In quick succession, one after the other of top quality, expertly presented breakfasts arrived at the judges’ table. All was going well as judge Andy D’Campo took 20 photos of his delicious omelette to share on Facebook and Twitter. But while Karl Stein had already devoured 6 of his Free Range eggs, there was still no sign of Noel Oliver’s special Hungarian Vegetarian meal. (How do you know if someone is Vegan? ................ They TELL you !!!).

And then a massive blow (No - not judge Mark Rhode’s bout of wind following a double helping of beans).....a massive blow for the three hard-worked chefs. Just to be his usual awkward self, judge JR Ramsay had ordered the “Castlepollard Special Deluxe Double-Whopper Extra More-than-Full Big Massive Full Irish” and they were struggling to cope. Panic ensued and one of the chefs collapsed from exhaustion.

Another chef just could not handle the pressure in the kitchen and had to be restrained by the film crew and locked in the freezer.

The "Castlepollard Special"

During the panic, the bacon and eggs had been fried to a crisp and the black and white pudding had shrivelled to tiny pea-sized rocks. There was no more bacon, eggs or puddings left !! But the remaining chef kept her cool, rang 87 year old widow Bridie McBride next door and asked her if she’d secretly cook the breakfast for judge JR Ramsay. Despite her highly contagious skin disease and a bout of diarrhoea during the night and no running water in the house, Bridie bravely and happily agreed. She got to work straight away, scraped the mould off her frying pan and dusted off the eggs. As she struggled with her running nose and bout of chesty coughing, the two judges were getting impatient. But, within 40 minutes, both delicious meals had appeared in front of judges Noel Oliver and JR Ramsay. Despite the delay, both judges devoured their respective meals and never left a crumb.

The "Vegetarian" (the snails are inside the leaves)

There was no contest as to the winner of the title. With the two male chefs out of the running, the remaining chef, Sally Gout from Ballinamuck, was crowned MasterChef Ireland 2018.

Meanwhile, Bridie McBride hopes to open her own gourmet pub in nearby Fore after her forthcoming wedding and honeymoon in June 2019.

With the contest over, the 9 judges decided to take a tour of the local area, visiting the beautiful setting of Fore Abbey before heading on to the lovely Lough Lene nearby. They all agreed that it had been a great day with gorgeous food, fantastic scenery and terrific roads. Unfortunately, later that evening, JR Ramsay and Noel Oliver did not feel very well and each had a bad night with a sudden and unexplained bout of diarrhoea .............

‘til the next one,

Safe riding.

Saturday 6thOctober, 2018

Longford Tourism

Dublin has the Guinness Storehouse, Cork has Spike Island, Clare has the Cliffs of Moher, Wicklow has Glendalough. But the most visited tourist attraction in Ireland in 2018 was the 1798 Visitor Centre in the picturesque village of Ballinamuck in county Longford. Over half a million visitors, mostly from Poland, Slovakia and Dublin, have thronged to the Longford village so far this year.

Last Saturday, 6 th October, was just another busy day for the staff of Longford Tourism in Ballinamuck, with tours booked by several groups including the well-known CRRG Motorcycle Touring and Educational Group from Dublin. Caretakers Paddy and Morris were unavailable so they left the keys of the Visitor Centre with John and Vincent, two trusted Temporary Clerical Officers from Longford County Council.

Two Temporary Clerical Officers on duty at Ballinamuck 1798 Visitor Centre collecting the €10 admission fee.

“It was hectic all day” said John, “we had a shower of bikers from Dublin that we had to watch carefully – they were worse than Wexford gurriers. And I ran out of juice for me vape”. Vincent smiled and agreed with his colleague, “ It was very busy here today okay. Sure I even had to stop one of them bikers outside trying to steal one of the pikes”.

CCTV footage captures a visitor trying to smuggle out one of the pikes from the Centre

Visitors to the Centre are always enthralled and captivated by the vast amount of information about the Battle of Ballinamuck and the numerous replica weapons of the time on display. The average length of a visit to the Centre, according to Longford Tourism, is 6 hours. This includes a walk upstairs to see a painting and 2 pikes hanging on a wall. There is also a Parish Hall (attached to the Centre) with a poster dating from 1998 commemorating the 200 th Anniversary of the Battle. And outside is a cannon supposedly used by the famous “Gunner McGee” during the battle, as well as a statue of a man with a pike.

Admission includes free parking for tractors

Talking to a few of the visitors on Saturday, they all agreed that it is definitely worth a visit. Jacek and Mike travelled all the way from Poland just to visit the 1798 Centre. “We travelled from Dublin by motorcycle”, Mike posted on TripAdvisor, “and I had to fill up at least 5 times along the way. But it was worth it”. Jacek is interested in Irish history and said in his own review “The crowd of bikers who were there when I visited weren’t interested at all in learning about the historical significance of the Battle of Ballinamuck and were just messing about. But I found it fascinating.”

Jacek studies one of the displays while one of the staff keeps a sly eye on him

In other reviews on TripAdvisor, Gordon - originally from county Meath but now camping in a halting site in Balbriggan – wrote: “The staff at the Centre on Saturday were brilliant and very helpful. They had a fantastic knowledge of Irish history, especially John who told me all about the Wexford rising in 1798”.

Andrew from Lucan said he had come across the Centre purely by accident after he got lost heading to Carrick-on-Shannon with a load of washing for his mother to do. “But I am glad I stopped at Ballinamuck. The room upstairs in the Centre gave me great ideas for my own Theatre room in Lucan”.

Finally, Kieran posted on Facebook “You have to see this place to believe it. My friend keeps going on and on about “shitholes” but this beats them all hands down”.

Fantastic reviews all round !! It’s no wonder that the Ballinamuck 1798 Centre has now been listed in the “Top 10 Attractions in the World to see before you Die”.

‘til the next one,

Safe riding.

Saturday 29th September, 2018

It was getting late. The group had gathered since dawn at the Circle K Coral in anticipation of a good hunt and time was passing as the winter sun rose in the blue sky. Riders were getting uneasy, nerves were on edge. Their mounts were fed and watered with the best quality Northern region feed. One after another, more unexpected hunters had arrived and the numbers were swelling. Would it be too hard to control all these wild horsemen and women once they got out of the coral and onto open ground? Can they all be kept in check and not go astray or get lost? But the most worrying question on the mind of the leader of the hunt was ......“ Where is Magic Mick? ”.

He could not wait no longer. Riders were already starting to mount up and head to the sloping pathway leading to the open fields. “Maybe Magic Mick will be waiting at the other gathering point with the wild riders from the sticks” he thought to himself, as he reluctantly blew his trumpet and gave the order to depart..... ......

They galloped along towards the hunting grounds, little realising what dangers lay ahead of them. Not far from Circle K Coral, along the grassy verge of the main track, a tribe of Garda warriors had laid a trap, forcing travellers to converge into a narrow, single path, where they could cut them off and pick them off one by one. But Little John was alert and had spotted the trap ahead. He brought the ridersRideout Report 19 of 2018 along the outside of the traps in a single file and they quietly slipped past the unsuspecting Garda warriors and on to safety.

Soon the hunters arrived in the lands known as “The Sticks” and stopped to pick up more riders at “The Huntsman” – a notorious drinking den frequented by savage Gormans Town tribes. They did not hang about there too long. But there was still no sign of Magic Mick and the leader was getting more worried. One of the sticks riders said that he had spotted Magic Mick galloping past earlier. “Maybe he will be waiting to meet us at the feeding camp at the friendly village of Monasterboice” the leader consoled himself as the large group rode on, picking up along the way a lone, bearded nomad from the Vegan tribe on a black stallion.

But as they reached Monasterboice and dismounted at the feeding camp, there was still no sign of Magic Mick. Maybe the Garda warriors had captured him? Or he had been attacked by a bear or maybe a pack of wolves out in the sticks??

They could wait no longer and headed into the large dining hall to the long table which had been prepared for them. Luckily the serving wenches made room for the extra hunters who had turned up. The hunters ate a hearty breakfast, stuffing themselves with wild boar and beans as a long day lay ahead. As the Leader finished his meal, he went out of the hall to pray to Odin for a good days hunting. To his amazement, suddenly Magic Mick appeared like an apparition, sitting calmly outside. He had gotten mixed up and had ridden miles and miles to The Hunterstown Inn by mistake – another drinking den much further north, near the village of Semi-Collon ; ...... There was much relief and celebration and merriment to be had when the others saw that he had appeared, safe and sound .

With Magic Mick reunited with the group, the hunters prepared for the next leg of their journey. But some riders were afraid to venture further outside the Pale and turned back, preferring to risk getting ambushed by the Garda warriors than face the crazed, wild clans around county Louth. Their mounts had used barely any of their energy after that big feed of quality Northern food and would be able to go all day. So the remainder of the party headed North, on to the lands of the (Protestant) Archbishop of Armagh at Rokeby where it was reported that plenty of game could be had.

But they were out of luck. There was no game to be had there (unless you like model railways). The nomadic tribesman had had enough and he headed off in a huff, followed closely by Jacek, Pat the Hooker and Ger. The 10 remaining hunters were undeterred and headed on to a castle further north named after an old Northside Dublin parish near Phibsborough.

There was no game to be had at Rokeby

There they were treated to some refreshments at the wedding of one of the Lords of the castle. Their mounts were still surprisingly fresh and had used hardly any of their energy after their quality Northern region feed at the start of the day. But the grounds of the castle were already full of what looked like hunters wheeling carts full of shiney sticks or spears and searching the grass and hedges and forest for small game. So it was decided that it would be pointless and a waste of time to go hunting themselves. They bade their farewells to the castle owners and headed back empty handed.

