Coast of Ireland: Day Five

Lisdoonvarna to Leenaun 107 miles

I should have heeded the advice! As we left the Rathbaun Hotel in Lisdoonvarna the Hotel owner mentioned the Corkscrew Hill. She said that it had formed part of a local cycle racing circuit until the town doctor had fallen on it and broken his arm.

Leaving the hotel we headed for the said hill. I took a call and Pete pulled ahead. Once I had finished my call I headed down out of the Burren and onto the flat lands into Galway. Unfortunately all did not go to plan. Overnight it had rained and roads in the morning were greasy. Heading down the hill I was followed by a car the driver of whom decided to take an interest in the make of my bike by driving very close and thereby requiring me to ride more quickly than I would have liked. On the last hair pin bend about a mile into the hill my brakes locked and I was thrown off the bike cracking my helmet, and landing heavily on the side of my head, my left shoulder, elbow and hip. The car following me narrowly avoided running me over given the greasiness of the road surface.

So gathering my thoughts I texted my trusty support team of Chris Belton and Chris Smith and proceeded to walk to the bottom of the hill, my confidence at this stage completely shattered, seemingly as was the gears on my bike. Once the team picked me up we headed to DIY Pursuits in Kinvarra where in five minutes the owner had completed a repair and a quick service.

We then met with Pete who had by this stage arrived in Galway and set off for Oughterard and the wilds of Connemara. The ride to the west along the Wild Atlantic Way was superb although I was unable to extend my left leg in the pedal rotation. We reached Clifden and turned north east into the headwind and the rain began. Just above Clifden after a steep climb you reach and open area not covered by trees immediately after passing the last line of trees I received a cross blast of wind that nearly blew me into the railing on the side of the hill. At that stage I decided that with everything that had happened that day I was call it a day. The rain was by this stage horizontal into your face but Pete completed the day looking very wet and sorry for himself.

A gentle reminder to all that Brendan and Peter are cycling the coast or Ireland in aid of Home Start Uttlesford. Please give generously!

Coast of Ireland: Day Four

Ballylongford to Lisdoonvarna. 89 miles aggregate mileage 415

Windy with a head wind for the first 39 miles. Reaching Limerick, having passed along the southern shores of the Shannon, we turned north west into County Clare and gained a tail wind. We passed through Nemarket on Fergus, Ennis, Ennistimon and then on to Lisdoonvarna arriving at 4.30 pm at our hotel.

The average speed increased from 12 mph to 14.6 in the second half of the day.

So tomorrow we pass across the Burren to Galway and then into County Mayo.

A gentle reminder to all that Brendan and Peter are cycling the coast or Ireland in aid of Home Start Uttlesford. Please give generously!

Coast or Ireland: Day Three

Kenmare to Ballylongford. 116 miles 5000 ft of climbing

On the basis that we were riding the Ring of Kerry we had hoped for dry day. How wrong we were. Apart from two hours between 9.30 and 11.30 it rained the rest of the day.  At one point it was raining so hard that the rain drops seemed to be bouncing up from the ground and wetting the pedals more than the rain drops that had yet to hit the ground.

Leaving Kenmare we travelled along the N70 passing through Sneem then to Waterville. This included the first of the 600 foot climbs. We then cycled down to Cahersiveen and then onto Kilorglin before reaching Tralee. From there we followed the N69 heading north to Listowel and then to our overnight stay in Ballylongford.

The Owners of the B&B were extremely accommodating providing us with an evening meal of soup and roast chicken. What a treat!

A gentle reminder to all that Brendan and Peter are cycling the coast or Ireland in aid of Home Start Uttlesford. Please give generously!

Coast of Ireland: Day Two

Cork to Kenmare. 108 miles

You couldn't get two more different days. Where yesterday was relatively easy in terms of climbs and the weather was warm and dry, today was wet all day and every ten miles was punctuated by climbs including the highest point on the tour. Leaving Cork we followed the N71 all day passing through Clonakilty and then to Skibereen and Ballydehob. From there we turned north into the Caha hills and climbed a 1000 ft in 5 miles taking 45 minutes to do so. Reaching the top we passed through the tunnel and then descended into Kenmare our finishing point. The rain was blowing into our faces so hard that it stung our yes and made it difficult to maintain a good speed as you needed to keep closing your yes to clear the rain away. I have cycled in the wet before but I have never been so wet in all the time that I have been cycling. Now for the ring of Kerry. More tomorrow

Please give generously to support Home Start Uttlesford at

Coast of Ireland: Day One

Wexford to Cork. 108 miles

A warm sunny day allowed us to depart early and to make good progress, that is without two punctures.  The support van well organised by Chris B and Chris S returned to assist in the running repairs. This allowed to get to the ferry at Ballyhack in reasonable time and make our crossing.

From there we passed Waterford, Dungarvan and then down into Cork arriving at 5.30pm only to cycle up and down Western road Cork for twenty whilst we tried to find the hotel.

Please give generously to support Home Start Uttlesford at

Brendan OBrien

Breeze & Wyles cycles round the coast of Ireland for charity

Brendan O'Brien, managing director of Breeze & Wyles Solicitors Limited is cycling 1000 miles from 23 August to 2 September round the coast or Ireland. Joining him is Peter Fitch a Home Start volunteer.

Brendan says: "it gives me great pleasure to support Home Start again. The work the charity does in the Uttlesford area may come to many as a surprise. Irrespective of one financial status the problems associated with coping with young children can affect anyone."

Anyone who wishes to support the charity can do so by sponsoring Brendan & Pete at 

If you wish to keep up to date with the ride come back to this page and Brendan will post updates on a daily basis.

“There is a price for justice but at whose expense?”

