Ireland advice on a good base

Toronaga
Toronaga Posts: 5
edited May 2014 in Tour & expedition
Hi,

I am new to the forum and would like some advice. Looking for the best places to base myself whilst in Ireland on an extended holiday with my Roadbike. Looking for quiet and pretty rides with few ish tourists, great views with perhaps a coastal outlook or lumpy stuff nearby. Classic challenges a bonus. My rides are mostly 50-70 miles in length. The wife doesnt ride so needs a nice quiet town to potter for a few hours. I know this is probably most of Ireland and I was particularly thinking of Mayo or Sligo in the west. But looking for suggestions (serious one please!)

Thanks in advance

Comments

  • Donegal?
  • Toronaga
    Toronaga Posts: 5
    Thanks will have a look
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Connemara, to the west of Galway, is a beautiful area, especially if the weather cooperates. I've done the Tour de Connemara sportive there the last 2 years and i'm going back to do it again later this month. There's a few places you could stay in the area - I'd recommend Clifden. It's a lovely little town on the West coast. It is a tourist town of sorts but tastefully so, a pleasant coastal spot with plenty good guesthouses, a couple of hotels and some very nice pubs and restaurants.

    Westport, only about 60km to the north in Mayo is another option. I don't know Westport well but i think it's somewhat similar to Clifden, possibly a bit bigger and busier. This would also give you the option of riding on the Western Greenway if you wanted - this was a section of obsolete railway along the coast that has now been converted to a cycling track. The surface is good but mostly light gravel not paved. It can be ridden just fine on a road bike although it might be a little hard on soft racing tyres. The beautiful route brings you to Achill island. You could spend a day or two cycling around Achill island too. That's where I've done my steepest climb yet. I spotted a small access road leading up a hill to an antenna and decided to try it. 500m up the road I hit a slope of about 25%!

    Further south there would be great cycling around the Ring of Kerry, parts of Clare (look up the Burren) and west Cork but i'm less familiar with these so I won't elaborate! Irish road quality is fine in places and embarrassing in others but there is certainly great cycling to be had and if the weather cooperates it's hard to beat.

    There was a similar thread a little while back looking for suggested cycling locations in Ireland. I'll take a look and edit this with a link if i find it.

    Edit: Here you go
    viewtopic.php?f=40003&t=12962679
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Check out Connemara Smokehouse if its opened after the flooding. Relatives of ours own it and it's absolutely fantastic.
  • pmannion9
    pmannion9 Posts: 285
    I'm originally from West Of Ireland.
    Galway good base for Connemara and Clare but will be busy...

    I would go to Donegal too. Amazing mountains and a bit of the beaten track...

    You have Ring of Kerry too - but again busy...

    Worth maybe going into the Wicklow mountains for a day if you arrive via Dublin port/airport.
    Look at Wicklow 200 for ideas of a route...

    If it rains be warned ..it will be grim :-)

    Let us know what you decide...
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    pmannion9 wrote:
    I'm originally from West Of Ireland.
    Galway good base for Connemara and Clare but will be busy...

    I would go to Donegal too. Amazing mountains and a bit of the beaten track...

    You have Ring of Kerry too - but again busy...

    Worth maybe going into the Wicklow mountains for a day if you arrive via Dublin port/airport.
    Look at Wicklow 200 for ideas of a route...

    If it rains be warned ..it will be grim :-)

    Let us know what you decide...
    Yep, the Wicklow Mountains have some great riding. Lots of good routes you can put together around and between Glendalough, Blessington, Sally gap, Wicklow Gap, Roundwood, Laragh and Rathdrum. That's my usual spot for riding in the hills. I'll be down around Sally Gap this weekend with any luck.
  • Toronaga
    Toronaga Posts: 5
    Fantastic advice, I will get my map out. Already bought new waterproofs, apparently it rains!!!
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Toronaga wrote:
    Fantastic advice, I will get my map out. Already bought new waterproofs, apparently it rains!!!
    Not always! But yes it can be unpredictable, especially on the west coast.
  • Toronaga
    Toronaga Posts: 5
    Thanks to everyone for their advice and links to previous posts. I am lucky that I am able to spend plenty of time travelling around. It looks like my extended holiday will, for personal reasons, end up becoming a permanent move. I like the thought of the Wicklow 200 and surrounding area, they have a good website with routes etc,so I will start off based in the south east. later I will head up towards Westport and Clifden, which coincides with our original travel plans. I have told the wife that plenty of rain means it is essential I buy new waterproofs etc - whey hey, new kit!!!!
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Toronaga wrote:
    Thanks to everyone for their advice and links to previous posts. I am lucky that I am able to spend plenty of time travelling around. It looks like my extended holiday will, for personal reasons, end up becoming a permanent move. I like the thought of the Wicklow 200 and surrounding area, they have a good website with routes etc,so I will start off based in the south east. later I will head up towards Westport and Clifden, which coincides with our original travel plans. I have told the wife that plenty of rain means it is essential I buy new waterproofs etc - whey hey, new kit!!!!
    Well in that case welcome to Ireland! I hope you'll love it here.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    If you're in Dingle/Kerry, better get a surfboard, too! Brandon Bay is too good to miss, not to mention all the ither incredible spots!