Thoughts on fitness, health, good nutrition ... and running.

Welcome to Bald Man Running, a blog launched by Frank Murphy on January 1, 2015.

In March, 2013 I was selected as a contestant for the sixth season of Fort Wayne's Smallest Winner. Through this amazing program, I learned about good nutrition, sound exercise and accountability. By October, I would lose over 88 pounds (almost 37% of my original weight)! One of the many things I acquired through FWSW was a love for running. You can retrace my weight loss journey and discover how I became a runner by reading those entries labeled "fwsw" ...

Note: Many of the blog entries on this website predate 1/1/2015. Prior to launching BMR, I had written articles for various projects, and I have imported many of them into this blog (labeled "retro").

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Ireland Day 3

Full photo album - https://photos.app.goo.gl/2GuzY98UMVi5QMVs7

Cong -> Knock -> Sligo -> Boyle

Before I left, I was thinking that I could have breakfast around 6:30 every morning and be on my way by 7:00 a.m. That never happened. Except for that first hotel, the BnB hosts provided a big breakfast that I would order the night before. The earliest I could get breakfast was 8:00, and usually a bit after that even. The meals were wonderful. I'm not complaining. It allowed me a bit of "decompress" time before beginning the day in earnest.

The first BnB was Michaeleen's Manor, which is named for the matchmaker from The Quiet Man. Everything was adorable. I was also able to enjoy some walking around town a bit before breakfast. I had such a good time that I opted to spend a little extra time in Cong before moving on.


The Cong Forest Walk is one of the most beautifully groomed trails I've ever seen. The locals really take care of things in this town. They know it's a tourist destination, and the keep everything really nice.

Ashford Castle is nearby, and it's a posh place. The grounds are open for public walks, and I spent a little time there, but mostly I was on the Forest Walk. One of the neat little treats on the path was the Monk's Fishing House. It's the ruins of a tiny little house on a spit of land that juts into Lough Corrib.

There's also a very cool tower hidden deep in the forest. It took a little to find it, but it's open and you go all the way to top for a very nice view.

The Cong Abbey is undergoing renovations, but it's an active church with very beautiful grounds.

Upon leaving Cong, I would head north towards Sligo. Along the way, I saw signs for the city of Knock. I figured "why not?" so I took a detour and spent a couple of hours wandering around the city. It was very wet and windy, so it was nice to pop into buildings every once in a while to dry out and warm up.

The city is the site of a famous shrine built where an apparition of Mary (and a few others) was seen in 1879. It's now a pilgrimage destination. There are a lot of shops in the area that sell religious items.

President Biden happened to be in Ireland at the same time I was. On this particular day, he was on the east coast while I was on the west coast. Eventually, we would switch places. He too made an unplanned stop at Knock during his trip.

I got back on the road, and continued north. Next stop? Drumcliffe. This is where the Irish poet, W. B. Yeats, is buried. When he died, he was out of the country. It was several years before his body would be returned to Ireland and buried here according to his wishes. He loved this part of the county, particularly the mountain known as Ben Bulben. Drumcliff is very close to the base of this mountain.

Glencar - It was windy (wind speed was reported to be over 45 MPH) and rainy (it felt like someone shooting you with BBs when a rain drop struck exposed skin). This meant I really couldn't hike to the summit of Ben Bulben. I knew Glencar Lough was nearby, and it had a famous waterfall. Let's go check that out ... probably wouldn't be as bad in the rain and wind. The path around there provided a little shelter from the worst of the elements, but visibility was limited.


Upon leaving Glencar, the weather cleared a little, but not much. Ben Bulben was finally visible, and it does not disappoint. This was the #1 natural feature on my list. I had to see this mountain!

There is a trail to the summit, but I didn't feel that was responsible to attempt alone in the volatile weather. I knew there was also a Forest Hike along the tree line at the base of the mountain, and if I'm going to hike in the shadow of a mountain, there's no better place than here.

One of Yeats' last poems is entitled "Under Ben Bulben" ... the last few lines of this poem appear on his tombstone. I enjoyed a beautiful four mile hike under Ben Bulben!

I actually teared up a little ... it was overwhelmingly, achingly beautiful to finally see it so close and in person. Bucket list item? Checked!


I had to make it back to my BnB before it got too much later. Each day, I pretty much needed to get to my lodging before 6:00 pm. That was just the rules. So, I had to backtrack a little to get to Riverstown and Boyle.

I passed the Gaelic Chieftain, a road-side statue that's pretty cool looking, so I pulled over and snapped a pic or two ...


Boyle is the setting for a sit-com called Moone Boy. It's available on Amazon Prime. It's created by Chris O'Dowd (Roy from IT Crowd). It's mildly autobiographical and very cute. I got to see some of the sites used in filming the show. The show is about a 12 year old boy with an imaginary friend.

The Boyle Abbey is a really neat museum. It's fairly well-preserved. I arrived as it was closing, but the manager of the facility allowed me to walk around a bit any way. After the official closing time, he gave me a personalized tour of the place. That was really cool.


Turns out he's a retired history professor ... after we left the abbey, he offered to show me the sites of Boyle, and we walked and talked. It was magical. I couldn't have asked for a better host or tour guide. This was a really neat experience. We would up over four miles away at the Lough Key Forest Park. I got a few neat pics of McDermott's Castle out in the lough ... and then started to worry because it was getting dark. We wouldn't make it back to the abbey safely, so I hailed a cab.

Overall? What a beautiful day! I found beautiful trails in the morning, got to experience Ben Bulben in the afternoon and had a fascinating tour of Boyle in the evening.

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