TLDR – Maddex and I rode our bikes to Sally Gap, Glendalough, Roundwood, Powerscourt then home – all in the same day; 91km round trip.
Marley Park and Sally gap
Maddex and I wanted to go on a bike ride the weekend before school starts. Making our minds up last minute we were not able to book a room so the ride was going to be a one day ride. I gave Maddex the option of Clara adventure park or Glendalough for a hike. Glendalough is twice the riding distance and about 1500′ great elevation gain than the park. Maddex picked Glendalough. According to google, it will be about 85km round trip. We packed up and left around 0800, fifteen minutes later we stopped at Marley park for a climb and the first break of the day.
The ride up to Sally Gap is about 650meter of gain. More then Maddex and I have ridden on a ride. It hurt, but it never hurt enough that Maddex wanted to stop. He said a few times he was not sure he could make it, but he kept ongoing. We made it to Sally gap and found a spot on the side of the road to sit down to have a snack. Sally Gap is a stop the middle of the Irish Mountains where you’re surrounded by bogs, and hills near the top of the drive; it’s a spectacular view. Maddex had a few nibbles of food then went into exploring the bogs and bushes where found himself a headlight.
From the gap, we stopped at a few streams because Maddex loves water and rocks. Maddex would like to go back next weekend and walk the river listed as the source of the Liffey. We did some parkour on the rocks in the streams. It was 90% downhill from the Gap to Glendalough. Much easier ride compared to the 90% uphill to the Sally Gap. About 3k from our destination we passed by a steep rocky section in a largish creek. The steep section is called Glenmacnass Waterfall, which is ironically, on the Glenmacnass river. It’s not a waterfall with falling water, it’s not flat water at all, it’s water running down a steep rock face; Would be amazing to raft.
Maddex definitely wanted to stop and check it out. Standing there looking at the water Maddex commented that the water drop was some of the most impressive sights he’s seen on our bike rides. The boy is very calm standing there taking it in. You can tell he’s impressed and taking his time looking at the waterfall. Was nice to have a calm conversation with him about what we were seeing.
We took a good 20 minutes to stand on the side of the road and take in the sight. Eventually, we made it past the visitors center to the restaurant Colin took Wes and I to Three years ago on my first visit to Ireland. We spent 40€ on Lunch; fish and chips and a burger, ouch. The burger was good the fish was massive; neither of us finished our meals. After taking a break sitting and charging my bike battery we walked by Kevin’s Cones for some ice cream cones. It’s named Kevin’s cones we had to stop. With cones in hand, we walked through the cemetery and checked out the busted up church and super tall stone tower.
Having finished our cones and taken in the stonework we carried on to the upper lake; the big lake. Maddex changed out of his pants into shorts on the beach; the boy has no shame, he took off his shoes and went for a wade in the water. The Irish summer being over a few weeks ago the lake was not warm at all. Warm enough for a kiddo to swim in, but not warm enough for a daddo to swim in. I sat on the shore watching Maddex and skipping rocks while he kept wading out deeper and deeper into the water. In the pictures, it looks like he owns the lake. In real life, the park and beach are littered with people.
On the way home, we rode around the hills through a small town called Roundwood. We stopped at a Centra in Roundwood and picked up some more ice cream and chatted with a local couple about our fancy electric bikes. Next stop, as we were getting close to Powerscourt, Maddex asks “Dad, can we stop to climb my tree and have a snack” – Can’t turn down a request at that. We stopped for some tree climbing and cookies before the last 9k home.
By the time we made it home, we were both on our last bars of battery life. I rode on the lowest to no power setting most of the ride minus the big hill at the start trying to avoid going dead and having no juice when I wanted some. Going uphill we were passing most of the bikers we came across. Going downhill, not wanting to do more than about 40k, they all passed us. Maddex only almost fell off the road taking after his grandpa turning the bike with his head. – We had a great time, Maddex is already talking about doing the ride again stoping other places or staying overnight at the lake