They had to be back before night-fall when the highwaymen would appear so they pushed their mounts and galloped along quickly. Still their mounts showed no sign of running out of energy. As they approached the garrison town of Navan, Mighty Mick left them and took his road east. Then the others realised that there was no sign of Prince Andrew and Lady Andrea. They had been right behind the group only minutes earlier. The group waited at the crossroads. Still no sign. They waited some more. But still no sign. “Maybe Mighty Mick had offered them a room in his cabin for the night and they had gone that direction?” they thought, not daring to think of the gruesome alternative – the Garda warriors are known to wander as far as Navan and ambush weary travellers along that route. But they daren’t think that way. “They will be okay”, Noble Noel assured the group, “sure Prince Andrew often disappears and goes a different way. They’ll be fine ...”... but there was an undeniable quiver in his voice........

Reluctantly, they pushed on. As they approached their lands, the group agreed to stop for some meade and snails in a box at a local hostillery and to rest their mounts (which were still surprisingly fresh and full of energy despite the long journey). Kiera(n) Knightly had further to travel and wanted to push on before darkness fell so he rode on. The rest of the group wondered about Prince Andrew and poor Lady Andrea as they drank their meade and discussed the hunt that day.

Not every hunt ends in success........

‘til the next one,

Safe riding.

Saturday 15th September, 2018

There was no booking cabins on ferries or seats on airplanes months in advance. No looking for suitable accommodation along the route. No sending bikes off weeks in advance to be taken by truck to some remote part of Switzerland that sounds like a popular German Wheat beer. No making endless lists of what to bring and then trying to pack the resulting mountain of gear into panniers only half the size. NO - None of that hassle for the riders who took to the beautiful winding roads of the Lake Drive in Wicklow on Saturday. JR packed his tool kit (a wrench and can of WD 40) while Pat & Ger just brought along a bottle of wine. Darragh brought his Dad. And Andy left Andrea at home.

It had been a while since we had taken a spin around Wicklow. The great summer which we had meant that we had neglected our usual haunts like GlenMANURE, The Sally Gap and the Wicklow Way for longer, more exotic locations such as the Waterford Viking Triangle, the Marble Arch Caves in Fermanagh, The Cavan Burren and several venues in Tipperary. So, with the weather taking a turn to cooler, more showery conditions, the time was right for a spin around Wicklow. Most of us had never been on the Lake Drive around the Blessington Lakes and definitely never been up the fantastic “Gap road” at Lacken so all we needed was a bit of decent weather. And the forecast for Saturday was good. A “Mystery venue” was also to be revealed later in the trip ......

We all met at Circle K at Tallaght – JR, Andy, Pat & Ger, Darragh & Jann, Paul C, Darragh’s Dad, Tom, Sandra & myself and even Paul N made an unscheduled but welcome arrival. He brought his “man bag”. The 11 of us headed off, following JR as he took us the “back roads” to Blessington for breakfast in The West Wicklow House. JR knows those roads like the back of his hand and he took us along some lovely twisty roads via Bohernabreena and on into Blessington. It was a pity that those roads were wet and a lot of muck around the quarry but we enjoyed it anyway. Tom sat in the leading bunch and handled the Deauville like Lorenzo around the bends.

Breakfast was fab, with the delicious, award-winning, craft-butcher-made white pudding stealing the show!! (Ahem! ) Paul N and Tom were doing BOBs this week so, breakfast finished, the remaining 9 riders headed off, crossing the bridge over the lakes towards Lacken. The roads were dry and it had brightened up a good bit since leaving Tallaght earlier. At Lacken, we took the narrow Gap Road up the mountains, avoiding the sheep as we took in the fabulous scenery back across the lakes.

We had a quick stop there to take some photos. Luckily I had brought some R&G Universal side stand supports as the ground was very uneven and gave one to Pat to help support the big Pan.

R&G Side Stand Supports

The Gap Road, Lacken

Then it was on from there to the “Granite Village” of Ballyknockan and over the Wicklow Gap to Laragh. It was a fab spin with hardly any traffic and we all thought to ourselves as we rode along “this is why I love motorcycling!”. We had a coffee stop at Laragh before starting on to the “Mystery” venue. We took the riders on through Annamoe and into Roundwood where we took a detour to “Victor’s Way”.

Victor's Way

It is a weird, unique sort of park with loads of massive Indian sculptures. JR takes his CRRG Security Officer duties very seriously and refused to leave the bikes unattended there so Andy stayed to keep him company. Just as well, because he managed to scare off the local hound just as he was about to pee on the bikes!

The rest of us took the fairly long “meditative” paths through the wooded park and around the lake, stopping along the way at the various statues/sculptures, some of which were fairly “raunchy” so it was just as well that JR didn’t come with us....... (they might have upset him). It was after getting much warmer too and we had to take off our jackets as we approached the end of the walk. Pat was lucky to find somewhere to hang his jacket..........

After a much needed toilet stop in the “Vinda-loos”, we headed off again. This time we headed up the mountains again for the Sally Gap, watching out for the odd kamikaze sheep running out in front of us. Andy’s Hazard lights were working overtime as he warned following riders of any dangers. We went straight on at the Sally Gap, heading towards Kippure and the N81. We had a quick stop to take a few more photos of the beautiful, stunning scenery and Lough Tay, far below.

It was still early as we rode on and joined the N81 so we decided to head back to Avon Rí at Blessington for a coffee. Paul C left us as he had to be back to prepare the Dublin Ladies GAA team for their All Ireland Final the next day. We had a good chat at Avon Rí before heading home. Traffic along the N81 was light, apart from a herd of cows which had crossed from one side to the other before turning into a field !!!

It had been another great day out. It was great to have Tom along and hopefully he enjoyed himself and will come out again. Darragh reckoned that it was the best spin of 2018 (though he might be just saying that !.....).

‘til the next one,

Safe riding.

Saturday 1stSeptember, 2018

Biker Fashion ?

A few years ago, a Law was passed by the Executive Committee of the CRRG setting out a list of clothing which was unacceptable for members to wear whilst on rideouts. The following in an excerpt from the 2011 Act and I am pleased to say that most members have been abiding by the rules :-


  1. Any jackets with “Harley Davidson” logo or emblem
  2. Head-scarf, neckerchief, bandana etc. (especially with the Southern Confederate flag)
  3. Farah slacks
  4. Any clothing with Union Jack flag sewn on
  5. “Muscle” logo T-shirts
  6. Three-quarter length trousers
  7. Shirts – especially nylon, polyester, check or stripes
  8. Wellington boots
  9. Scarves – especially old “school” scarves
  10. Jumpers – especially the “Christmas present” type
  11. Football or rugby jerseys
  12. Harley-style T-shirts with logos like “Born to Ride”, “Wild Thing” etc.
  13. Large belt buckles

There was a close vote on whether or not to allow any “46” or “The Doctor” merchandise but, unfortunately, the Rossi fans won out by a single vote. But it is hoped to hold another referendum on Rossi merchandise in 2019.

So I was very disappointed on Saturday with the reaction from certain quarters to my brand new expensive “Alpinestars SP1” summer motorcycle boots. They do not come under the list of banned motorcycle gear and should have been acceptable to all members. However, I was subjected to severe abuse and discriminative remarks. My lovely new boots were even being called, “Michael Jordan boots”! I must report that they were extremely comfortable and I am very happy with my purchase despite the critical remarks and jibes and will not hesitate to wear them again when the weather suits.

Marble Arch Caves

I did not let the disappointment over the comments about my new boots get me down. I just wiped away the tears and went ahead with the planned spin to the Marble Arch Caves, near Enniskillen. There was another good turnout despite 6 or 7 members being away (including the Balrothery & Newtownmountkennedy Mens Shed Association’s annual outing to Spain, accompanied by Nurse Ger who was required to administer their medication and help with toilet duties).

Waiting at Clonee was Mike, Adam, Darragh & Jann, JR, Vincent and Andy. And Andy had brought along Shane on his Honda Varadero for his first, but hopefully not his last, spin with the CRRG. Darragh had arrived on his new moped, bike – a stunning Kawasaki Versys 1000GT complete with luggage. What a spin lay ahead for its maiden voyage.

Darragh’s new bike

We headed off for Darragh’s long awaited Full Irish breakfast in the Silver Tankard, just past Navan. Shane has a lot of experience on the bike and stuck to the back of the group as JR (in his much too bright and ugly, horrible, disgusting new Hi-Vis jacket) led the way and never missed a turn. Shane offered to buy everyone breakfast as he’s being paid loads of money for his latest attic conversion job in Lucan….

The Silver Tankard

We had a fab breakfast there as usual. Despite having a big breakfast before he left home, Adam had another breakfast. We were joined by Ducati riders Paul N. and Derek M. and another chap on a nice Triumph Speed Triple. They were just out for a short spin. We left Andy with them as Shane returned home and the remaining 8 of us rode off towards Kells, Virginia, Cavan and Belturbet. There were some lovely twisty roads from Belturbet to the Caves and Adam Marquez warmed up his tyres on the roundabout a few times before speeding off, followed closely by the Aprilia of Mike Hailwood. There must have been a fuel leak in Mike’s bike as he had to re-fuel a couple of times during the day.

It was a long spin there but well worth it as the Marble Arch Caves are set in beautiful landscape and they are definitely worth a visit. We were lucky that I had booked in advance as we would have had to wait 2.5 hours for the next tour. Instead, we only had to wait an hour so Adam had time to have something else to eat before we got the full tour (around 75 minutes including a boat ride on the underground river). Security Officer JR insisted on minding the bikes and wore my jacket. I must say that my feet were extremely comfortable in my new boots walking around the caves…….

The Caves are really interesting and lots of stalactites and stalactmites and unusual formations. Before we headed off from Marble Arch, Adam was starving again so he had something else to eat. We decided to head back via Cavan, Granard and Edgeworthstown. Mike had to fill up again.

We had a coffee stop at Feerick’s in Rathowen while Adam went inside for more food. Then it was back on the road again, heading to Mullingar before turning off the motorway to Kilbeggan and Kinnegad. Darragh and Jann were enjoying the new Versys so much that they doubled back and took some photos at Lough Owell.

Feerick’s in Rathowen.

