Westport to Achill – an appraisal of the Great Western Greenway

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My noble Ridley Orion with Vaude Handlebar bag and Ortlieb Large saddlebag, or torpedo as Mick calls it.


Traffic jam.


Foxglove from which Digitalis is extracted.


What are these curves for?


Glasbhealach = Green Route in the Irish language.

This is the official start but I don't recommend it. It involves obstreperous cycling and is a bit out of the way.
If you're coming from the West turn right when you see a sign for some suburb (can't remember but begins with A.) This will bring you out on Newport road.

General Remarks.
This is one of the finest cycle-routes I've been on, and I've been on lots in the UK, Germany and in other countries. What it has is one big plus. Mighty scenery.It is also reasonably surfaced, a mixture of tarmac, hard packed gravel and a few excessively gravelly bits, but it is new. The gates can mostly be cycled trough as they use gaps with cattle grids. This is good. You have to open a handful of gates, as elsewhere. It's not very hilly though coming from the West there is a steep 100yd pull up from the back of the Mulrany hotel. I rode up it to see if I could and I could, just. You could walk that. Coming from the East there is one sharp uphill pull between this and Newport.
I have two small criticisms.
1. The bits you have to do on road. Maybe they can get around them eventually.
2. Here and there the surface could be improved and some of the gravel swept and there's a 100 yard section near Achill Sound which is a bit narrow.

Well done Co.Mayo! A great job was done. We have far too few proper bike paths in this country and this one is a hard act to follow.

Refreshments.
Shops , etc., in Newport, half-way to Mulrany, Mulrany itself and at the end of the bit near Achill where it goes onto the road for a bit, an Art Gallery with a cafe which has great scones and cakes , etc. I know because I tried them!
There are bike shops in Westport. Bikes can be hired there and in Newport and I think in Mulrany. Don't know about Achill.

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7 comments on “Westport to Achill – an appraisal of the Great Western Greenway”

  1. Kern wrote:

    The scenery of Ireland is always special. It makes cycling worthwhile whatever the condition of the road. We travelled through Westport but headed inland towards Sligo rather than taking the coast. I'd pencil in this route for our next trip.

  2. Garry Lee wrote:

    It's well worth doing and in nice weather Achill Island is gorgeous. In bad weather, horrendous!

  3. Hilary wrote:

    Ireland certainly looks beautiful. Its nice to hear about a cycle track that actually has a decent rideable surface, so many seem to be built on the assumption that everyone rides mountain bikes.

  4. Garry Lee wrote:

    It's not all perfect but I rode it on 23c racing tyres and I'm 15st plus and I had no pinch puncture or anything.

  5. Chris wrote:

    I'm all for cycle routes like this one. I think for beginning cyclists it gives them a nudge, a bit of inspiration perhaps to do something they might otherwise not have thought to plan for themselves. In case you hadn't guessed I'm a big fan of the Big Skies Bike Rides near where I live. In fact, I rode one yesterday when I struggled for motivation to get out. I drove there, so not very green of me, but it gave me a push and I really enjoyed the Sledmere Country from Sledmere ride. Without wanting to sound sniffy, I don't think we're the intended audience for these sorts of short rides, but we can enjoy them all the same :smile:

  6. We have a new bicycle hire business in Achill, which is also the location of a National Cycle Hub with three looped trails, as well as several old bog roads and tracks winding around the island. We can also offer bike and passenger transport if necessary. Happy Cycling on Achill Island!

  7. Irish artist wrote:

    Lovely track, I went there few days ago, highly recommended :)

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