THE AILLWEE ROUTE
Cycle Back in Time
This is a spectacular route across the unique Burren landscape and you may feel you’ve stepped back in time or are on a different planet. There are two significant climbs – but fuel right, approach with respect and you’ll be grand! The road surface is good, with just a couple of bumpy stretches that are well worth it for the incredible Burren views.
0 – 60km
Barefield to Ballyvaughan
You’ll leave Barefield on the Old Galway Road towards Crusheen on the R458. Turning left for Dromore Woods and Ruan you’ll swing right at Ruan and head for the Mullaghmore Mountain – the heart of the Burren. These are country roads with little traffic but they’re rolling and narrow so be ready to single out, expect the unexpected and look out for farm machinery.
You’ll pass underneath Mullaghmore Mountain – ‘The Giants Playground’ – and get first sight of the mighty limestone Burren with its grikes and clints. Take a right for Father Ted’s house – but please respect the residents and do not approach the house.
Pedal on to the Valley of St Column Cille and Eagles Rock, Sliabh Carran (OR you could head for home reducing your spin by 20km). Be ready for your first big climb of the day: it’s narrow and bumpy in stretches but so worth it as you find yourself in a mystical otherworld landscape reminiscent of a scene from Lord of The Rings.
Descending gradually with caution you’ll head for Carran village – ready for a couple of slow corners. Look out for the Burren Perfumery – a fascinating oasis of scent inspired by the unique flora found across the Burren.
Leaving Carran Village you’ll swing right and descend about 9km to Bell Harbour – meeting the main road with caution. You’ll pass the home of GAA founder, Michael Cusack as well as the pitch in his name and the Visitor Centre.
At Bell Harbour you’ll turn left onto the N67 for 7km to Ballyvaughan and the Food and Water stop. Refuel well and enjoy the famous cheesecake!
60km – 82km
Ballyvaughan to Glann Hill
You’ll approach your second significant climb of the day – the Ballyallaban Climb 4.66km 127m avg 2%. It’s not the steepest, and the toughest bit is the first 1.5km. Find an easy gear, spin it up and don’t go too hard too early. As you go, you’ll pass the famous Aillwee Caves – so look out for tourist traffic.
Push up the climb and you’ll see the famous Poulnabrone Dolmen on your left and the countryside is dotted with old ruins, Holy places and ancient Ringforts. Heading for Carran again the climb levels out to rolling terrain.
82km – 110km home
Glanhill to Barefield
Leaving Carran you’ll head for the top of Glann Hill – ‘The Mini Corkscrew’- and enjoy the finest view of the Burren’s fascinating ice age glacier shaped mountains and the Burren Lowlands. Just stunning!
Going down Glann Hill you’ll negotiate a few hairpins so reduce your speed – then carry on to Boston, Tubber and home via by Crusheen. It’s a flat route all the way!