It was getting late at this stage so we pushed on at a “fairly good pace” along the N4 !! Everyone got home safe and sound and we had all enjoyed the day out again. The Caves are really worth a visit (if a little expensive at GB£9.80 p/p).

And I would highly recommend the Alpinestars SP1 summer motorcycle boots.

Best wishes to Andy for his eye operation on Wednesday. Good luck to JR on his “holidays” where he will be doing some Marshalling. Bon Voyage to Vincent on his deserved break from work. Best of luck to Darragh and Jann with the new bike. And good to meet Shane – hopefully he enjoyed the spin and will be joining us again.

‘til the next spin,

Ride safe – there have been a lot of accidents involving motorcyclists recently.

‘til the next one,

Safe riding.

Saturday 25thAugust, 2018

Massive Crowds in Dublin to Welcome Visitor from Italy

A lot of people never thought that they would ever see the day. Especially members of Dublin’s famous CRRG who have been highly sceptical that the visit would ever happen. But the heathens and non-believers were quickly silenced when she arrived at Dublin airport at 10:00am on Saturday morning. Large crowds had flocked to greet the saintly figure and Dubliners lined the street of the capital city to cheer and wave. It was a pity that the event was slightly marred by an old man in a white dress who insisted on getting in the way and grabbing the limelight.

Everyone hopes that CRRG Group Photographer, Claudio’s, “elusive” Italian girlfriend, Flo, appreciated all the work that went into the welcome and that she will enjoy her stay in Dublin. It is hoped that she will soon grant a private audience with members of the CRRG. God Bless her…..

Farney Castle Welcomes the CRRG

Meanwhile, away from all the hustle and bustle in the capital, the CRRG took advantage of the fantastic weather on Saturday and headed to the posher part of Tipperary (if there is such a thing??) – Thurles and Holy Cross. There was a great turnout of 13 riders with General Arek’s Polish Squadron making up a third of the numbers. Among them was the CRRG’s second “Lady rider”, Emilia, on a fab Suzuki GSXR 600. And the spin was no bother to her as she tailed the leading riders and hopefully enjoyed the trip and the company and will join us again.

Mark had just swopped his BMW RT for a new black GS Adventure and he just couldn’t wait to show it off. He hadn’t got out of bed early enough to clean it though (or maybe he was just going for that “I do a lot of adventure riding” look ??). He even managed to come for the FULL spin….

JR was not going to be outdone, and arrived on Big Blue which was sporting a brand new BMW tank badge.

Breakfast was booked for the group in Treacy’s, Portlaoise (I spoil them, I know!) and we had our own table reserved. The food was up to the usual high quality (no beans with the Full Irish) and even Andy enjoyed it. There were no BOBs this week – all 13 riders were going on to Farney Castle, and beyond…..

During breakfast, a ceremony was held to mark Vincent’s ordination into the CRRG Centurians – he was completing his 100th rideout, almost in record time (Sandra was quicker!!).

Breakfast over, we took the lovely N77 from Portlaoise down through Abbeyleix, Tullow and Urlingford. Just as I had expected, suddenly Big Blue came speeding past the Leader just as we approached the turn to Two-mile-Borris & Thurles, followed by Adam Marquez on the Honda Repsol and Michal on the Yamaha Fazer. (Michal had earlier caused the MotoGP in Silverstone to be cancelled after he had dropped his Gixxer on his practice laps causing serious damage to the track). As usual, we had to flash the three of them and blow the horns to let them know that they had missed the turn, again……

Thurles was busy but we managed to get through the traffic and out the road to Holy Cross before taking the turn signposted “Farney Castle”. Mark just couldn’t resist going to see another Abbey and he took Paul with him to Holy Cross Abbey before they joined us back at the castle.

Cyril Cullen, the owner, was delighted to see us all arrive and gave us a great welcome. He took us on a tour of the castle as well as showing us his ceramics and knitwear collection. The magnificent staircase in the castle was hand made by JR’s ancestors and constructed without using any nails or screws. The castle was very picturesque and in great condition and sat in beautiful surroundings. But Pete wasn’t that impressed, “It’s okay but it’s a bit small compared to my Chateau in France”, he said modestly.

After a few more photographs in the warm sunshine we headed off. Adam, Michal, Emilia and Mike decided to head to Glen MANURE (as Mike correctly called it) to the AMI show there. The rest of the group had a quick coffee stop in Templemore before taking a lovely route back towards Portlaoise via Rathdowney and Abbeyleix. Mark was enjoying the handling of the GSA and was flying around the twisty roads. Vincent had to be back to make dinner so himself, Mark, Paul and Pete headed on while JR, Andy & Andrea and Sandra and I decided to stop again at Andrea’s favourite café - Quinn’s Tea Rooms in Abbeyleix.

The five of us sat out the back in the sun, as JR treated us to Black Forest Gateaux and coffee/teas. Andy thought he could smell the nicotine in an old cigarette butt on the ground but it turned out that he had stepped in dog poo instead. As Andy cleaned off the mess, we discussed world politics and the economy and solved all the world’s problems.

It had been another fantastic day out. It was great to have our second lady rider join us too. And I think that everyone really enjoyed the spin, the venue and the company. We were very lucky with the weather too as Sunday turned out to be a miserable, wet day.

‘til the next one,

Safe riding.

11 th August 2018
Since 2009

By Royal Correspondent Sir John Ryan OBE:MBE (Reporting from the Republic of Ireland)

Despite the drizzly rain, there was a good attendance at the Carlingford Oyster Festival on Saturday. But local oyster fisherman, Sammy Carson, said that sales this year were down on last year. “Last year we had a Polish man who ate nearly all the oysters on my stall”, he told reporters. “But we were disappointed this year as he never showed up and I had to throw out hundreds of oysters as they were going off a bit”.

Ooh... I don't feel well...

The hardy CRRG motorcycle “gang” rode into Carlingford through the misty rain and parked up along the promenade wall. The y were treated to some well-earned whippies by the notorious “Ma-mamma-Ma Baker” (seen above, hiding from reporters). They strolled through the stalls of craft beers, donuts, chips and smelly, rotting oysters before retiring to Taaffe’s Castle for refreshments. A group of hen’s party revelers tried to chat up the good-looking bikers but they ignored their advances. They had important business to discuss. After a while they all left and headed back to dry roads and on towards Ardee, according to Gardaí.

Spike Island Tours Cancelled!!

In a surprise announcement, the popular tourist attraction of Spike Island in Cork is to th close from Sunday 12 August 2018.

After 14.98 million visitors have flocked to the former military prison already in 2018, news that the attraction is to close came as a shock to Cork Tourism. Spokesman Willie O’Dea said that a request had come in from a very important and influential National Leader to “close the #@&% place before he drives me @#&%$ mad asking me to go there!!”. “To avoid a possible serious and violent incident, Cork Tourism has decided to close Spike as a temporary measure, “in the interest of Health & Safety”, he added.

Irish Dancing Lessons

Ceilí Dancer and Certificate award winner, Vincenzo Kenni, aged 32, opens a new Irish Dancing School in Dublin this week. “I am aiming at those who only took 1 lesson and never went on to accomplish what I did”, he said modestly.

Camel Toe Problem

Have you lost your side stand enlarger ?? A kind Balrothery reader has found one in the car park of the Hunterstown Inn on Saturday and contacted the Newsroom. “Looks like it was just very badly installed on a KTM motorcycle”, the finder told our reporter.

If you think it may be yours, contact Mick, C/O Stella Maris Day Care Centre, Balbriggan. 075-978888


Saturday 4thAugust, 2018

It had been a while since we had the pleasure of JR’s company. Too long in fact. Six weeks had elapsed since his last trip (Fethard Medieval village) and I was badly missing the complaints about “kips” and “shit-holes” and the lack of any organisation for rideouts. I had gotten complacent. No maps for riders. No printing down the story behind the venues. No Googling the history and any association with his hero, Cromwell. No talk about famines or slaughters by the English. So it was more than a pleasure to have him along on Saturday for a fab spin to Clonony Castle in Offaly, near Banagher. Moans about “anywhere you see a sign for Bord Na Mona is a shit-hole” were a treat to my ears. What a joy…….. And although Big Blue hadn’t been out for a while, she was still a little dirty. The owner blamed “the water shortage” and the hose-pipe ban…….

There was another good turnout with 11 riders on 9 bikes meeting bang on time at Lucan – JR, Brendan, Pat & Ger, Paul C, Andy, Jim, Keith, Jenny and Sandra and myself. And thankfully there were no “BOBs” on this trip – everyone was out for the full spin to Clonony Castle. We headed off from Lucan to breakfast at the old faithful Mudder Hubbards.

Andrea was still in Slovakia so poor Andy was still fending for himself. He decided to save himself a lot of time and effort later on and rolled all the day’s meals into one – breakfast, lunch and dinner were mounted on the table in front of him. The rest of us had finished and couldn’t bear to watch him stuff down more chips, omelette, bacon, toast etc so we waited outside for him to finish. Andy eventually emerged from Mudders, looking slightly bloated, and we all headed off towards Kinnegad. We took a lovely route through Milltown Pass, Tyrrellspass and on to Kilbeggan where we took the N52 towards Tullamore.

Jenny and Keith were flying and we all kept together despite a bit of traffic and about 100 roundabouts on the N52. We turned right at the junction at Blue Ball (where did that name come from ???) and headed past Lough Boora and on to Cloghan. It was strange to meet a set of traffic lights in the middle of nowhere in Cloghan village and Brendan was intrigued. It was only a short spin from there to Clonony Castle.

We arrived at the castle at 12:50 – I had said that we would be there at 1:00pm. Not bad organising, eh? The owner, Rebecca, and her dog, Oscar, came out to welcome us. She took us inside the castle and explained all about the restoration of the castle, the castle’s history as well as the story about the Boleyn sisters who lived there. It was a sad story about the reclusive sisters – one died and the other was so heart-broken that she threw herself off the tower and killed herself. Their grave is reputedly in the grounds of the castle, marked by a headstone (which JR sat on).

