WESTPORT QUAY, LANKHILL AND BACK TO WESTPORT
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LOCATION: This cycle route passes through areas south east of Westport town (the best place to live in Ireland). This is an area of natural rural tranquillity with rolling hills, lakes, forests and farm animals especially sheep.
LANDSCAPE: This rural countryside has varied landscapes including sheep rearing farmland, boglands, forest clusters, lakes and rivers. On route you will experience background views of the holy mountain Croagh Patrick, the Sheefrey Mountains, the Partry Mountains and to the north the Nephin Mountains.
START/FINISH At the car park adjacent to the Tower’s Bar, the Quay, Westport.
APPROXIMATE TIMES: 3 to 4 hours
TERRAIN: The terrain is a mixture of hilly and flat roads.
From the car park head westwards for about 200m and then left onto 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. Turn left onto the R335. Continue for about 100m to the t-junction. Then turn right onto the Leenane road (N59). Continue until you come to a filling station (Point 1 on the map). Turn left at the filling station and continue for 200m. At the t-junction turn right onto the Lankhill road (Point 2 on map). Continue on this road as far as Lankhill School. Continue onto the next cross on the left. Take this road (Point 3 on the map). You are now on Tochar Phadraig (Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail or pilgrim’s path). That path passes through fields and is in existence for centuries. Continue east to historic Aughagower (“planes of the wells”) (Point 4 on map). It was a centre of population going back to the Bronze Age. The word is that St Patrick baptised the first converts and erected a church in Aughagower. Aughagower is said to have been visited by St. Patrick on his way to Croagh Patrick.
Aughagower lies on the pilgrimage way of the Tochar Phadraig – a pilgrimage way from Ballintubber Abbey to Croagh Patrick. The ruin of a medieval church is beside the graveyard. It has a well-preserved 10th century tower. The tower was built between 973 and 1013. The tower was restored in 1969 and leans slightly to the north. Aughagower has ancient artefacts such as Dabhnach Padraig – a circular bath where pilgrims may have washed their feet. There is a well which has now dried up but it was where pilgrims were said to have drunk water while performing the pilgrimage.
To return to Westport take the road to Point 5 on the map. From there continue to (Point 6 on the map). This bring you past Lankhill School and continue on for about 6 km until you reach the t-junction at Point 6. Turn left and continue for 150m onto the Leenane Road (N59). Continue on this road until you reach the R335. Turn left and go onto the Greenway at the playground. Continue on down the Greenway and make your way to the Tower’s Bar at the Quay.