Heading for The Falls Hotel in Ennistymon this morning I took a slight detour via Lahinch to watch the surfers in action. The morning was wet and windy as The Wild Atlantic Way lived up to its’ name. As I watched the neoprene clad adventurers walk gingerly towards the sea a thought flashed across my mind – It’s a bit wet for walking around like that. This immediately triggered another thought – What must non cyclists think when they see us heading out in the rain without a care in the World. Today I would find out.
As I began my loop through the Burren National Park from the Falls Hotel today I contemplated how much cyclists and surfers have in common.
The whole idea of getting out in nature, leaving all your cares behind. Enjoying all that nature has to offer for free and really experiencing it through all of your senses and not just looking out from the other side of a glass windscreen.
Cycling in the rain can be a pleasure if approached from the right perspective. Some say that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing, which does carry a certain amount of truth. It is important to be properly attired for wet conditions in clothing that will keep you dry and warm, but not too warm.
Sean Kelly has another outlook on cycling in the rain
I have my own opinion too. I find the key to enjoying cycling in the rain has a lot to do with the roads you choose to travel upon. A busy main road with the cars, vans and trucks louder than ever as they splash on by and shower you with the spray from their jet wash is truly miserable. However, if you choose a nice quiet back road with very little or no traffic, then you can enjoy it almost as much as cycling in the sunshine. The air is cleaner after being ‘washed and filtered’ by the rainfall. The colour are more vibrant, especially at this time of year. Today’s roads, in the heart of County Clare were the perfect location for a day cycling in the rain.
Within minutes of leaving the hotel I found myself on a deserted backroad where I would not meet another car for almost an hour. The road climbed as I headed inland and the meandering narrow country road offered all that a cyclist could desire. Plenty to look at, shelter from the wind and a good smooth surface.
I stopped to take a look back down at Lickeen Lough as the rainfall began to lighten.
The only piece of main road that I encountered was a kilometre stretch in Killinaboy before I turned left in towards The Burren National Park.
Another well surfaced road surrounded by sights in Nature that are unique in the World led me towards my next point of interest. Even though there are thousands of Flora and Fauna that you will not find anywhere else, it was a house in from the road that attracted me. Father Ted is a timeless comedy show that has a huge cult following. The fictional location of Craggy Island is actually in the heart of The Burren. A homestead to a farming family there are more pictures taken each year from the gates of this house than from the gates of Leinster house itself.
There was no Ted, Dougal, Father Jack or Mrs. Doyle hanging about, but a friendly Horse did stroll over to say hello, and then proceeded to try to eat my saddle through the gate.
On I rolled again and was fascinated at how little traffic I was encountering. This road through The Burren National park really is a cyclists paradise.
Two junctions later I was heading back West once more when the sky cleared and The Burren came alive. Fields of rock appeared and I wondered what the purpose of the constant stone walls bordering the unworkable land was. Perhaps to enclose sheep. The rocks contained in the fields grew bigger as I made my way along in awe of my surroundings.
Now skirting Lough Atedaun a castle caught my eye. I stopped to take a closer look, whilst a donkey took a keen interest in my handlebars. First the horse tried to eat my saddle now this donkey wanted to chew my handlebars. It was time to get moving again.
As is often the case, the rain had now cleared completely to reveal County Clare in all of it’s glory . A truly beautiful place that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world each year.
As I dropped down towards Ennistymon along another deserted back road, and the Falls Hotel once more I had a small on my face having enjoyed a great days cycling in a fabulous location.
This route would rate 3/7 for difficulty.
Here is the Garmin file of todays Falls Hotel 58k
Here is todays Strava file of The Falls Hotel 58k
And here is a smartphone downloadable file on mapmyride
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