Rebecca showed us around and then left us to explore the castle and grounds on our own. Jenny and Keith couldn’t wait to try the old toilet in the narrow passage way and ran back inside the castle the minute Rebecca disappeared.

Outside in the grounds, Rebecca has opened two “Glamping” sites in the skirting walls of the castle. Ger seemed to be fascinated by them but I got the feeling that Pat was not so interested…. (though he did later mention something about wearing just his wellies….) ?

After a good look around, we bade our farewell to ye olde castle owner and headed off for a coffee in nearby Shannon Bridge. We stopped at The Old Fort café – an interesting venue in itself. Jim got an urgent “emergency First Responder” call and had to head off and Brendan also had to be back for a family meeting. Jenny and Keith wanted to be back before the toilets in BikeWorld closed so they took the motorway, as Andy also followed as he had a lot of housework to catch up on before Andrea gets back. That left just Paul C, JR, Pat and Ger and Sandra and me. We took some great, empty, scenic roads via Clonmacnoise, Doon and on to Moate where Paul joined the motorway. JR, Pat & Ger and Sandra and I continued to Kilbeggan where we stopped for a coffee and chat.

It had been a great day out and Jenny’s first full spin with the group which she really enjoyed by all accounts. It was great to catch up with Brendan and Jim again too and I hope they get to come out on a few more spins before this great spell of weather ends.

When we got back I received a text message from Rebecca. It read:-

“This is the most socially gracious motorcycle gang I have ever seen. Thanks for your visit and your generosity”

Wait’ll she checks out the state of that toilet !!!.................

Saturday 14thJuly, 2018

The last three spins have been a joy. For some reason, there have been no complaints about the venue, the breakfast stop or even the route. The trips to the Ulster-American Folk Park in Omagh, the Dún Na Sí Amenity & Heritage Park in Moate and last week’s trip to Glenview Folk Museum in Ballinamore have all been relaxed, good humoured and fun. And there have been great turnouts too (although a good few “BOBs” ). Is it the fantastic weather, the choice of venue, the dry roads or the good company which has led to this change in CRRG members’ attitudes?? It remains to be seen but hopefully the next spin will see a continuation of the improvement in attitude and no more complaints…….

Meanwhile, Arnotts are making a big thing about their 175th anniversary. But the CRRG celebrated its 250th Rideout !! And you don’t see CRRG members walking around the city with big bags carrying the logo “ Celebrating 250 Rideouts”……. ……

But back to the Trip Report for last Saturday. The drought continued and the hose pipe ban was still in place. But CRRG members went without washing for a week so that they could save the water for washing their pride and joys before the spin. 10 spotlessly clean bikes (with 13 smelly riders) met at Clonee for the trip up the back roads via Navan, Kells, Oldcastle and Killashandra to Ballinamore in Leitrim. It was great to have Pete join us again after his sejours in France, a month in Australia and God knows how many other holidays…. And Karl was actually free for the whole day ! Poor Claudio was feeling the worse for the wear after a boozey Friday which included a look to see what all the chat is about with “Copper Face Jacks”. (he couldn’t remember that bit).

Roadworks in Dunshaughlin nearly caused a few of us to boil over as we were kept waiting for ages in the scorching heat. Then, just as we were waved on and rode a few yards further , we had to stop again for traffic lights!!! Good planning that! We all managed somehow to stick together through the 50 sets of traffic lights in Navan (- “only an hour from Dublin”… if you don’t stop at the red lights). It was a short run from there to the breakfast venue. This was our second time to stop for breakfast at The Silver Tankard between Navan and Kells. The service was a bit slower this time but the staff were very busy and the quality of the food more than made up for the delay.

Then it was on from there, through Kells, out the Oldcastle road and past some fantastic scenery near Lough Crewe Cairns, almost resembling Connemara. A boy-racer with a death wish driving an old silver Audi overtook the whole group on the twisty roads, taking crazy chances overtaking on blind bends. But we caught up with him in traffic approaching Oldcastle. The roads from Ballineagh in Cavan to Killeshandra were hilly and twisty. Not many safe overtaking places. And parts of the roads were newly surfaced with loose chippings which didn’t bother Adam as the Repsol flew around the bends with Anna clinging on for dear life. But we made good time and soon arrived at Ballinamore and on the short distance to Glenview Folk Museum. Barry the owner, his son and his tour guide, Eugene, greeted us and were amazed by the bikes. Eugene took photos of each one and couldn’t decide on which one he liked best! After Andy had explained all the workings and technical specifications of the KTM to Eugene, he headed off to have the bike mapped in Sligo.

Brian gave the rest of us a tour of his museum, pointing out several interesting objects but there was so much there that you’d need hours to see it all. Ger was overcome by the display of egg-cups, which she has only recently started collecting. She has a bit of buying to do before she comes anywhere near the 3,500 egg-ups in the collection. (Pat will be busy building display cabinets for her ….after he finishes the garden bench project…).

After a chat with all the family, we left Glenview and took the more direct route via Dromod and back down the N3 to Mullingar. We had light drizzle only for a few miles but it got warm and sunny again the further East we rode. Mick led us to Dromod as the big Triumph was purring along. A coffee stop in Dromod was very welcome as we were dying with the thirst after the big fry-up earlier on. Vincent left us there and went on to Rooskey.

We had an uneventful, fast run back the N3 to Mullingar and the Kinnegad exit with one more coffee stop (and a nap for Claudio) at The Monastery Inn in Clonard.

Saturday 30thJune, 2018

Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh

Saturday’s breakfast in the Hunterstown Inn was booked mid-week as there were 11 people travelling. Then, on Friday, a few more confirmed that they would also be coming along. So I quickly e-mailed the Hunterstown and changed the reservation from 11 to 14 or 15 hungry bikers. But, on Saturday morning, a plague of pestilence hit and struck down four hardy CRRG members, confining three to their beds and one got sun-stroke and is still fiddling with wires and cables trying to install new indicators. So that meant that there would only be 10 arriving for breakfast. Thankfully, it was no problem for the friendly waitress who served us our full Irish breakfast the minute we sat down (once again, we didn’t even have to order!!). After horsing down the delicious breakfast, we moved outside to the car park where, as a special treat, the CRRG High Command had arranged for a Whippy van to help keep the riders cool in the warm sunshine ….

Jenny and Keith made a welcome return with Keith opting to use his lovely red Honda CBR. Gordon (also on his new machine – a very clean black Yamaha FZ1) brought along his mate, Pat. Karl made up number 5 of the “BOBs”, his Ducati sporting a custom-made pannier holder. The rest of the group – Paul C., Vincent, Darragh, Sandra and myself were making the most of the dry spell and heading on to the Ulster-American Folk Park in Omagh.

We heeded the warning of melting tar on some roads as it was another scorching hot day. There were a few patches where the roads did look a little slippery but we had a great spin on almost empty roads and, despite a detour at Castleblayney for roadworks, we were in Omagh about an hour and a half after leaving The Hunterstown Inn. Omagh was busy as usual but the four bikes weaved through the traffic like it was a Monday morning commute to work in Dublin city centre!!

We arrived at the Folk Park thinking it would be thronged with visitors. But there was plenty of room in the car park and we parked under trees in a shady area while Darragh stripped off to his vest and mankini. We locked jackets and helmets on the bikes, changed into shoes and runners and headed up to the visitor centre. The “2 For 1” passes which we got from Philip in the Abingdon Collection a few weeks back worked a treat. We set off on the long walk around the park, visiting all 42 sites along the way. The place is really well thought out with original dwellings from 1840s Ireland up to a working forge and genuine log cabins and wooden houses from America (taken apart plank by plank, shipped to the park and re-assembled there). There are people dressed in period costumes, cooking real bread and scones over turf and log fires and even a small town complete with open shops displaying the wares of the time. Paul particularly enjoyed the school house as he remembered using the quill and inkwell and was able to answer the “teacher’s” questions about “olde money”. As Darragh, Paul and Vincent were very well behaved, we bought them a treat of more delicious ice cream cones before we boarded the ship which took us to the Americas. That section of the Park really resembled the US in the glorious sunshine.

The tour completed, we returned to the visitor for some welcome refreshments and a break from walking in the warm sunshine. Then it was soon time to head back to Dublin.

We only stopped once on the way home –at Cullaville, a very strange and odd place – as we all had to fill up after the fairly quick pace all day. We all needed a coffee break too. We got back safe and sound at around 7:00pm.

It had been another great day and the Folk Park is absolutely worth a visit. It was good to catch up with Keith and Jenny and also great to meet Gordon’s mate, Pat, who we hope enjoyed the breakfast run and will join us again for another spin.

We have really gotten around this summer and taken advantage of the great weather with long spins to Waterford, Duncannon, Tipperary and a couple of runs to Omagh. Maybe our next spin will be a shorter, more relaxed run ??

Saturday 9thJune, 2018

Duncannon Fort, Wexford

The plans had been set since the previous Monday – a great spin to Fethard Medieval walled town in Tipperary was excitedly anticipated. And included in the trip would be a visit to the famed village of Drangan, ancestral home of Tipperary’s most famous family, the Laharts. An ancient Irish-Huguenot family name, perhaps even more famous throughout the civilised world than the Kennedy or Obama legacies. Everyone was dying to see the best that the “Stone Throwers” of county Tipperary could offer the CRRG.

Tipperary women, in particular, have a lot to answer. The next time the wife throws a plate in the direction of your head, the chances are she has Tipperary connections. This remark is borne out when we trace the true origins of the nickname attributed to natives of County Tipperary – “Stone Throwers“.

This nickname came about because of a strange social phenomenon thriving in Ireland at the beginning of the 19th century, the cult of ‘Stick Fighting‘ better known as ‘Faction Fighting‘ or ‘Shillelagh Fighting‘. This sport which began its roots, possibly, in the village of Cappawhite, Co. Tipperary from whence it spread rapidly throughout Munster, Leinster and eventually to most of the rest of Ireland. This sport was at its peak in Tipperary in the second and third decades of the 19th century.

