Western Ireland / Wild Atlantic Way

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  • Spots worth hitting in Sligo/Mayo:
    Strandhill is nice, lovely cafe/restaurant there for fish and chips called Shells
    If you’re spending some time in Sligo town, Lyons and kates kitchen are also good for food
    Heading south, aughris pier is lovely for a dip, quite sheltered so usually calm and clear water, and beside the beach bar for some food and a decent pint of Guinness
    Further south you’ll hit Easkey, but there’s a right turn before you come into the town for a loop around past O’Dowds castle, and if the swell is good it’s usually full of surfers and campers - also a decent camp spot if winds allow. There’s a tidal pool here call Poll Gorm that is lovely for a dip if it’s not busy or high tide
    Easkey has a lovely bougie grocery store with fresh food, but doesn’t open Monday or Tuesday if that influences planning
    Next down from there you’re into Enniscrone, which is where I’m based. Nice Victorian style seaweed bath there worth a visit, and a few decent pubs. B. E. Hopkins worth a visit for a cracking Guinness if it’s not busy
    South of there you’re into Ballina which is well known for salmon fishing and a favourite place of the late Jack Charlton
    From there you’ll head along the coast to downpatrick head (totally worth a slight deviation), and the ceide fields. Mary’s cottage in ballycastle is a decent shout for a breakfast or cake along the way
    There’s really not much aside from strong winds til you hit belmullet, and out onto the mullet to black sod bay
    From there it’s fairly quiet again til you hit achill island
    And from there you can take the great western greenway into Westport which is a lovely town
    From Westport you’ll head through the stunning Connemara to clifden, another nice little town, with boat trips out to some of the smaller islands if you fancy it. If you’re camping, eco beach in clifden is a nice place to stay, otherwise I’d recommend rosleague manor in letterfrack if you can get a booking. It’s worth climbing diamond hill while you’re in the area
    From clifden you’ll head to Galway which is worth spending a night in

    Beyond there I’m a lot more vague on the hot spots

  • Wow, thanks a lot! I'll have a trawl through all your recommendations and see what we can include. Food spots are definitely appreciated as there's nothing more frustrating than searching for 30 mins for somewhere to eat when hungry and with tired legs.

  • It’s a while since I rode in Donegal, but if you get good weather it’s a stunning place to ride bikes. Just bring some climbing gears!

  • Oh and the grocery store in Easkey is called pudding row, 100% worth a visit for their donuts alone

  • The Ice House in Ballina is fairly bouji but the food is nice, I imagine the rooms are nice to stay in as well

    As Colm says downpatrick head is worth it, and I'd say a must if you're nearby- and if you stay in Ballycastle which is v close by, there is a really very good museum of art there that opened last year.

    If you then do as Colm says and head to Achill, Keem bay was voted like the prettiest beach in ireland but it is a schlep out to it. Hy breasal is cheap but comfortable lodgings in Achill sound, or there's a large and decent campsite at Keel by the beach.

    Mayo4Sam

  • Mayo4Sam

    Ha ha, I’m from neither Mayo nor Dublin, and not a big follower of GAA, but I think the entire country was rooting for Mayo on Saturday!

  • Just remembered there’s a really popular food truck in Connemara that’s attracting all of Instagram called misunderstood heron, not been but I believe it’s very good. Might be one to add to the list if you’re stuck for a bite to eat in Connemara.

  • i am hoping to be in Galway late September, my first trip no bikes and only for four nights taking the GF for oysters and champagne festival. fingers crossed that we are good with covid travel.

    Any tips much appreciated, we have NHS letters confirming both double jabbed, which i will need for the plane, car hire and hotel stay.

    passenger locator forms required, right?
    https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/ab900-­covid-19-passenger-locator-form/?referre­r=http://www.gov.ie/locatorform/

    also the Covid App for Ireland currently
    https://www.gov.ie/en/service/da832-down­load-the-covid-tracker-app/#

  • Just back from an excellent 10 days down the west coast. We ended up getting the train from Dublin to Westport and riding down to Killarney for the train back. 600km in total, taking it quite easy.
    Absolute highlights were Doolough Valley, the endless peat fields of Connemara, and Macgillycuddy's Reeks.
    Connor's pass into Dingle was also an excellent road, but unfortunately we were in the rain and clouds for all of it.
    We've definitely now got the motivation to find time to come back and ride the top half from Derry back down to Westport.
    Met loads of lovely chatty locals, and most importantly, not too many Americans yet. Inishmor and Moher were a little busy as expected, but it was still manageable. Also getting up and on the bikes before 9 meant we always had a good few hours riding before the rest of the country woke up. It was definitely strange to be somewhere where cafes serve 'breakfast' from 10am!
    My wife posted a few pictures on the 'gram if yer interested: https://www.instagram.com/p/CTwcJ14op2n

    Thanks everyone in here for the tips!

  • Playing with the idea of West or South Coast of Ireland as potential source for touring/bikepacking trip. Avoiding flying currently so plan would involve ferry and then rail to starting point.

    Things I'm interested in hearing thoughts and feelings on

    *Ferry services: Hollyhead - Dublin; Liverpool - Dublin; Rosslare - Fishguard
    *If using Dublin, where is a recommended starting point if connecting by rail
    Rail map; guide to carrying bikes on Irish rail service
    *Interested in a greatest hits route for about 5-6 days riding

    Any suggestions more than gratefully received

  • My trip above could easily be shortened to 6 days if you were riding 100km a day.
    Connemara and Kerry were the most enjoyable which is nice as they bookend the route.

  • I've thought about doing something similar but never been back!

    I'd recommend heading to Cork, doing some of the coastal roads to Baltimore. There are lots of islands, I took a ferry to Cape Clear, which was great but then got the ferry to Schull. This part of Cork is great.

    Healy Pass in Cork would be a must do (again) for me. Then the Beara / ring of Kerry peninsula. The inland roads (Balaghbeema pass I think?) Are great, and there are some options. I'd make time to visit the Skellig island even if it is a tourist attraction, it's quite something imho.

    Then you could do Dingle although I found the traffic there some of the worst in Ireland. But I've heard it's scenic. Then back from Killarney or Tralee?

  • Some stuff I've stumbled across for those giving it some thought

    Great photos although their helmet hats are an acquired taste
    https://www.rollingexistence.com/routes/­cycling-the-wild-atlantic-way/
    Monthly rainfall
    https://www.met.ie/climate/available-dat­a/monthly-data
    Prevailing winds
    https://www.met.ie/climate/what-we-measu­re/wind
    Irish rail routes
    https://www.acprail.com/maps/ireland-tra­in-map/

  • I live in the northwest of Ireland if anyone needs any pointers about that part of the route (from Sligo to Galway).

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Western Ireland / Wild Atlantic Way

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