Cycling in Connemara

Cycling in Connemara

Cycling in Connemara, past cloud covered mountains and lush valleysIf, having heard about the marvels of cycling in Connemara, you wish to see them for yourself without being told what lies around the next bend, this is for you, the simple details of how to get there and how long it will take.

Please note, the route is unlikely to suit you if you do not have your own bike with you and are staying in Oughterard. Galway city is the nearest place to hire a bicycle from and that would add another 64 km to the days cycle.

The tour starts on the N59 going west, bringing you  from Oughterard to Maam Cross, taking 55 mins to complete the first 18 km.

Take a right turn at Peacockes Hotel travelling the R 336 for 23 mins ( 7.5 km)

Meeting a T junction , turn left until signs for Finney and Lough NaFooey send you right on to the L1301. When Larches pub is reached another 62 mins (18.5 km) have been covered since leaving Peacockes.

Look out for a fork in the road and take the road on the right (R300) to reach Clonbur and on to Cong (53 mins 18.2 km).

Coming out of Cong on the R345 take a left signposted Galway/Maam which eventually picks up the R345 to skirt Lough Corrib back to Maam  (1 hr 5 mins for 20 km).

From here you have another 25.3km (1hr17) to retrace your morning’s cycle back to Oughterard.

Total distance covered will be 107km (5.5 hours without stops)

If the total mileage is too much for your leg muscles, simply break the distance to a two day cycle.

Turn left at Keanes pub to go for a much needed evening meal and Guinness. More Details:


cycling in connemara. view heading down to lough nafooey

Recommended Place To Stay

Carrown Tobar House

Other Activities in Co. Galway

Cycling in Connemara
Scuba Diving
Killary Fjord Boat Tours
Killary Sheep Farm

More about Cycling in Connemara

Cycling in Connemara (detailed description).

If this is the first of your 'cycling in Connemara' adventures, you can be forgiven for wondering where all the hyped up scenery during the first mile or so on the way to Maam Cross is. Captivating, calming and scenic it is to be sure and the smaller lakes give promise for further miles but maybe it's so long since you have seen Santa for the first time and forgotten the euphoria.

Cycling in Connemara, the Maum Valley opens up on the road between Maam Cross and Maum Upon reaching Peacocke's hotel and heading North however, the enchantment starts to penetrate your senses, slowly at first and then opens up to the lore of the landscape that tell stories that are solely relevant to each individual as, the landscape changes at the whim of chasing clouds, not unlike your appreciative abilities.

It starts as the road meanders its way through wild, rocky, hilly, lake strewn and bewitching colour and explodes when the Joyce Country mountains suddenly demand your undivided attention.

relax by the open fire in Keanes back barNestling below the mountain is Keane's pub at a T-Junction. Here you have to sample the best toasted sandwiches ever sold worldwide (yes, I and so many others are biased) and coffee with fresh cream that, combined with the cosiness of the back bar elevates Keane's  pub to the hostelry you will not want to leave, this side of the planet Neptune. Add to that a river and mooring bay for small boats, in a setting surrounded by magnificent mountains.

A small boat moored outside Keanes Bar in MaamIt should be made compulsory to stop and look around you, to take a 360 degree panorama and trillions of photo shots to immediately send to your friends and work colleagues who are, hopefully, stressed out at work.

Re-mount the bike and turn left and continue through leafy, windy roads, bearing in mind that the road is the main Linnane Fjord/Galway City road which can, by times, have quite heavy traffic. The scenery has now piqued your interest considerably and when the sign to take a right turn to Finny/Lough NaFooey has been reached turn, relax even more and just try to take it all in.

At this point, the Joyce Country Lakes have combined with the rest of natures creation, the result of which can only be appreciated by the heart.

Cycling in Connemara simply defines the word 'contentment'.

The road ahead is in a valley with the mountains on either side covered with white Cycling in Connemara brings you through stunning mountainous scenerydots that "Baa" at you when their day has been disturbed. They do not have 'stress' in their vocabulary and get quite indignant when walking in the centre of the road a car interrupts their ramble, in fact they, very often, stand defiantly looking at you, as you inch the car closer and closer to them.

It adds to the enjoyment of cycling, if you happen to be anywhere nearby, watching.

As the mountains get friendlier, by becoming somewhat closer on both sides, a distant flash of blue, depending on the weather, blends perfectly into a panoramic scene that human ability could not have imagined, in fact had Michelangelo  been here, I dare say the adornment of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel would be populated by sheep with wings playing harps.

Cycling in Connemara brings you down to Lough NafooeyI suggest stopping when the distant view is at it's finest. Alongside to your left what appears to be, and probably is, a natural hanging garden on a cliff side. I have never been to that side of the small gorge but it looks like trees are growing out of the cliff, surrounded by what nature deemed a suitable completion of the scene. It is hard to know where to look to try and appreciate everything at once.

Continue downwards to a sharp left bend and it brings you to a bridge over a winding stream, where to the left are the 'gardens,' and looking upwards is a waterfall, to further enhance perfection.

Back on the bike again and follow the road, looking out for gated track on the right that will bring you to a sandy beach fronting Lough na Fooey, sided by mountains and not a sea or ocean in sight. If you brought a picnic with you this is a wonderous location, to 'own' the area for a while because, depending on what time of the year it is, the chances are you will dine alone.

Tear yourself away from the lake and return to the road to head for Cong for the historic part of the day.

For now, upon reaching the eastern tip of Lough na Fooey the R300 becomes a fork, the turn to the south skirting the western end of Lough Mask Co. Mayo towards Srah, crossing a bridge to continue into Clonbur and on to Cong.

Although I consider this section of Cycling in Connemara to be the lake route it does involve quite a lot of mountainous cycling and though this part of the trail does go though wonderful countryside, I am always guilty of having some scene wedged in my mind's eye from what I have just left.

cycling in connemara brings you to the historical village of Cong in County MayoCong brings a person back to earth with a bang, a crash landing. It is a gorgeous small town or big village, which ever you prefer. Being part of Mayo, it sits on the northern tip of Lough Corrib, and for me it integrates the perfect balance between man and nature.

History, historical ruins, natures beauty, wooded walks, fascinating lakes to it's north and south (full of fish), islands and boat trips, proximity to Ashford castle and, how could I forget Hollywood (marking the filming of the iconic Quiet Man movie in this area) are all neatly wrapped up in a perfectly presented package.

All this makes it an ideal pit stop on your tour, not only for tea, coffee or Guinness but perhaps for one of the wooded walks if you're back is a little stiff from cycling.

Refreshed from the pit stop our cycling in Connemara continues, taking a left fork when leaving Cong (signposted Maam/Galway) which will eventually bring you back to the R345, past the dotted islands of Lough Corrib through Corr na Mona, (Cornamona) a popular place for salmon and trout angling, and back to Maam.

Now for the return trip to Oughterard and a hearty evening meal.