Faction Fights were planned events where men in two lines met face to face and fought for usually no other reason other than the sheer love of fighting. Tenant farmers and their sons dressed for a fight with great care and attention. The ‘game’ of Faction Fighting took place openly, usually towards the end of public gatherings such as fairs and markets, funeral wakes, race meetings, and patterns (parish patron days), between groups whose members had in common, drink and loose bonds of kinship or friendship. Fighters obeyed the rules of their chosen Captains and were bound in duty to ‘never back off if fight was offered’.

They fought with large sticks, some hardened and loaded with lead and manufactured usually from the ready available blackthorn tree or from ash suckers. These sticks were then carefully cut and tested following careful drying beside the domestic turf fire. For these fights, willing participants were trained as meticulously as were military swordsmen in the then British cavalry. Some landlords made wagers on the fighting ability of their tenants “To be sure, skulls and bones are broken, and lives lost; but they are lost in pleasant fighting – they are the consequences of the sport, the beauty of which consists in breaking as many heads as you can” (Daniel J. Casey & Robert E. Rhodes, Views of Irish Peasantry, p. 137).

These groups of Factions Fighters had many names such as Caravats and Shanavests, The Three Year Oulds, The Four Year Oulds, Cooleens, Pudding Lane Boys, Black Hens and Magpies, to name but a few. In the flourishing state of Faction Fighting, vendettas were pursued between “Shanavests” and “Caravats” at the fairs of Ballingarry, South Tipperary, between “Rawlins” and “Cusheens” at the green in Cashel, Tipperary, between “Darrigs” and “Cummings” at Roscrea, Tipperary and between “Pallates” and “Bawnies” at the fairs held in Borrisoleigh, Tipperary. The “Reaskawallagh” faction was nearly all Ryan’s and took their name from a towns-land in the parish of Doon, on the Tipperary / Limerick borders, where the Ryan chieftains had lived for generations.

Many a life was lost at these fights and serious injury was to be expected. In some cases both faction groups, which could number between 200 to 1,000, would combine together against a common foe, often turning their attentions to attacking unwanted interfering policemen (Peelers) who attempted to bring about law and order. Quite often, regiments of soldiers had to be called into action to prevent or quell riots between these factions.

In 1836 alone, over 100 faction fights were reported in Co. Tipperary. The granddaddy of all faction fights took place on June 24, 1834, the Feast Day of St. John the Baptist, a Holy Day which traditionally served to commemorate the occurrence of the longest day of the year, when 3,000 participants, the Coolens on one side, with Lawlors, Blacks and Mulvihills on the other, went up against each other at Ballyveigh Strand in County Kerry. When the bleeding stopped, 20 men were dead.

On the 20th March 1826, in the main square of Thurles, Co Tipperary (today, strangely, this square is called Liberty Square) women standing on the sidelines enjoying the spectacle of a local faction fight, somehow got it into their heads, as women will, that their men folk required support. These women began firing large rocks at the opposing faction. The stones it seems had been secreted away in their shopping baskets, in readiness for this event.  According to reports of this event, the stones fired by these interfering women, missed intended targets and broke many of the windows of the local shop keepers. The police who intervened were “desperately attacked” and shots were fired killing 3 men. This serious riot was only quelled by the intervention of the 15th. Royal Foot Regiment, then garrisoned in Thurles, who were prevailed upon to support the local authorities.

But I digress.........back to Saturday’s planned spin. .....

A late night phone call from an anxious CRRG Meteorologist, Mike, (who got his Meteorology Degree in the University of Warsaw) on Friday evening after the 9 o’clock News on RTE, was to throw all the finely detailed travel plans into disarray. Mike warned of “heavy, thundery downpours” on Saturday, affecting mostly East Munster and the Midlands. He said that his finely tuned weather instruments had never been wrong before. So we had no choice but to heed his advice. A change in direction was the safer option – this time to the hurling capital county of Ireland and “the sunny South-East” coast of Wexford which Mike promised was to escape the deluges which were forecast.

A trip to Duncannon Fort seemed like a good idea so all the riders were contacted urgently. It came as a massive disappointment to Huguenot Pat Lahart who was already togged out in his Tipperary jersey, helmet and hurley. He sobbed bitterly all through the night and refused to travel to Wexford in protest. Darragh too was not impressed, blaming some mechanical problem with the FJR (now, we all know that it was a downright lie as Yamaha FJRs don’t give any mechanical trouble whatsoever..…..). But the good news was that, unlike Franklin, Claudio finally woke up from his Friday afternoon nap (from 2:00 pm to 10:30pm) and contacted me at 11:00pm saying that he would also be joining us for the trip to Wexford. The Italians and Brazilians are just not able to cope with the typically warm, sunny Irish summer and it saps the energy out of them. Franklin finally woke up at 2:00pm on Saturday afternoon, sweating profusely….

Paul N was still sipping Lem-Sips after getting caught in a downpour on Friday near Tuam and couldn’t find any dry underwear so he also missed the spin. Nevertheless, a good group of 9 riders met at Topaz Tallaght (- okay, okay, Topaz is now owned by Circle K but I refuse to use that silly name – “ Circle O” or “Circle Zeromakes a bit of sense but not “Circle K”). Mike and Jacek were coming along for the breakfast at The Forge while Paul C, Vincent, JR, Claudio, long-haired Andy, and Sandra & I were all heading to Duncannon. We decided to take the scenic route down the N81, via Tullow and on to The Forge. The Wicklow scenery was worth the trip and we eventually arrived at The Forge in brilliant sunshine. While JR teased the local Carlow men with his Wexford wit and GAA jibes, the rest of us ordered breakfast. Mike and Jacek were very impressed with the quality of the service and said they’d definitely go back again…and again..and again…. I think they really liked Mary, the owner.

Mike left us after breakfast and Jacek came as far as Enniscorthy before heading back. The remaining 7 riders took a fab route via New Ross and then we followed Mr. Garmin along some lovely, twisty roads, passing the very impressive Dunbrody Abbey along the way. We arrived at Duncannon and parked the bikes at the Fort. The next tour was starting in half an hour so we had time to treat the kiddies to some lovely “whippies”at the seaside while Andy looked resplendent in his snow-white CRRG t-shirt and long hair.

The tour was well worth the very reasonable €5 fee (with complimentary coffee included) and the guide was excellent. We took lots of photos of Duncannon Fort as well as the fab Wexford coastline, looking west across the sea towards Waterford. It was much nicer than Tipperary and we were all glad that we had changed plans.

After our complimentary coffee sitting in the sun outside the local pub/restaurant, it was soon time to head homewards and JR took us back along a great route, avoiding most of the motorway until we got close to Dublin.

Duncannon Beach

A view from Duncannon Fort

As it turned out, there had been no rain anywhere around the whole country on Saturday. Mike was puzzled and got back to his laboratory to check his instruments. Sure enough, his weather prediction stone was still wet (meaning that heavy rain is on the way) - he must have splashed it by accident when he was washing his lovely new Aprilia V4 for the 10th time since he bought it. (There is a vacancy for a new CRRG Weather Forecaster – application forms available from Head Office).

So we could have travelled to Tipperary after all. And to make poor Pat feel even more depressed, his beloved Tipperary hurling team were beaten on Sunday. I am sure that I speak for everyone in the CRRG when I wish Pat a speedy recovery and hope that he will be able to leave the secure unit of the Central Mental Hospital very soon.

June 2nd 2018
Since 2009

While on duty guarding the Princess and Prince at Huntington, two inexperienced members of the motorcycle security escort had to rush to an emergency in Redwood. Apparently, crazy cyclists were blocking the roads in the area and had to be forcibly escorted from the vicinity..

Wicklow County Council have asked for the public’s help in tracing the culprit who was vandalising the wild flowers along the roadside on the N81. Several rare species of flowers were damaged in the incident on Saturday.

By Royal Correspondent John Ryan OBE:MBE

Princess Ger, Baroness of Balrothery, celebrated her official appointment as head of the CRRG Group’s “Tours of England’s most scary back roads” Division with a visit to her ancestral family home in Clonegal, Wicklow. She was accompanied by husband, Prince Pat, and several security guards in a cavalcade from Dublin to Baltinglass, Tullow and Attinagh. “One must remember where one came from” she told cheering onlookers as she waved from the balcony of her old bedroom in the castle.

Coffee for Dummies !!

Amazingly, in a recent survey by The CRRG News, only approximately 31.3347% of the population actually know what an “Americano” coffee is. And 62.779% of people who ask for Double Latté or Mocha coffees only do it to impress their peers and actualy haven’t a clue what it is. Anyone who has difficulty recognising the various different coffees should print a copy of the above chart and carry it in your pocket or wallet to avoid embarrassment.

Pest Repellant

Crazed Italian Scientist and Inventor, Claudio McSaverio, has developed a pest repellant based on Nicotine. The formula repels pests beginning with the letter “A”, such as Arachnids, Ants, Aphids and Andys. Sales are expected to very high in Dublin.

Chief of Security, Vincent Chubb, was on hand to oversee security and inspect the alarm system during the Royal visit.”One sprinkler was malfunctioning”, reported Mr. Chubb, ”but I made a replacement sensor out of my motorcycle indicator flasher unit and it’s fine now”. Meanwhile, Head of Technical Support, Andrew (not the prince), was not impressed when one of the Police dogs left him a souvenir on his boot.

After some afternoon tea and cucumber sandwiches, the cavalcade left Huntington Castle and returned to Dublin via Carnew, Aughrim and Rathdrum.

Your Favourite Biking Newspaper
May 2018
Since 2009

Irish bikers have been warned to be careful who they carry as pillion riders.

The IRA (Irish Retail Association) has released figures for May 2018 showing a dramatic increase in the sales of pain relief products for aching bones, such as Voltarol, Deep Heat and Radox.

