Sample the atmosphere that has made Galway a mecca for musicians, artists, actors and tourists alike. Its cobbled pedestrianized streets are lined with bohemian cafes, traditional pubs and craft shops. Take a stroll along the bank of the River Corrib and its canals that feed through the city. Galway City’s real appeal is the vibrant music scene, with buskers on street corners during the day, and bars filled with traditional Irish music at night.
After being transported out of the hustle and bustle of the city, cycle through the Maam Valley starting from Maam Cross. Cycle along the edge of Lough Corrib, going through Maam village and Cornamona until you get to Cong. Cong is home to Cong Abbey and the beautiful Ashford Castle and Gardens. Cong is also famous for Director, John Ford’s 1951 film, The Quiet Man.
Wander through Joyce Country and enjoy its spectacular, yet tranquil and natural beauty. Take a route right through the Maamturk and Partry mountains. It will take you through Clonbur, Finny and around Lough Nafooey. And you’ll finish in the charming village of Leenane, situated at the mouth of Ireland’s only Fjord. And by now you’ll begin to realize why it’s called the Wild Atlantic Way.
Cycle Westward from Killary Harbor towards Tully Cross. Find those hidden gems that include Lettergesh and Gurteen. You may like to explore Connemara National Park in Letterfrack. And such a route should not end in Clifden without taking a spin out to see the views of the Atlantic Ocean from the Sky Road.
Where River Owenglin meets the Atlantic, you’ll find Clifden, often called “the Capital of Connemara”. South of Clifden is Derrygimlagh Bog. In summertime, when heather and other wild flowers are in bloom, the usually dark boggy landscape comes to life in a wonder of colour.
Also, South of Clifden is Ballyconneely and the picturesque, Dog’s Bay with its turquoise blue waters and sparkling white sandy beaches. From here you can cycle a remote road through Cashel down into Carna. Carna is right in the heart of the Gaeltacht (Irish Speaking) region of Connemara. It is believed that some Spanish Armada sailors whose ship ran aground settled in Carna.
Rest easy! From Carna, you’ll be driven with a guide to Rossaveal harbour to catch a ferry to Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands. The islands are an extension of the limestone landscape found in The Burren. Its quiet roads are ideal for cycling as you meander around the maze of oddly shaped stone walls.
One of the most impressive aspects of Inis Mór is Dún Aengus. It is a spectacular pre-historic stone fort that hangs on the edge of a 300 foot cliff, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
After touring Inis Mór, you’ll enjoy a refreshing ferry journey back to Rosaveal. From there, you’ll be transported to Kinvara.
Cycle through the Burren starting from the delightful village of Kinvara. Cycle along the Moy Road where you will pass by acres of unusual limestone pavements. If you visit the Burren Perfumery & Floral Centre, you will find striking array of wild flowers and unique fragrances. As you continue along your journey, you will pass through Carran, Leamaneh and Kilfenora before finishing in Lisdoonvarna
Lisdoonvarna is a Spa Town. The town hosts an internationally recognized Match-making Festival. The festival is held annually in September and attracts upwards of 40’000 individual hopefuls. This is quite impressive considering that the town has a population well below 1000!
Lisdoonvarna is strategically located to experience a lot of what The Burren has to offer. You can visit the majestic Cliffs of Moher, rising from 120 metres to 214 metres. The Cliffs take their name from Moher, a stone fort that lays in ruins at Hag’s Head, the most southerly point of the cliffs.
Leaving the Cliffs of Moher, you will cycle Southwards through the village of Liscannor that sits on the edge of Liscannor Bay. Legend says that the ancient city of Kilstipheen sank into the depths of Liscannor Bay. It had something to do with the then Chieftain losing a golden key in Battle. May you be the lucky one to cycle by when a fisherman may find that key and restore the city from the depths of the Bay!
After cycling through Liscannor, you will arrive in Lahinch. Lahinch is a small town on Liscannor Bay. It is home to a 36-hole Golf Club. Most notably, Lahinch has become one of the foremost surfing locations in Ireland. One can also partake in other watersports such as kite-surfing and wind-surfing.
One will then return to Lisdoonvarna via Kilfenora. Kilfenora is famous for its three 12th Century High Crosses. The High Crosses are protected in the ruins of Kilfenora Cathedral which lays in a partially ruined state.
Cycling Northwards, you’ll take the scenic coast road to Ballyvaughan. Mountains will be to your right and the Atlantic Ocean and Galway Bay will be to your left. You’ll cycle passed Black’s Head and down through the wonderfully sandy beach of Fanore. On a clear day, the journey offers awesome views across the Bay to the Connemara mountains.
The quaint town of Ballyvaughan is situated on the northern edge of the Burren. It is close to the Burren National Park, Slieve Carran Hill, Cahercommaun, Gleninsheen and Poulnabrone Dolmen. For the adventurous, there is also Ailwee Cave waiting to be explored.