Part 3: The Wild Atlantic
The third week of the holiday consisted of gradually cycling up the coast and taking in the sea.
The Cliffs of Loop Head Peninsula, we found that many tourist offices big up their local area and aren’t much use in narrowing down what the ‘must see’ spots are. Loop Head was one of the areas we were persuaded to cycle and turned out to be worthwhile.
CLIFFS OF MOHER
The Cliffs of Moher were honestly a disappointment. We cycled up a large hill only to find the whole place was a tourist trap and flooded with people and buses. Dingle Peninsula mentioned in the earlier post and The Burren that we cycled through the following day completely eclipsed Moher in terms of atmosphere. However, my observations may just be because I dislike large crowds of noisy people and it was a murky day when we visited.
The Burren is a national park stretching for miles along the coast before Galway. It was one of the most interesting spots along the Atlantic Way. The entire area was huge, cracked slabs of large limestone cliffs from the glacial era.
The flat slabs made the perfect spot for a nap when the sun appeared for a rare moment.
We whizzed by Dunguaire Castle, the name of which comes from the Dun (medieval Fort) of King Guaire, the legendary King of Connacht.
WESTERN GREENWAY AND ACHILL ISLAND
We spent a day going along the Western Greenway, a 26 mile long cycle track stretching from Westport to Achill Island. The previous night we managed to wild camp beside it next to a river that reminded me of Dartmoor back home.
Then the following morning we carried on to Achill Island.
Throughout the holiday we repeatedly heard about how nice Achill Island was. We got there and it was blowing a gale in the opposite direction to us. We ended up doing a loop along the Southern coast of the island which has earned the reputation of being beautiful.
The following evening we camped back on the mainland up the coast, it turned out to be midge central but out of the way enough to light a fire and so was really good.
GLENVEAGH NATIONAL PARK
We climbed up and up to Glenveagh National Park, just behind us the whole way where a trio of French cyclists. The pattern involved them overtaking, then half an hour later we overtook and left them behind.
And then we reached the end of the Wild Atlantic Way, with 4 days left to cycle to Belfast we decided to pop in on the Giant’s Causeway…