Pharmacies and Chemists in the Leinster area have been particularly busy during May and the I.R.A. has told the CRRG News that many have already sold out of these products. “The biggest demand seems to be after a fine, dry Saturday” Dr. L. Bow of the I.R.A. commented. While the reason for the sudden increase in sales remains a mystery, Minister for Health, Rolf Harris, says that it will not impact on the already over-stretched Hospital Emergency Units. “Most affected people appear to treat their aching bones symptoms at home rather than calling to the Emergency wards” he said. With another dry weekend forecast, Pharmacies are bracing themselves for another onslaught of customers on Sunday.

Voltarol Announce 100 new Jobs

The Managing Director of Voltarol (Ireland), Alfred Mowatt, has announced the creation of jobs at its Lucan plant. The new product relieves pain in the joints and has seen a 100% increase in sales recently.

Sportsbike and Harley riders seem to have suffered the worst and contribute to 90% of the increase in "Aching Bones" Syndrome.

In a recent survey, most of the Polish, Italian and Brazilian motorcycle owners in Ireland claimed that they were being deliberately taken across rough, bumpy roads for hours on end by their Irish counterparts. “They are used to these crappy roads” sobbed Polish spokesman Arek The Great, “but us poor, gentle Polish bikers like soft, smooth, even roads”.

26th May 2018
Since 2009

A Garda "Photo-fit" image of the missingwheelbarrow, sadly missed by Paddy Reilly and all his friends.

Residents of the remote Cavan villages of Moneygashel and Glangevlin were shocked and frightened by news that a wheelbarrow full of sand and owned by local farmer, Paddy Reilly, had been abducted in broad daylight on Saturday 26th May.

The wheelbarrow was last seen by Paddy Reilly on the narrow road to Blacklion at about 3:00pm, travelling at 6 mph. Locals had reported seeing a gang of 1%er outlaw bikers in the area and a Garda car had rushed to the scene. Unfortunately, the bikers managed to evade the Garda roadblock at Moneygashel.

The wheelbarrow has not been seen since early Saturday afternoon and it failed to return home that evening, sparking fears for its safety and welfare.

Gardai are appealing to anyone with information to contact them at Cavan Garda Station (Phone :999). The wheelbarrow is described as 30 years old, about 2 feet tall, of dark brown “rusty”complexion and wearing a burst black tyre. It was carrying about 40 kilos of sand when it disappeared.


Liverpool announce their Player of the Year 2017/2018 Season.

In a surprise decision at Liverpool FC, Mo Sala only came second in the voting for Player of the Year. It was German goalkeeper, Loris Karius who won and was presented with the priceless Waterford Crystal trophy. Unfortunately, as he went to pick up the trophy, he let it slip through his hands..........


Sponsored by JR Motorcycles


Now available from Dealz for only €1.49 !!!. Ideal for those who have no working indicators or those who constantly forget to switch them off!!


The Irish Marshalling Association are looking for new riders to help block roads, cause traffic mayhem, disrupt the lives of law-abiding citizens, insult locals and ride at illegal speeds. Applicants must have a criminal record, be proficient in at least two forms of martial arts and be rude and ignorant. Preferably he/she should ride a Yamaha FJR. Successful candidates will be issued with a big, yellow “W” (standing for ******) which they should stick upside down on their windscreen.

Enquiries to the IMA

Saturday 28thApril 2018

The Abingdon Collection

The wha’ ???” I hear you ask. Yes, not very many people had ever heard of it before. And it would not be in the same league as, say, Newgrange or the Cliffs of Moher or The Lakes of Killarney on the list of favourite Irish Tourist Attractions. But it was well worth the spin up to Omagh to “The Abingdon Collection” – a private collection built up over 40 years by Philip Faithfull, all stored and lovingly displayed on his own property.

There was something to interest everyone. From 1950s/1960s/1970s fashion and gadgets and toys to classic cars, motorcycles and military vehicles. Separated and housed in various rooms and garages, the collection also included a vast array of weapons, uniforms and information on the Germany army from WW2 along with Philip’s own personal favourites – a collection of literally hundreds of bayonets. There were thousands of die-cast scale model cars and motorcycles too. And lots of garage signs – some worth around €3,500 !!!

It was a beautiful, sunny morning as Pat & Ger, Andy, Claudio, Mick, Vincent, Paul and Sandra & I travelled up the N2, stopping for breakfast along the way at The Hunterstown Inn. I had pre-booked for 11 but one of our Polish contingent had been sampling too much Irish beer and our Brazilian Harley rider was also suffering badly after a dose of dicey Mexican food the night before. No sympathy for either of them !! We got a lovely room to ourselves at The Hunterstown Inn and excellent, friendly service. As usual, the food was great and really good value. Claudio didn’t get beans. Andy ordered something different……

After breakfast, it was a straightforward 1 hour run back up the N2 via Ardee (which we by-passed), Carrickmacross, Castleblayney, Monaghan and Aughnacloy and on to Omagh. Philip’s house is just a couple of miles outside Omagh and he had given me directions so we found it with no difficulty. By the time we got there, the salty rashers were taking their toll and we were all dying for more tea or coffee. Philip’s wife had set up a table in one of the garages and kindly offered us loads of refreshments as Paul dug into the free biscuits provided.

After Andy had insulted Harley-owner Philip, (great jibe though!!!), we were split into 2 groups as we were brought from one collection to another. It takes about an hour and a half to go around the various exhibits but you would be DAYS there if you tried to see everything that he has collected!! Unfortunately, and for obvious reasons, Philip asked us not to photograph the military collections.

With more tea/coffee after the tour and a quick chat with Philip, the queue for the toilet began to grow. There were legs crossed, funny dances, feet tapping and strained faces as we all took turns to go. Finally, all drained, and a few kilos lighter, we got ready to bid farewell to Philip as the dark clouds began to build. Luckily we decided to put on our raingear before we headed off. Not far down the road, the heavens opened and the rain came down like a deluge. There was a lot of water and pools lodging on the roads and visibility was poor. Thankfully it was only a cloud burst and it soon stopped. A few miles further on and the roads were bone dry again.

Confusion and Disarray !!

Along the way back, Mick and Paul had fallen behind, caught up in some slow moving traffic. I slowed up for them to catch up and then sped up when I saw their lights in my mirrors, hoping we’d all then catch up on the leading bunch. But I must have missed the leading bunch as they pulled in to a petrol station to re-fuel. Sandra and I never spotted them and, instead, I sped on trying to catch them !!! (As Pat said later, very wisely, “it’s very hard to catch up when they are behind you”!!). Confusion then arose as the leading bunch were now at the back, Paul and Mick had fallen behind again and were caught by Pat and Ger, Vincent had to speed on home, Andy and Claudio hadn’t a clue where they were and Sandra and I were still going at Mach 3 trying to “catch up”. It transpired that we had basically split into 4 groups !!! But all got home safe and sound so no harm done. But lesson learned ……

It was strange, however, that, after the previous 3 or 4 rideouts when we had 12 to 15 bikes out, including riders on much less powerful bikes, we were still able to keep together. But we all should be aware of the route which we are taking and the stopping point/s along the way. Leading riders should try to ensure that everyone is together. But there is also an onus on those who fall behind to make the effort (within reason and without risk) to push a bit harder to catch up . As I have said before, we are all riding big, powerful machines and it only takes a couple of seconds to overtake a slower car or truck. And when stopping to refuel etc., if there are riders further behind, one rider should wait at the entrance where he can be clearly seen by the others (obviously in a safe place, hazards on if necessary).

Saturday 21stApril 2018

The Viking



The best day of the year so far – weather-wise. Warm, sunny and dry roads. It brought the “dry weather” bikers out from the woodwork and we spotted lots of bikes along the way. It was great to see Jann, Jim and Gordan make their first trip of 2018 with the CRRG. Jann had her first spin on the back of Darragh’s latest purchase – a lovely silver FJR1300. And it was our first time to see Jim’s and Gordon’s new bikes too. And we had a few more new-comers too – Mike’s friend Michael as well as Jacek and Bartek. (That’s 6 new riders to join us in 2018). Derek and Mick made an unexpected appearance at the breakfast venue - our first time to have breakfast at Jack White’s Inn (that’s 3 new breakfast venues we’ve tried in 2018 so far). So, in total, we had 18 riders meet at Jack White’s and 10 went on from there to Waterford – Andy, Vincent, JR, Gordon, Claudio, Mike, Michael, Jacek and Sandra and me.

We certainly picked the right day for the longer spin. Unfortunately it meant taking the N11 to save time but once we hit Enniscorthy we had great roads to New Ross and on to Waterford. JR “The Master” led all the way, taking us on a short-cut through Enniscorthy and avoiding the bottleneck and the bridges. We stuck together most of the way and got to Waterford in one group. We found good parking opposite Reginald’s Tower at the end of the quays.

After the salty bacon, we were all dying of the thirst and headed straight for the nearest coffee shop.

Sitting outside, it resembled a scene from Italy or France.

We had a look into the Museum there but it was a bit expensive at €7 per person. Vincent, dressed in black like a stealthy Ninja, slipped silently past the Security guard and snook down the stairs to the ancient wine cellar and had his own FREE tour of the museum.

We took some photos at the Guinness Book of Records longest wooden sword before booking into the Virtual Reality tour of “King of the Vikings” tour. For €7 per person for a half hour show it was fairly reasonable and the show takes place in an exact replica of a Viking house where the tour guides were dressed as Vikings and explained about the Viking history and the house.

While we waited along the quayside in the beautiful sunshine for the second tour to finish, (only 8 people per VR tour), Mike and the lads dropped into the nearby restaurant for something to eat.

