THE WILD BURREN WAY
Go All the Way
This spin gives you everything the Burren has to offer – from Lough Bunny and the Burren Lowlands to Fanore and the Clare coastline. Experience this haunting part of the world at its most wild and wonderful and recall the legendary words of Oliver Cromwell about the Burren (An Boirinn – The Great Rock): “There isn’t a tree to hang a man, water to drown a man, nor soil to bury a man.”
You’ll enjoy relatively good road surface with just a few bumpy spots, together with unmatched views of the Burren National Park. Tourist traffic is a hazard so please be extra cautious and do not take risks.
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 – 110km
Ballyvaughan to the Wild Atlantic Way
From Ballyvaughan you’ll head for the second significant and most famous climb of the day – The Corkscrew Hill. The approach is the most challenging part – so don’t go too hard too early, try and save it. Pop out of the saddle on steep turns, take your time and take in plenty of air.
From the top it’s a rollercoaster ride to Lisdoonvarna and a good time for some on-the-road refuel. Go easy through the spa town and exit safely onto the road for Doolin. Be ready to drop down into Doolin – with the magnificent Cliffs of Moher on your left and the Aran Islands in the distance. It’s a busy route with lots of visitors so watch out for traffic.
Leaving Doolin village you’ll pass the home of Europe’s largest stalactite – Doolin Cave – and head downhill with a couple of tight turns that need your caution.
Travelling along the spectacular coastline to Fanore and Black Head you’ll have the Wild Atlantic on your left, the rugged Burren limestone to your right and Connemara and the Twelve Bens ahead. With a South Westerly wind, you’ll fly along but take it easy – there are a few kilometres to go.
110km – 135km
Ballyvaughan to Glann Hill
You’ll fuel up for the second time in pretty Ballyvaughan and approach your third 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.
135km – 160km Home
Glann Hill 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 Crusheen. It’s a flat route all the way!