Somewhere on the Burren in Western Ireland there is a fork in the road and a signpost. Towards the end of a two week long cycle trip we were confronted by the paradox it proposed. Surrounded by white rough rocked walls and open limestone escarpments we stopped. Larks were singing and wildflowers waving from the lush grass of perfect grazing land.
From the post sprouted two pointed and opposing plaques of metal each suggesting that Ballyvaughn was 12 miles in the direction they indicated. Stood perched by a gate not ten yards from the sign was an evidently content farmer. Dressed in a tweed suit with a matching cap and chewing on a long piece of grass he leant quietly watching us and the cows in his field. We all nodded acknowledgement of each other’s presence and then I greeted him and asked a question.
“So which is the best way to Ballyvaughn?”
He looked at me obviously amused while taking in my colorful attire and Lycra shorts. Then in the a lilting accent he responded with a question. “So what will you be doing then?”
“Well we thought we would take it slow and cycle around Ireland”, I offered in return.
He looked me in the eye and said, “well you could go this way…” pointing to his left, “then again you could go that way” signaling to the right. Then swiftly he pointed out. “To be sure you would be walking if you were taking it slow.”
Sometimes it is the most obvious things that I need help with.
What is some of the best advice you were given?
- Country Diary: The Burren, Ireland (guardian.co.uk)