Touring west coast of Ireland

jaylfc147
jaylfc147 Posts: 49
edited April 2014 in Tour & expedition
Hi all,

I'm trying to organise a three day trip to the West Coast of Ireland for my Dad's 70th. We are looking at doing between 60-80 miles a day.

The planning is very much in the early days so any suggestions of routes, places to visit and how best to travel (can get the Ferry to Ireland and a train to the West Coast but thinking about driving over and staying at three different hotels with panniers) would be very much appreciated.

Thanks in advance

James

Comments

  • bcmf
    bcmf Posts: 25
    James,
    If you ask on the cycling section of Boards.ie -> http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=410
    you should get plenty of help and advice.
  • cycladelic
    cycladelic Posts: 641
    My wife and i toured the south and west coasts a few years ago. You can see some photos and maps here:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=M ... 6864&v=18v

    Moll's Gap and the Gap of Dunloe are wonderful.

    Some roads, such as the one around the Ring of Kerry, can be busy and are best avoided in peak season.

    We enjoyed County Sligo, which sees fewer visitors. There's a nice road around a lake - Lough Mask.
    It's an uphill climb to the bottom
  • jaylfc147
    jaylfc147 Posts: 49
    Wow thank you so much for them two kind posts, some good info there to get my planning off to a good start :D
  • bcmf
    bcmf Posts: 25
    The West of Ireland is stunning. Try and get some of west Galway area called Connemara in as part of your visit. Spent a lot of summers down there as a kid and it stunnng!!! But be warned if its not sunny - its rainy.Very Rainy and Very Very Windy so be prepared!!!!
  • bikeboff
    bikeboff Posts: 87
    Hi - more info and routes from my 2010 tour. Some great scenery - you'll enjoy it, I'm sure. http://mchattie.co.uk/ireland.html
  • jaylfc147
    jaylfc147 Posts: 49
    Planning is going very well thanks to all your help, thank you! So far i've got a day around the ring of Kerry and just planning a route to include the Cliffs of Moher.

    Thanks all

    James
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Connemara is well worth including. You could do worse than follow the routes of the Tour de Connemara (http://www.tourdeconamara.com/). Clifden would be a great place to stay (nice pubs and have dinner here if you like seafood http://www.mitchellsrestaurantclifden.com/). This area is absolutely gorgeous when the sun comes out although that's a bit of a lottery. You'll enjoy it regardless!
    There's also the Western Greenway if you fancy spending a while riding on bike only route with superb scenery (http://www.greenway.ie/). The Greenway was formerly a railway line from Westport to Achill Island. The track has been removed and it's been replaced with a fine gravel surface for cycling. If I remember correctly the Greenway itself is about 45km long with more good road cycling on Achill Island when you get there. The Western Greenway can certainly be done on a road bike with 23mm tyres and friends of mine have done so but typical touring tyres would be better.

    Westport to Clifden would only be about 65km with some great terrain in between so you could easily cycle from one to the other and both are great towns to spend a night with a good selection of nice hotels and guesthouses plus nice restaurants and pubs.

    Further south you've got the Burren which I haven't ridden but plan to sometime. It's a very open desolate limestone terrain including the Burren National Park. Worth seeing but it might be a bit exposed if it's windy.

    Further south again the Ring of Kerry is another beautiful area. I haven't been there for many years but I think it would be a great place to cycle too.
  • redjeepǃ
    redjeepǃ Posts: 531
    Agree with everything said so far.

    I've ridden the Burren a few times and it is very desolate but very beautiful. The coastal road from Ballyvaughan down through Doolin (famous for it's traditional Irish music pubs) and onto the Cliffs of Moher is pretty good. Just look out for Corkscrew Hill (it's on the road from Ballyvaughanto Lisdoonvarna) !

    You could always stop in Monk's Bar in Ballyvaughan for a meal. I'm not saying it's good, but it's rumoured that Tom Hanks calls in for a cheesecake whenever he's in Ireland.

    There's a 'Tour De Burren' organised every year by An Post (the Irish Postal Service), which is meant to be excellent.

