ACCOMMODATION: Station House Hotel or Alcock and Brown Hotel Clifden

As todays ride will be a loop route you get to avoid packing up your gear and shifting luggage this morning. Your biking exploration of Connemara begins today. The fact you got a break from the bike while visiting the Aran Islands yesterday will mean you are refreshed and rested. Your going to be riding through one of the most scenic areas along the West Coast of Ireland. Much of the days ride is set along the rolling coastline. The photo to your right is a glimpse into the beauty of Connemara. Ok, its also a glimpse into the back of the luggage trailer, sorry about that.

You'll get to ride through Bogland that began to develop shortly after the end of the last ice age. Evidence of glacial erosion is widespread and distinct, thanks to the detail trapped in the quartzite landscape. This is where people cut peat from the earth, dry it out and take it home to provide fuel for fires and stoves for the winter. Indeed turf cutting is a contentious issue here in the west of Ireland at the moment. The EU want to preserve the remaining uncut "high banks" while the bog owners protest their right to continue a tradition that has been practiced for countless generations. Good topic to discuss over a pint of Guinness.

Fabulous valleys flanked by striking mountains makes Connemara one of the most beautiful regions to cycle anywhere in the world. You will be very busy with the camera today. A system of land ownership called "commonage" allows several farmers to graze large tracts of land without the usual subdivision of land fencing you encountered riding through the small country lanes of East Clare on Day 1. This is big country. Mountains, lakes, the Atlantic, form the boundaries.


We always stop in the village of Clegganfor a spot of lunch in Oliver's seafood restaurant before heading out on what has to be my favorite 8 miles of the entire tour. Riding between lakes and overlooking the Atlantic coastline. We even get to go swimming here when the weather offers. I really need to upload some video of this section just to show you what a smashing place it is to cycle.

Due to the impermeable nature of the Quartzite rock the hillsides glisten with streams making their way to the lakes. After exiting the South end of the Inagh valley we then ride past Ballinahinch castle and make our way to Clifden. We will spend tonight in the family owned Stanton House Hotel in the center of the town. You can take advantage of the spa facilities such as jacuzzi, steam room or sauna. By prior arrangement you can also enjoy a massage. Clifden boasts lots of little stores that stock unique craft gift purchasing opportunities. You can also stop off in one of the local pubs for a pint and a chat with some of the locals. Great spot for some traditional music.










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