Once everyone was ready to head back, we decided on a different route home. We headed back to New Ross but took the narrow, winding road to Borris. That is a fabulous road with great scenery but lots of bends and farmers’ muck in places. And there are very few overtaking opportunities if you get stuck behind a slow moving vehicle. After a quick catch-up stop at Borris, we went from there to Bagenalstown where we joined the motorway and on towards Naas. While it was getting late and a few had to push on home from there, JR, Jacek, Claudio, Sandra and I stopped at the first Topaz station on the left as we approached Naas and had a last coffee/smoke/chat stop.

It had been a great day out. Fantastic weather. Great breakfast. Brilliant company with a great turnout - some “first spin of 2018” arrivals, a few new riders, and some unexpected. The trip to Waterford was well worth it. Much more exciting the MotoGP of The Americas !! And everyone got home safe. What more could you ask for ??

Looking forward to the next one,

‘Til then, Ride Safely.

Saturday 14thApril 2018

Jingle Bells...??

It was yet another good turnout – 14 riders on 12 bikes – Darragh, JR, Vincent, Noel, Paul C, Paul N, Claudio, Andy & Andrea, Karl, Mick, Sandra and me and another new rider, Franklin, on a ……Harley Davidson Sportster! Franklin is from Brazil and was introduced by Darragh. He amazed us with his handling of the Harley and certainly changed my own opinion about their capabilities on Irish roads.

For those of you who are inquisitive about the bike, it is 883CC, weighs 256Kg(wet), has 68BHP and top speed is around 180KMPH.

“Meetings and Greetings” all over, we were just waiting for Noel to arrive. He had gotten slightly delayed cleaning and polishing the big Pan and was reprimanded by the very strict JR. We headed off as planned, through City West and out onto the N7. But tragedy befell poor Darragh as his new FJR began to die and he had to pull over on the motorway and eventually head home (luckily it was just a small electrical problem but a bigger problem was discovered when the garage told him that his rear shock needed replacing). The rest of us had to wait until we got to the M9 for a safe place to pull over and wait as there were roadworks all along the M7. Vincent and Noel had stopped with Darragh and soon caught up and told us that Darragh had to turn back. Then Andy/Andrea and Mick, who must have stopped to do some shopping in City West, also caught up, with Mick deciding he preferred his own company and headed on alone to Castlecomer.

After the rest of us had re-grouped, we were soon on our way again and enjoying the rare sunshine and DRY roads. We had the M9 practically to ourselves. As we were riding along at a nice steady pace, to my surprise along came Franklin on the big Harley, in the overtaking lane ! He sped past Paul’s FJR and kept up with the leading group as we hit the exit for the N78 and on via Athy to Castlecomer and breakfast at the Lime Tree. Claudio was forced to endure the dreaded beans tipping the rest of the food on his Full Irish as the waitress refused to remove them and he swore (in Italian) that he would never eat there again. I offered to scrape the beans into the sugar bowl but he was too annoyed to even answer me. The rest of us enjoyed the food……..

During breakfast, there was a shock in store for me. My adopted son, John, had forgotten to buy me a Christmas present (actually he’s forgotten for the past 6 years since his official adoption) so he had saved up all his wages since then and bought me a “genuine Victorian” antique model Trike motorcycle. I was in tears as I placed it carefully back in the “To Jim, From Mike” labelled Christmas bag and the expensive SuperValue wrapping paper and threw it on the floor while I finished my coffee….. I even nearly “forgot” to pick it up off the window ledge outside the café after a smoke break but, thankfully, the very kind Vincent reminded me…...

Paul N had taken his new Ducati MS “Pikes Peake” for its first spin with the CRRG and he too was enjoying the dry roads. But he had made arrangements to meet some friends at the AMI Open Day in Gorey so he headed off.

The remaining 12 riders followed the planned route back to Crettyard, over towards Rosmore and on to Old Leighlin. That route takes you along the little known “Leinster Ridge” route with fantastic views of Carlow and Kilkenny below. Unfortunately, as we hit the summit, it started to drizzle rain and the views were very misty. We missed the turn for Bilboa but JR knew the roads well and brought us along a very scenic route and into Leighlinbridge before heading back the short distance to Old Leighlin. We stopped at the 13th Century “St.Lasarian’s Cathedral” but, unfortunately, it was closed. And Carey’s Bar – reputedly the oldest bar in Ireland (owned by the same family since 1547) – was also closed. It was, as JR so eloquently put it, another shit-hole. But a nice place to stop nevertheless.

St. Lasarian’s Cathedral, Old Leighlin

Carey’s Bar, Old Leighlin

We headed back via Leighlinbridge, Bagenalstown and along the lovely, twisty Mount Leinster Scenic Drive to Conways in Kildavin for a coffee stop.

We will never live this one down!!!!

As we were having our teas/coffee, Franklin was looking at Noel and JR’s bikes and seemed puzzled. “What’s theMstand for on those 2 bikes?” he asked, pointing at the screens. I could have thought of a few answers!!! But I told him the truth – it stands for “Marshall” as they marshal cycle races, I explained. “Oh”, he replied, “I was thinking that Lis for Learners, “Nis for Novices so I thought it might stand forM sters”. We will never be let forget that one………….. !!!

After the coffee stop, is was back up the N81 and another quick stop at Blessington before heading home. It had been a great day out as usual and I think that Franklin really enjoyed the company and the spin. It was great to ride on dry roads for a change too.

Hopefully we’ll get another good day for next Saturday. ‘Til then, ride safe.

Alan (M+++++)

Saturday 7thApril 2018

The Newer


And the Lord called his disciples, Michael, Mark, Vincent and John, and said to them, “ Go forth and gather your flock. For I am very unhappy with this sinful world and will send a warning to all the tribes on earth. A great flood will be visited upon them and they will wallow in mud. Only my most special and loyal followers will be spared”.

The four disciples went away and did as their Lord had commanded, gathering their fellow believers from all the far ends of the country – Darragh the Baptist, Karl the Tax collector and his daughter Emma Brunton, Andrew the Carpenter, Mike of Aprilia, Jennifer Magdalen, Keith the Cripple, Pat the Shepherd and his long-suffering wife Ger, Sandra (holy mother of God), Claudio the Roman, and Paul (later called Saul). Mark the disciple had travelled to the far wildnerness of Tipperaria, (it is a long way)- a land full of dangerous nomadic tribesmen wielding curved sticks - and he was never seen again.

While the followers travelled to the arranged meeting place on the sacred hill at Lucan, the skies began to darken and great black clouds began to form, turning the day into night. Distant thunder could be heard and the people of nearby Dublinia began to cry out “Oh Lord, Forgive us our sins and do not punish us!”.

But the Lord had spoken. He stood on a big rock at Lucan so that his followers could see and hear him. “Fear not, my brethern, for you have believed in me. Follow me and I will lead you to safety whilst the sinners will be washed away by thunderous downpours and epic floods. For I am the (LED) Light and the Way”. “Jesus Christ!!” muttered John the disciple to himself (in silent prayer) as he gathered his belongings and made ready for the long journey which lay ahead.

For several days and nights they followed their Lord as they escaped the deluge which befell the earth. On the Sabbath day, Vincent the disciple approached the Lord. “Lord, they have not eaten and cannot go much further without food and water. Let us stop a while at a nearby Inn and rest”. And so they arrived at a little Inn in the hamlet of Kinnedagii and sat down to rest. But the Innkeeper had very little food left as all the starving cattle had eaten everything. All he could give them was some loaves and rashers and sausages. The Lord took the baskets containing the food, blessed it and broke it and then passed the baskets around to all of his followers. It was a miracle – everyone ate their fill and could eat no more. Except for Mike of Aprilia who gave his portion to the hungry cattle and ate a bowl of warm oats instead.

The storms had grown more intense as they left Kinnegadii and the thunderous rain became a deluge, washing away the path in front of them. “Fear not my followers, for I will lead you to the promised land very soon” their Lord re-assured them. They pushed on, never complaining or moaning, in the driving rain until the Lord led them through a Holy gateway and up a bright path to a piece of open ground. Miraculously, the rain suddenly stopped and all the followers rejoiced. The Lord looked at Andrew the Carpenter and, touching him on the shoulder, said to him “Upon this rock you shall build my church. And raise cattle and grow crops. Henceforth, and from this day on, this sacred place shall be calledMulti-farming”.

Without delay, Andrew the Carpenter drew up extremely complicated and detailed plans and sketches and work soon began on the church. Soon it was finished and with the strong church to protect them against the wind and rain, all the followers were overjoyed and filled with the Holy Spirit as they squeezed into the church and lit candles to thank their Lord.

The Lord spoke: “Pat the Shepherd, you shall become a leader of this flock. I appoint you as High Priest of this church. Look after these followers and guide them on the path to heaven”.

This is the Word of the Lord.

Saturday 24thMarch 2018

Attack from the Gremlins

The recent events in the UK, with possible Gremlin involvement in the poison attack on the Skripals, have taken a nasty turn. A suspected poison attack on the motorcycle of a high-ranking member of the powerful CRRG at Kinnegad in Ireland has sparked fears across the world of a CRRG retaliation and a new “Cold War” between Ireland and Russia. In an attempt to de-escalate the situation, President Putin has taken the unusual step of appearing live on Russian TV to deny any involvement by Russia in the recent horrific attack on the prized BMW K1600GTL Exclusive motorcycle.

The injured motorcycle recovers in the shed awaiting new transplant

However, the CRRG Army Council – known as “The Knights of the Roundy Table” – met shortly after the incident in a secret location to discuss the attack and formulate plans to deal with the alleged atrocity. It was decided to expel all Russian members from the group and to carry out their own investigation into the attack.

The CRRG Army Council at their Emergency Meeting

Double agent involved?

