A New Route, not easy
In Ireland we are blessed with a huge road network, but this is a mixed blessing, because many of the roads are not that well-surfaced, and in a hilly county like Cork, most of the minor roads involve hills, and in many cases serious hills.
I'd often cycled from Innishannon to Ballinspittle and Garrettstown, along the River Bandon, and had cycled from Bandon to Kilbrittain, but had never really cycled the bit in-between those two routes, because of the complexity of the road-system and its undoubted hilliness.
Yesterday after consulting the maps I decided to give it a go. I love exploration.
I cycled the main road as far as Innishannon.
Chetwynd Viaduct 2 miles outside Cork City. I have been unable to find out why it's called Chetwynd. Obviously a man's surname. Known in Cork as "The Viaduct". The Rail-line closed about 1961.
I seldom do this as there's a quieter back route. Innishannon is a lovely but busy village about 13 miles from my house.
Having left at 12, it being too cold to leave earlier, I had a nice chicken roll in the Gala shop at the end of the village. I'd eaten there before and the rolls are sensational. Leaving the village I crossed the bridge across the river and turned left along the Bandon, and after a couple of miles or so, I took the second right. This is a poorly surfaced wooded magic road.
I took the first left and then had to negotiate the first of the severe hills of the day. I'd done it before. It is about 200 yards long and hits 15%. No problem to a Rohloff hub. The road ran by houses and then dropped into a valley where I had to turn left for a while. Then it wound through lovely countryside before a drop, a T-junction where I turned left and first right and hard climb number two. This was a similar slope and there followed a flattish area until I came to a second T-junction. There was an unsurfaced farm track facing straight on, so I turned right and after about 200 m left. I'd asked a lady in a car and she'd told me that this was the way, and that there was a "fair pull" up the hill. Translation, not easy!. She did not lie. I reckon hitting 20% and maybe 200 yards. At the top I veered left and there was a crossroads, or as you'll be told out the country in Ireland, a "cross of four roads".
At the top I found myself at the crossroads of Crushnalanniv (Crois na Leanbh). I'd never heard of it before, until I'd seen it on the map in the morning. This means the Cross of the Children, and what it means is that it was a place where unbaptized children used to be buried, with a cross to mark the spot. They weren't buried in graveyards if they weren't baptized. That kind of nonsense is long gone in Ireland.
At the crossroads there was a monument to four men killed in Ireland's war of Independence with the British. They had been digging a trench across the road at night to prevent British Troop movements in that area (I looked it up on the Internet this morning) and a night Patrol came upon them and four were killed. This happened in 1921. Co.Cork has many such monuments as it was the epicentre of rebel activity from the military point of view, the chief protagonist being Tom Barry. He was a trained British Army soldier in WW1 and even though very young, he was very bright and totally ruthless and perfected a form of guerilla warfare that was very difficult to counter.
The countryside was lovely around here and very up and down. This road led to a backroad between Kilbrittain and Ballinspittle and then to the main road between them. I was up quite high, at 500ft and had a great view of the coastline between Courtmacsherry and Kinsale. Then it was dull routine back to Garrettstown Ballinspittle, Kinsale and home.. It was getting cold, I was into a biting wind on the way home and was really tired after my 52 miles at 10.5 mph and 3350ft of climbing, according to my GPS.
A memorable day, however