June 2003. Whilst at a very loose end one day and wanting to clear the head of unpleasant thoughts, I invented the tour which shall forever be known as the “Solstice Sojourn”. Started at home in Carrigaline, west taking in Bandon, Clonakilty, Skibbereen, Schull, Leap, Sheeps Head, Bantry, Glengarriff and a few other towns that I can’t remember. All in all, took about 9 hours and was held for two years running on the longest day of the year. I NEED to do that again as soon as I get a bike.
June 2003. Back when I first got my (what I would now refer to as) first proper digital camera I tried out more or less everything with limited success. It was only when I tried everything that I really started lusting after a DSLR. And so the cycle of expense and gear porn begins. Here I was, perched outside Cork’s main fire station, waiting for an emergency so I could get what I imagined would be ‘cool’ shots of the engines leaving the station. No emergencies and several minutes later and the cold kicked in so I got this instead. Now I hardly ever go out taking shots at night. Maybe need to revisit that next year.
July 2003. Clearly not designed for the well-being of anyone’s livers. Several of us took off to Kenmare and rented a holiday home for a few days. There was a lot of fishing, a lot of drinking and a medium amount of falling into the lake while fishing done. There were people accused of being homosexuals, people doing strange things to cattle and a video produced that covers most of the above. Above is an example of drunk people, albeit quite well behaved drunk people. Still can’t remember if anyone actually caught anything though…
February 2004. Got some free tickets to my first bike show. Held at the RDS, it gave me chance to drool over the latest and greatest that I couldn\’t afford and made me realise that even if I diet extensively that I\’ll never properly fit on a Ducati sport bike. That was over 5 years ago too, so I\’d hate to have to try it now.
July 2004. Before taking the bus sized bike on the voyage to France, I hit upon the Bubblegum Run. It’s an annual event in Dublin’s biker calendar that (if I remember correctly as it was some years ago) starts at Mansion house in the city centre and makes it’s way out to Mondello park in Kildare. This was the first year I’d done it but with any bit of luck, it won’t be the last.
August 2004. Having bought a great big monster of a tourer, I came to the decision to take it around France on a 2,500 mile round trip down the west coast and back up the midlands to Paris. France really is an odd country. I’d never been there before and I think next time I’d be a lot wiser in my travel plans. No more camp sites and no more service station diners thanks. But I did get the opportunity to further explore my childish side, as you can clearly see. Bike holidays ftw!
April 2005. A very, very, very large boat docks in Ringaskiddy (about 5/6 mins drive from Carrigaline) and offloads a bunch of presumably wealthy tourists for a few days. This was taken just before it’s departure, which was also a grand affair that saw many locals, including local journalists, come out to record for posterity. Now a dwarf among it’s sisters, the others have taken to docking in nearby Cobh which I believe offers a more accommodating home for the cruise ships.
April 2005. Always one of the places I’d take the bike to for a spin in the evenings or weekends, Charlesfort and it’s neighbour Jamesfort across the harbour are popular spots. That used to be just so I could go sit in the sunshine for a few minutes or to consume whatever I’d bought in the shop on the way down before walking around the outside of the castle taking photos. Then it became the invaluable spot to stop with wedding parties to get the all important shots. Truly a multipurpose location!
April 2005. Before being boarded up, wrapped in scaffolding and having very large ‘no entry, prosecution blah blah blah’ signs posted at it’s gates some years ago, Castlefreake was, as it’s name suggests, a freaky spot to visit. At one stage the basement, including the tunnel pictured, was in complete darkness. Hence, I wouldn’t go down it. After a few bits of the building gave up and fell off it let a bit of light in and it was a bit less worrying to stroll around.
May 2005. I only really remember this as one of the first times I actively tried to sell my previous bike, a Yamaha Royal Star Venture. Put on by the Freewheelers MC in Waterford, the show was my first opportunity to get up close to and photograph trial bikes. When asked by one of the riders ‘which paper I work for’, I remember having to think fast and come up with something good so I’d be allowed further access to the event. Ahh blagging.
June 2005. Victor Frankenstein marked a few firsts. First time I successfully blagged a press pass, first time I accidentally hit someone with a lens hood, first time I learned that the 20D was not a fan of being used at high ISO\’s and the first time I was propositioned by a very nasty prostitute. Serves me right for parking on the quays. Great show and huge crowds. One of the many great events that took part in Cork for it’s 2005 Capital of Culture status.