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division yesterday gave judgement dealing with three cases in a single judgment because they raised sufficiently similar issues and which may potentially have far reaching implications.
As we discussed in our previous blog, The Legal Aid Punishment and Sentencing of Offenders Act (LAPSO) resulted in a stark reduction in the availability of Legal Aid in family matters. Put simply, legal aid is not available for private law family matters unless you have suffered domestic abuse or are involved in proceedings involving children and the children have suffered harm at the hands of the other party to the proceedings. Either way, that harm has to be proven and evidenced before funding will be granted.
There is also the possibility of funding for “exceptional” cases. Whether or not a case is exceptional is determined by the Legal Aid Agency (LAA) and essentially the Legal Aid Agency should consider a case exceptional if a failure to provide funding would be a breach of –
(i) the individual's Convention rights (within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998), or
(ii) any rights of the individual to the provision of legal services that are enforceable EU rights, or
(iii) that it is appropriate to do so, in the particular circumstances of the case, having regard to any risk that failure to do so would be such a breach.
This is not to say that under these provisions everyone has a right to advice and representation in court proceedings (notwithstanding how desirable that might be). The reality is that this ability for the LAA to grant exceptional case funding has resulted in a tiny percentage and therefore a handful of cases being granted.
Ultimately, the result of these changes is that the court has to deal with more people who are forced to represent themselves as they can not afford to instruct solicitors and the additional difficulties that this can cause for example because the parties can not afford to instruct an expert which a judge feels is necessary to help him or her decide the case fairly or where the victim of rape or serious domestic abuse faces the undesirable prospect of being cross examined by the person accused of doing these things to them.
The three cases considered by Sir James Munby were private law cases where a father is seeking to be involved in his child’s life. In each case, the mother has Legal Aid but the father does not. In one case, the father is a convicted sex offender. In the other two cases, the mothers allege they were raped by the father, which both men deny. The judge noted that the absence of Legal Aid for those unable to pay for their own representation created a real problem and had the potential of preventing the court in ensuring a fair hearing by having access to the best evidence for the experts or the parties themselves and could be seen as breaching the parties human rights including their right to a fair trial.
The judge concluded that in terms of attendance of experts at court, HMCTS should cover the cost if there is no other properly available public purse, in accordance with the court’s duty to deal with the case justly. The judge further concluded that in terms of representation in court, if there is no alternative way to ensure a fair trial and compliance with Articles 6 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, then the judge should be able to direct that appropriate representation is provided by, at the expense of, HMCTS.
This is not to say that funding provided by the court is available as of right in the absence of Legal Aid and it will surely only be very exceptional cases that would justify this. Sir James Munby said that this would be an order of last resort and no order of this sort should be made except by or having first consulted a High Court Judge or a Designated Family Judge.
Karen Johnson - (Associate Solicitor and Family Mediator) – A Graduate of the University of East Anglia who then completed her Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in London and then Qualified as a Solicitor in 2002 working in a local High Street Firm before Joining Breeze & Wyles Solicitors in 2009 and becoming an Associate with the firm in 2011.
Karen is a highly skilled and experienced Family Solicitor with in excess of 10 years experience of working in Family Law. She is a Resolution Accredited Specialist in the fields of Domestic Violence and Financial Matters. Karen is additionally a Family Mediator trained by and a member of the Family Mediators Association (The FMA) an association with over 20 years experience of Family Mediation.

Property buyers play it safe with no-nups

Savvy property owners who club together to buy a home are turning to no-nups to safeguard their investment. 

Whether as a cohabiting couple, or two or more friends clubbing together, a cohabitation agreement, or no-nup, as they now becoming known, can help fix the outcome if things go wrong.
And that’s particularly important when contributions to buying a property are unequal.  Nowadays, many young people are buying with the help of parents, and there is often a difference in the amount invested by each person, so it’s important to agree what share each owner has, at the outset.    
But many joint buyers who are not married or in a civil partnership still don’t realise that they have little or no protection if things go wrong, believing that they will have similar rights to divorcing couples when it comes to sharing assets or maintenance.  
Although property can be held in specified shares, so each gets back their relative contribution if there’s a sale, it doesn’t protect against the other financial contributions that may have been made, and that’s where the no-nup comes in.
This sort of agreement can set out the way property is owned and the contributions being made, including how finances will be managed in the relationship, down to who pays what and on what date.  It can also cover responsibilities for day to day running and managing of the property, right through to what will happen in the event of a split.  As well being a legally binding official agreement that takes away uncertainty, it can help relieve tension about financial matters from the outset, as drawing up the agreement means everything has to be agreed from the start. 
Said John Appleton Director and Head of Residential Conveyancing at Breeze & Wyles Solicitors Limited :  “Anyone buying property together should be protecting themselves by getting under the surface to agree the basis on which it is being undertaken.  Division of assets and property on splitting can still be affected by other circumstances, for example if children have been born between a couple, but it’s a good strong basis to work from.  

“Obviously it’s best to do it before you commit big sums of money to a purchase, but it can be drawn up at any time to record what was intended – although it’s too late when you’re at the point of splitting and the relationship has broken down. 
“The agreement can drill down to the detail of who takes out the bins, or simply be a declaration of trust, which would set out who owns what share and the agreement on responsibilities towards the mortgage and other property outgoings – and any parent giving or lending money to help their children onto the property ladder should insist on this as a bare minimum.”
He  added:  “Whether it’s a romantic relationship or friends clubbing together, too often, people worry about undermining the romance or affecting their friendship if they try to deal with the nitty gritty in this way, but it is likely to be too late if things break down.  As market prices continue to rise, I expect we will see more and more people clubbing together to get their foot on the housing ladder, and it’s going to be increasingly important to have everything properly sorted, if you want to avoid the chance of ending up in the courts at a later day, fighting your share.” 

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This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.