17 Miles

Day 7 – Birr to Shannonbridge – 17 Miles

A thousand variables enter your mind as your daily tasks of making it from point A to point B reveal themselves. Every minute is a new decision as you study the traffic and the weather and rush to get done by sunset.

What makes every day interesting is that it is a NEW adventure. You have never seen what’s coming. Inch by inch. Mile by mile. Enough anticipation to distract from the fatigue and physical discomfort. You get excited when you see a name similar to yours, you know something is brewing close.

I know the last 25 days will be great. Just needed a week to get used to Ireland and the rhythm. I have a Flag of Ireland which has been mostly shelved due to very high winds.

And I received a phone call from a Senator of Ireland in Dublin. Plans are underway for the finale on St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin.


Martin Buber once said, “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” This is so true in my case. The Road had a Revelation in store.

I am very near the geographical center of Ireland.


I am also very near the geographical center of my 4th Run. Years ago at the start of the 3rd Run in 2015 , I referred to “Run for Rare” as #Run4Rare not knowing I was going to ever do a fourth Run five years later.

I ran here South-North. In 2 and 1/2 weeks, I will cross Shannonbridge again West-East onto Dublin.

My last name is Coughlan. Today ends the first 1/4 of my trek. I had not confirmed until 2 days ago I would even run exactly through here.

Just 4 miles north of me lies Clonmacnoise – An Early Christian monastery dating back to the 6th century of 544 AD, was once one of the most important religious and scholarly locations in Europe.

Without further ado, at the center of Clonmacnoise is an ancient monastery housing the Last King of Ireland, Rory O’Connor in 1158, and the other High Kings of Ireland as well as many Coghlan headstones. Tomorrow, I visit.

The name of the monastery?

Temple Coghlan

The center of the center = Coghlan

And nearby, I was able to see Clonony Castle on my run here.

“Clonony Castle, built in the 1490’s by the Coghlan Clan, was seized by Henry VIII during the war of dominion by England.”

Even better, the owner of my B&B tonight Brian O’Carroll is an author and expert on Clonmacnoise and Ireland history. I asked if I am a direct descendant of a High King of Ireland.


#Run4Rare #ChasingEmpires