WESTPORT/ DRUMMIN/ SHEEFFRY HILLS/DOOLOUGH/LOUISBURGH/WESTPORT CYCLE ROUTE
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LOCATION: This cycle heads south towards Connemara through quiet countryside. The highlight of the trip is the short steep climb and fast descent through the Sheeffry Pass via the remote Tawnyard Lough and the gentle climb up the famous Doolough Valley. The cycle finishes with a fairly easy ride from Louisburgh back to Westport.
LANDSCAPE: Remote and mountainous, the Sheeffry Hills are an underrated beauty spot. Doolough Valley is one of the outstanding scenic roads in Ireland.
START/FINISH Remote and mountainous, the Sheeffry Hills are an underrated beauty spot. Doolough Valley is one of the outstanding scenic roads in Ireland.
DISTANCE: Approximately 69 Km. Climbing 585m.
APPROXIMATE TIMES: 5 to 6 hours
TERRAIN: The terrain includes a mixture of quiet country backroads, off road greenway and some hills.
Suitable for Intermediate level, not for beginners.
From the Towers car park head westwards for about 200m and then left on to the Greenway. Continue on the Greenway as far as the first bridge. After the bridge take the first turn right through a small car park adjacent to the playground and then turn left on to the R335. Continue for about 100m to the T-junction. Then turn right on to the Leenane road (N59). Continue cycling for 8km in a southerly direction via the townlands of Carrowbaun, Knappagh and Liscarney. Turn right onto the L1823 (Point 1 on map), signposted Drummin & Sheeffry Pass. Continue the gentle climb on this road through quiet countryside for 10Km towards the village of Drummin. Following the signs to Sheeffry, the terrain now becomes very mountainous and the road climbs steeply along the mountain side for 2km to the top of the Sheeffry Pass. If the weather is clear, pause to take in the view of the valley back towards Liscarney and Croagh Patrick. The road immediately descends towards a viewing area on the left where spectacular views over the wooded valley and Tawnyard Lough await.
The road now descends steeply through remote countryside for 8Km towards Doolough. Turn right on to the R335, signposted Louisburgh (Point 2 on map). For the next 3 Km, enjoy the beautiful view of the lakes in the Doolough valley. The road now ascends gently leaving the lake behind. A visit to the Famine memorial in the layby to the right is worthwhile.
Continue for 14Km climbing gently to the town of Louisburgh. At the outskirts of the town turn right at the T- junction (Point 3 on map). Continue on through Louisburgh and back to Westport along the coast, passing under Croagh Patrick on the right. It is somewhat hilly in parts but with a good surface. At Murrisk join the Greenway for the remaining 8Km to the final destination at Westport Quay. Make sure you turn left at Point 4 on the map.
Glen Keen Farm & Visitor Centre on the R335 between Doolough and Louisburgh. Restaurants in Louisburgh. Please note that the Glen Keen Farm is only open in high season. If it is not open, it is advisable to bring refreshments as there are no other food outlets between Westport and Louisburgh.