An omelette for breakfast can be the perfect choice for any cyclist when staying away from home. I have sampled many omelettes but the one presented in the Ard Ri House Hotel in Tuam is up there with the best of them. Freshly carved ham from the bone and proper cheese, not just easy singles, in the freshly made breakfast and a strong pot of coffee was enough to set me up for the day.
Once again I turned left leaving the hotel and on to the N17, before taking another immediate left onto a smooth asphalt surfaced by-road that meandered throughout the peaceful stonewalled countryside. For the next hour I would meet little or no traffic until I reached the town of Headford.
There I followed the road to Ballinrobe where I paid a visit to Marrey Bikes for some energy fuel. Preparations for this years Ballinrobe 2 Day were well under way as Donal Harrington, a real man of the Ras, was busy serving the many customers. Next it was back on the road in the direction of Cong, Co. Mayo. Having come across the Railway station used in filming The Quiet Man the previous evening I had an appetite for more cinematic history, along with a taste for travelling along more of these glorious cycling roads.
A large stone monument caught my eye and as I stopped I discovered that this was the site of an uprising that gave a new word to the english language. Captain Charles Boycott was over ruled by people power at this location back in 1880.
Lough mask and its’ fishing shore stretched out to my right as Lough Corrib lay in wait up ahead.
The Town of Cong was alive with holiday excitement as hundreds of tourists strolled around exploring the picture postcard location where The Quiet Man was filmed.
A spin through the grounds of Ashford castle led to the sound of Danny boy eminating from waters up ahead. As it turned out it was part of the entertainment provided to those venturing out on the very popular Killary harbour cruises.
The Quiet Man cafe looked like a good spot to stop for lunch and it was good to see that the prices were great value too. As I sipped my cappuchino a visitor arrived who was interested in the disc brakes on my Giant Defy. Tom, a muscian from Galway who raced with Galway Bay CC joined me for lunch. Not alone was he a cyclist but his father Nuthan was a press photographer on the Tour de France for over twenty years. The iconic photo of Stephen Roche collapsed recieving oxygen at the summit of La Plagne after his Tour winning performance was taken by Nuthan.
Now replenished I set off towards the lake once more. There are many small islands on Lough Corrib some of which are inhabited. There are causeways across to these islands that I really wanted to see.
The first island that I approached was Inismicatreer. The narrow single laned causeway bridge gave way to some spectacular views.
Back on the mainland once more I followed the lakeshore as much as possible along the quiet roads and only once got caught up in a traffic jam. Although this type of traffic might be slightly less common in urban areas.
A longer causeway now brought me out onto the Island of Inishquin where a small boat glided along the glassy waters of the lake. There is always a serene clam-ness when the silence of nature is only interrupted by the low toned puttering of a small outboard engine.
The pier at Kilbeg with a boat on the pier wall alongside a casually moored jet-ski gave an indication of the diversity of uses that the lake provides its visitors.
Now it was time to turn back in towards Headford and the road back to Tuam. Much of this section of roadway is used by the Jigsaw Giro d’Galway, another event that uses the Ard Ri House hotel as a stopover base.
A small drag on the road reminded me just how flat the entire route had been. Although, with all of the twists and turns and distractions along the way there was always something to look at and the time seemed to pass very quickly. All too soon I was back on the N17 once more approaching Tuam with the Cathedral Spire guiding the way.
Using the complimentary tea/coffee voucher that I received upon check in to have a welcome cappuccino whilst uploading the spin to Strava on the very fast hotel wifi I noticed that there weren’t many KOM’S. Cycling is not always about setting the fastest time or a record average speed. Sometimes it is good to just head out there and enjoy the peace and quiet of your surroundings on well surfaced, lightly trafficked roads, with just your thoughts and dreams for company. Tuam and it’s surroundings is the perfect place for this type of spin.
Below are links to the 128k route that I followed on Garmin Connect and Strava.