Photo by Jason DeVarennes

Friday, October 31, 2014

Ireland - Clifden to Westport

We had planned to ride the Sky Road out of Clifden, but the access road right out of town was filled with construction vehicles and closed off.  The Sky Road is an 11 km loop around the peninsula just west of town, climbing up to the ridge-line for a while to provide stunning views of the 12 Bens. It was pretty clear to us that there would be no views at all today, so we didn't bother trying to sneak around the construction zone. Next visit.

We did pedal around a few other peninsulas, following bike route signs. I can only imagine that on a good day, the views are pretty dramatic.

The tourist bureaus have been busy out here since our last trip. Between the nicely signposted Wild Atlantic Way and all the regional bike routes, there is now an amazing network of well marked scenic roads for exploring all along the west coast. You wouldn't even need a map or GPS! I'm definitely planning a return trip to take in more sights along the Wild Atlantic Way - at a time of year when the weather might be more conducive to the breath-taking views and lush green landscapes.

Our first stop for this day was at Kylemore Abbey. When we arrived, it was a bit early for lunch and we were still quite stuffed from our full Irish breakfast at the hotel.  We did try to warm up a bit with hot coffee and muffins while taking in the nice view of the castle from our dry vantage point inside the cafĂ©. With a long ride ahead to get to Westport, we passed on touring the walled Victorian gardens in the pouring rain. This one will certainly be added onto my next-time list.

We headed east along the Killary Fjord, enjoying a well-earned respite from the wind for a while, before circling back west at the far end to once again battle with the wind.

When we reached the turnoff for the Sheefry Pass, we decided to diverge from our planned route out to the wild and windy coast, and followed the bike signs that took us along a tiny single lane road up and over the pass. The dramatic descent was along a benched road cut into the side of the mountain  The sun even poked out as we got closer to Westport and made for a few nice photos looking out toward Croagh Patrick.

A rare shot of the photographer!

Continuing along the signposted bike route we made our way into Westport where we found a hotel and met up with David.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful area. Kathy and I happened through some of it; passing by Kylemore Abbey on our way to hike in Connemara. We climbed over the highest point in the park, getting thoroughly soaked in the process.