Beginning and ending with Killary Harbour (Ireland’s very own fjord) and with cameos from Doo Lough and Loch na Fooey, this cycle is a one-day wonder
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The Field ➤ Leenane
Route Rating ➤ Moderate
Distance ➤ 112 km
Climbing ➤ 970 meters
John B’s The Field might have been set in Kerry but it got the Hollywood treatment in Leenane.
And while it’s not quite clear how the film execs stumbled upon this remote but lovely village in north Connemara, that’s neither here nor there – what matters is that they found Leenane and that you do too. It’s very, very special.
This cycle starts off in Leenane which sits snugly on the shores of the Killary Harbour, Ireland’s one and only fjord. The spin around the harbour is one of the very best in the country, great road surface and nothing around you but the gorse and heather of the mountains and the deep waters of the fjord. The Aasleagh Falls are perched right on the border between Mayo and Galway and it’s worth stopping by for a few photos, mist allowing.
Striking northwards, the road winds past Delphi and up through the Doo Lough Valley. There’s a stiff little climb at the end but make sure you stop at the top to have a look at the valley behind you, there’s something special about the way the sun dapples the hills in Doo Lough. You won’t know until you’ve felt it.
Leaving Doo Lough behind, the road continues on to Louisburgh, another beautiful little village with nice cafés if you fancy a break. Otherwise, it’s onwards to Westport around the skirts of Croagh Patrick and past Old Head Beach and Murrisk. There’s a cycle lane on part of the road but be careful as it’s shared with walkers.
Westport needs no introduction. A bustling tourist town, it boasts a plethora of brilliant cafés and pubs but This Must Be The Place is particularly good whether you’re ready for lunch or just coffee and cake.
After Westport, you’ll face into the second, more challenging section of the spin. Heading inland towards Lough Mask, the landscape changes and becomes tamer as the road is bordered by lush hedgerows and green verges. Paddy’s Bar on Lough Mask is a great lunch stop and a good place to catch your breath and regroup before the three rolling climbs that bring you past Loch na Fooey and home to Leenane.
Opinion is divided on whether Loch na Fooey is more beautiful than Doo Lough – we’ll leave it up to you to decide.