    I also love Connemara as I think it's the real 'stereotypical Ireland', meaning mountains, fields, rivers, sheep, cows and no people. There's some nice places to stay around Clifden, again if you're after luxury and great food or maybe something special for your dad you could try the Abbeyglen. I stayed there for a long weekend a few years back and I think that I've just finished paying off my credit card :shock:

    Sligo is also great. I've done the Tour De Sligo, again by An Post, a few times and it's always great. The area around the Ox mountains is nice.

    If you want a lively city then drop into Galway. It's a very busy and very 'studenty' city, but very nice with plenty of good hotels, pubs and cafes. Most places are fairly bike friendly, I cycle a lot around this general area and have never had any problems. Most drivers tend to be friendly and I always like that I get acknowledgement of drivers and they tend to be courteous.

    You'll enjoy Ireland and I think that the West Coast is the best part.
  • mrfpb
    mrfpb Posts: 4,569
    Slighty OT, but there's great fishing in Connemara as well as great cycling. Oughterard is the place to pick up some fishing gear.
  • knedlicky
    knedlicky Posts: 3,097
    I’ve just come back from Ireland’s west coast, and I’d agree with some of the tips here, like Connemara, Lough Mask and Galway (worth a visit for the pubs and restaurants with studenty atmosphere in its inner town pedestrian area).
    I saw the Greenway route at Westport but didn’t ride it, however its destination, Achill Island, is well worth a visit, particularly the SW coastal road (through Cloghmore and Dooega, cliff-top roads), Keel for its beach, and the road towards Keem for the climb between it and Dooagh (and the views at the top of the climb).

    Further south along the coast, the Doo Lough Pass between Louisburgh and Leenaun is worth the effort and I really liked the roads out on the peninsulas between Leenaun and Clifden, e.g. the narrow peninsula just west of Clifden, and a route Letterfrack-Renvyle-Gowlaun-N59 on a fatter peninsula north of Clifden.
    The route along the N59 between Letterfrack and Leenaun is also good, past Kylemore Abbey. I’d also recommend the coastal road south of Clifden (passing through Roundstone).

    More inland, I'd suggest the route from the N59 near Kylemore Lough southwards via Lough Inagh to Carna (R334 and R340), and the parallel route from Leenaun to Maam Cross (R336). Also, between Leenaun and Maam Cross, the links from the R336 to Cong (R345), and from the R336 northwestwards past Lough Nafooey to Lough Mask (and eventually along the lake’s west edge).

    Be ready for sharp if short climbs, though!
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    knedlicky wrote:
    ......More inland, I'd suggest the route from the N59 near Kylemore Lough southwards via Lough Inagh to Carna (R334 and R340), and the parallel route from Leenaun to Maam Cross (R336)....
    I'll be heading to Connemara to run a half marathon on this very stretch of road next Sunday!
  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 5,105
    Weather - I spent 3 weeks there in August a long time back.
    Rain every day, sunshine every day. Lots of So'westerlies too. Found ourselves drinking hot whiskey to keep warm in the evening (I am aware of the medical perils).
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Mad_Malx wrote:
    Weather - I spent 3 weeks there in August a long time back.
    Rain every day, sunshine every day. Lots of So'westerlies too. Found ourselves drinking hot whiskey to keep warm in the evening (I am aware of the medical perils).
    Yeah, Ireland is a bit unpredictable for weather and perhaps the west coast most of all! When the weather's good it's a fantastic place to be but when it's not it still has a lot going for it.
  • Mad_Malx
    Mad_Malx Posts: 5,105
    ^Didn't mean this to sound so negative - it was a fantastic holiday. Great scenery and craic , and still very memorable 20 odd years on. Genuinely friendly natives.
  • redjeepǃ
    redjeepǃ Posts: 531
    Mad_Malx wrote:
    ^Didn't mean this to sound so negative - it was a fantastic holiday. Great scenery and craic , and still very memorable 20 odd years on. Genuinely friendly natives.

    Don't worry Mad_Malx. I don't think it came across as negative. The weather's not changed much, and the locals are still friendly. I'm lucky enough to live there.