One theory being discussed is that a secret or “double” agent may have been involved and he could be an active member of the CRRG itself. The BMW motorcycle had been behaving perfectly healthy until the CRRG official returned to it outside their headquarters at Mother Hubbards near Kinnegad. “It would not start and slumped on the ground with a very weak heartbeat” the owner told reporters through his tears. “Luckily a defibrillator was on hand and it was resuscitated at the scene”. But the theory that some form of toxic nerve gas may have been injected into it looks extremely likely as the motorcycle got weaker and weaker during the day with several more boosts from the defibrillator needed before finally it was brought to hospital back in Dublin. The motorcycle is said to be in a stable condition awaiting a transplant of a new battery. Suspicion has shifted to possibly three members of the CRRG who had been acting strangely during the day (though that is not unusual, according to our sources). The three members had all left early before the rest of the group continued their journey to Abbeyshrule. “We are especially interested in speaking with one particular member who had also been suspected of involvement in a previous incident involving an ambush attack on the CRRG in Northern Ireland last year” commented a member of the CRRG Army Council. “But we could not find any evidence to link him directly at that time. He’s a sneaky little fox!” he told reporters.

The scene of the 2017 ambush in Castle Saunderson estate.

But how do you uncover a Double-agent?

It is believed that, shortly before the BMW was discovered in difficulty, the suspect had left Mother Hubbards during breakfast, with the excuse that he had to move his motorcycle and had returned a few minutes later.

A good spy or secret agent is notoriously difficult to uncover. But there are tell-tale signs and traits which are common among international spies. Just like the movie characters who portray them, such as James Bond 007, spies tend to ride exotic European motorcycles, they like to drive black sports cars with dark tinted windows, they like to holiday in hot countries such as Morocco and they tend to live in the posher areas of the capital cities around the world. “We have our top men working on the case and looking into the private lives of the suspected members. I’m confident that we’ll nab him quickly before he inflicts any more harm on decent, law-abiding BMWs” said the CRRG spokesman, loading his AK47.

Courtesy World News © 27 March 2018

Saturday 24th February 2018

Giza on the Avoca


Despite the chilly morning, we had a fairly good turnout – 9 riders on 8 bikes. There was no way in hell that Keith was going to miss the opportunity to finally collect his 3rd Rideout keyring and Emergency ID helmet strap. And Jen came along for her second spin with the group, all the way from beyond Slane. Karl fired up the Multistrada and joined fellow Ducati-Fanati, Paul N., at TEXACO at Exit 11 off the M50. The usual suspects, JR and Vincent, reliable as ever, were already there and spilling coffee all over their bikes as Sandra and I arrived. Darragh had to put the washing out on the line, empty the dishwasher, make the beds and put out the bins so he sent a text saying that he’d meet us at Bunters in Newtownmountkennedy instead. All wrapped up, heated grips, heated seats, heated vests and heated gloves all burning a great big hole in the Ozone layer, we set off down the N11 for Bunters. After an uneventful ride, we parked up and were very lucky to get seating together in the busy café. Keith was presented with his momentos and a great surprise awaited Jen as she was presented with the massive silver trophy (it was silver coloured anyway) for being the CRRG’s first ever Lady Rider.

Keith & Jen were absolutely delighted with their presentations…

After breakfast, the top “BOB” (Breakfast Only Biker), Karl, had to head home. Darragh had forgotten to put the casserole in the oven so he also headed back before Jann got home. Their awards now safely tucked away in their pockets, Keith and Jen also decided to head off.

That left only the hardiest CRRG members to continue the spin – JR, Vincent, Paul N, Sandra and myself.

The five of us joined the N11 and sped down towards Arklow. After a slight detour (or two), we eventually found the road leading to the Arklow Pyramid – (surprisingly, it is not signposted at all). It is called “The Howard Mausoluem” after the local rich landlord who built it in the 1760’s as he wanted his family to be buried in a style befitting their high station in life. The Pyramid itself is very impressive, standing over 30 feet high on top of a mound in a medieval churchyard. There are great views from there over Arklow town and the surrounding countryside. JR was actually genuinely really impressed with this venue and said that I had outdone myself on this occasion (or words to that effect). As a special “thank you” he said that he’d take me to the beach… We took some photos there and had a good look around before heading towards Arklow.

JR took us out along the lovely R750 coast road towards Brittas Bay. It’s a fab road with lots of great scenery of the coast but some bad bends and a few potholes and some uneven surfaces. But it was worth it for the views. As promised, JR brought us to the car park at Brittas beach. Sandra folded out the BMW six-seater fold-up picnic table and treated us all to some orange juice (out of OEM BMW plastic cups). Paul had forgotten to pack the sandwiches but luckily we were still full after the big breakfast in Bunters.

The weather around Arklow and Wicklow was much better than it had been in Dublin. It wasn’t that cold at all and we took a stroll onto the beach. JR found a plastic bag, filled it with sand and carried it all the way back to the car park. But he had no panniers so he had to leave it there.

We pushed on and stopped at Wicklow Gaol for a coffee. We had a great political and social discussion there as well as discussing the Ulster rugby players’ trial, with Paul making some very relevant points…

Then it was back on the bikes again as JR led the way again, this time along some great roads to the R761 and Ashford to Newcastle and Kilcoole. It was a great route with little or no traffic until we approached Bray and then we joined the N11/M50 home.

Although it was a fairly short spin, it turned out to be one of our best. Dry roads were a blessing. And having the right gear is very important. But the venue was both unusual and interesting, the route JR brought us was fab and, best of all, the company was great! We had another fantastic day out and, as Paul N. always says,

"Biking is Great" !!!!

‘Til the next one (probably 10th March judging by the forecast for next weekend),

Ride safe (and make sure you have some bread and milk in).


Saturday 17th February 2018

Psychic Waitresses and Jumping Churches

For most of us, it was our first CRRG rideout of 2018. The sun was shining and temperatures were up a few degrees. But the roads were still wet and full of crap. Nevertheless, we had a great turnout of 14 riders on 11 bikes and we met on gleaming bikes at Topaz, Clonshaugh. John and Therese were the last to arrive and when he pulled into the Topaz, JP thought that he was at the NEC because there were so many bikes on display. JP was then delighted to receive his CRRG 50th Rideout patch (Therése was in a huff after that and didn’t speak to me all day). Other awards were Paul C who is now a Centurian with 102 rideouts, and Pat who finally reached his 30th CRRG spin. Congratulations to all three.

It had been 12 weeks since many of us had met up, so we spent a good half hour there before heading off. It was great to finally meet and catch up on all the news and gossip. Mark had been saving his best jokes, one-liners, innuendoes and non-PC comments and really let rip !!!! I don’t think he spared any race, religion, colour, sexual orientation or political allegiance.

Mark was delighted to get out...

I had booked the breakfast venue for 11:15am for a Group of 14. We had never stopped at the Hunterstown Inn (between Collon and Ardee on the N2) before so I didn’t know what to expect. Along the way there, the Ashbourne by-pass was a nice stretch of motorway to warm up the bikes and clear out the cobwebs. We had a good fast run and soon arrived in Slane. Then on to Collon and a few miles further on to the Hunterstown Inn. We arrived there at 11:12 am !!! Great timing!

As we drove in, a large group of farmers were driving out, obviously after finishing a “hunt” as they were all towing horse boxes. The farmers mustn’t be doing too well as their top-of-the-range €120k Toyota Landcruisers and Land Rovers were at least 2 or 3 years old. Mark had a few jokes about farmers and horses..

Mark was a little scared by the 2 massive horses standing in the car park. He confided that he doesn’t like horses. While he was a bit coy about it, I believe that it goes back to his childhood, when he was 6 years old and fell off his rocking horse, banging his head and causing irreparable brain damage……..

While we parked up the bikes, one of the waitresses came out and brought us through to our reserved area. They must have been psychic as, before we even got a chance to order, plates of delicious, massive Full Irish fries were placed in front of us!! Pat was absolutely stunned. “It’s a pity that Ger isn’t here to see this..” he thought to himself. There were a few changes of orders but it was no problem for the waitresses and we were well looked after. The food was great and reasonably priced. I’d definitely stop there again (especially considering that, apart from Watters in Collon, there really is no other place for breakfast along that N2).

I was disappointed that not one person had noticed my new Shark “Lorenzo” replica helmet. Or maybe they were just all dead jealous (especially Paul C). It has such a nice design that even Bus Eireann has adopted it……

Speaking of new gear, Paul N had recently spent around €10,000 or thereabouts on a nice set of biker jacket and trousers. But unfortunately it wasn’t enough to keep him warm on longer spins and he had to get help from our Chinese cousins (Mark had more jokes about them too) and modelled a battery powered heated vest which he got for €30.

Breakfast over, new gear discussed, we headed back out to the bikes. Mark had run out of jokes by that stage and headed home. JR couldn’t wait to try out his high-tech heated gloves which his adopted Daddy had bought for him and he sped off ahead of everyone. But, unusually for JR, he missed the turn and I had to wait for him to turn around. Then the rest of the group which had gone ahead missed the Jumping Church and we all had to turn around and go back up the very mucky country road to the venue. It is easily missed from the road but is definitely worth stopping at. It was an unusual sight and very hard to explain how the wall ended up 3 feet inside the foundations. Derek had brought his tools with him but it was too much work for one man to attempt. So he hopes to get the lads from the “Mens’ Shed” to go back there with him and fix the wall back in its proper position.

We left the Jumping Church and headed off towards Dunleer and into Drogheda. Pat and Paul N had to be back early while the rest of us had planned a coffee stop at the Snail Box near Ashbourne. We had assumed that Andy’s new bionic eyes were functioning properly but he failed to see us turn right in Drogheda as himself and Andrea followed behind Derek, Pat and Paul N. The remaining 6 bikes (with Paul C, Darragh, Vincent, JR, JP, Therése, Sandra and myself on board) went on via Duleek to the Snail Box. There we were warmly greeted by the staff who cracked more jokes with us than even Mark Holland. JR’s heated gloves were boiling at this stage so he switched the heating units into his socks. After a good chat there we headed home to wash the bikes….

A brilliant day was had by everyone. It was good to see a little touch of Spring in the air after 3 months of horrible wet, windy and cold weather. Let’s hope that we will be rewarded with a fab summer this year.

‘til the next one,

Ride safe.

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