Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cycling the Burren

The Burren is a major karst landscape formation in County Clare, Ireland. One of my cycling books proposed a loop ride from Doolin, where we were staying.

Limestone surface

So, after a substantial full Irish breakfast, off I went. First there was the climb out of Doolin, a slight miss of Lisdoonvarna, and into Kilfenora and the Burren centre.

On my way

Then I made a wrong turn, and about four miles later found myself at the wrong intersection entirely. So, back to Kilfenora and the getting of the correct directions!

The guidebook said I'd find Leahmaneh Castle, which I did. Basically a big house (Ruins, naturally) with cows grazing around it. Not worth stopping. On to Caran, and the heart of the Burren. Limestone hills everywhere; rolling countryside. Sunny day, too.

Cows in Caran


evidence of participation

Continued north from Caran to the intersection with N67 (a national road) and Galway Bay.

Galway Bay

From there I elected to head west, into Ballyvaughn for lunch (I'd been subsisting on chocolate bars and Nuun). Riding N67 wasn't that bad; Irish drivers are courteous. But the big buses and trucks on those skinny roads can be a bit intimidating. So, Ballyvaughn and the soda shop. I had a crepe and a salad and pink lemonade. And applied sunscreen (!) A nice pause.

Lunch pause in Ballyvaughn

From Ballyvaughn I took the coast road.  The Burren extends right out to the Atlantic Ocean.  The scenery was amazing.  There was a headwind, so I didn't make particularly good time (the same can be said about all my riding in Ireland).  More time to enjoy the view!

Galway Bay

The Burren reaches all the way to the Atlantic

Sweetpea and the Irish Atlantic coast

Then finally I had to turn inland and up.

Time to climb up

The sign said Doolin to the right, and I kept thinking I'd be there.  2km more.  Then 2km more....  Then 2km more....  If it had been flat or back downhill, it wouldn't have been quite so annoying.  But I did get there, and treated myself to an ice cream cone before walking back up to the B&B.

Ice cream at the finish

All the pics here.
A nice 63 mile loop.


Chris said...

I did some travelling in Ireland over the summer - I took my folding bike with me. Did you rent or take your own?

lynnef said...

I took my bike. It has S&S couplers and packs right up !