First stop as I headed off from the Falls Hotel today was the post office. It wasn’t that I needed to post a letter, I just wanted to stop and admire the handy-work of the local community. By making a feature of a derelict building that could have been an eyesore the people of Ennistymon have added to the visual landscape of their town.
The road chosen for this 110k spin begins to rise immediately as you leave town. The reward is a well surfaced extremely quiet back road where the one car that I met in ten kilometres actually stopped as I cycled past.
The climb is not overly steep and rises in ramps then slackens off before rising again. Before you know it you have reached the summit where a right turn drops you back down towards Miltown Malbay. From this elevation you get to take in the full panoramic view of over twenty kilometres of Irelands’ Wild Atlantic Coastline. The straight road down gives ample opportunity to take it all in.
Turn left as you reach the town and then continuing on without veering right towards the coastline still offers fabulous views out to sea in the distance. This inland road brings you trough a bog road in the direction of Kilrush when a right turn will lead to Kilkee.
Kilkee is known for many reasons. Hollywood film stars and Munster Rugby players have been known to spend their summers there. It is also synonymous with ‘The Hell of The West’, one of Irelands oldest and toughest triathlons. My main consideration today was none of the above as I rolled into town. What was on my mind was where I would stop for a coffee.
The Diamond Rocks Cafe our near the Pollock Holes, with outdoor seating where you can watch your bike along with looking out at the fabulous sea view was first on my list. Second was The Pantry back on the main street. Both, unfortunately were closed at this time of year but the Mace shop on the corner had a decent coffee machine, homemade flapjacks and a nice ham sandwich. I sat just around the corner on a bench overlooking the beach. A perfect setting for a casual lunch.
Back in the saddle I made my way out the road towards Doonbeg. Another picturesque village which is now synonymous with one of the largest property developers in the World, Donald Trump.
The Trump International Golf Links and Hotel has a long driveway in off the road, although some guests prefer to travel by helicopter. The attention to detail is everywhere, right down to painting the rocks on the road side to blend in with the grass.
The prevailing south westerly wind was now behind me as I glided along towards Quilty. Occasionally I felt compelled to stop at some of the deserted coves and beaches along the way. I often wonder if those who live nearby these beautiful places cease to appreciate the beauty of their surroundings after a while. Life goes on as normal for those who work in shops, factories farms and offices, and the location can become just the place where you live. An Irish person visiting New York is amazed by the skyscrapers whilst an American visiting the West of Ireland is captivated by it’s beauty.
Passing through Spanish Point I was on the lookout for a few shipwrecks from the Spanish Armada, from whence it gets its name, but they have long since been destroyed by the buffeting of the Wild Atlantic. The former President of Ireland Patrick Hillery came from the Village and must have had some influence over the roads, which were again as smooth as a billiard table.
Looking skyward I now noticed the sky being divided in two. Earlier whilst eating lunch in Kilkee I had a quick look at @IrishWeather on twitter and noticed a band of thunderous weather travelling up from the south. I guess-timated the wind to be travelling at 50 mph which should have allowed me enough time to make it back to The Falls hotel before the rain arrived. Looking at the darkness of the sky just behind me now I wondered if I was going to make it.
A race began. The strong tailwind assisted my speed, but it was also pushing on the dark clouds behind. On a straight run I figured that I would just about make it, but as the road wound it’s way along, with oncoming cars now switching on their headlights I knew that I had a battle on my hands.
Sprinting up the hills and throwing the bike into the corners I began to feel a sense of confidence that man and machine could outrun nature, but nature always wins and with Lahinch now in sight the rain began to fall.
Surfers out on the ocean didn’t seem too bothered and really I was OK with it too, but it was good to have a challenge along the way.
Once again I took to the bike path on my way back to Ennistymon from Kilkee and was happy to see the Falls Hotel again after a very enjoyable days cycling. I was also happy to see the sauna and jacuzzi in the leisure centre that helped to freshen up weary legs once more.
This route would rate 4/7 for difficulty.
Here is the Garmin file of todays Falls Hotel 110k
Here is todays Strava file of The Falls Hotel 110k
And here is a smartphone downloadable file on mapmyride
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