Way: The Burren Cycleway
Trailheads: The cycleway starts/ends at Lisdoonvarna
Services: Lisdoonvarna, Lahinch, Ballyvaughan and Doolin
Time: Approximately 1.5 days
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Traffic: Generally light but can get busy during peak holiday season.
Terrain: Hilly, low gears recommended. Breathtaking scenery with a mix of coastal and inland routes.
To Suit: Suitable for people of medium levels of fitness.
Minimum Gear: Helmet, bike, mobile phone, fluid, snacks, waterproofs and a rucksack.
The Burren Cycleway is a 69km signposted route. You can approach the Burren Cycleway from Lahinch along the R478, then turn right beyond the port village of Liscannor and head north towards the famous Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs of Moher, with sheer 700 feet drop and stretching for almost 8kms, is a major tourist attraction in the area.
Those travelling along the N67 from Galway have the opportunity to join the Cycleway at Ballyvaughan. Cyclists arriving at Shannon can take the R472 route to Newmarket on Fergus and on to Clarecastle and Ennis, the capital of Co. Clare Ennis. The route is signposted all the way through Ennis, where you take the N85 to Fountain Cross. Here the route links up with the R476 that takes you through Corofin and on to Lisdoonvarna.
You can approach the Burren Cycleway from Lahinch along the R478, then turn right beyond the port village of Liscannor and head north towards the famous Cliffs of Moher. From here, follow the Burren Cycleway signs on the R459 to the village of Doolin. This is an ideal stop-off point for refreshments, or an overnight stay to soak up the atmosphere of this remote countryside. A little way down the road along the R479, that commands breathtaking views of the Atlantic coastline, is Lisdoonvarna.
Using Lisdoonvarna as a base, you have a choice of taking the historic Dolmen Cycleway, featured separately, or the Burren route along the R477 to Ballynalacken Castle, Fanore and Black Head. The scenery is spectacular along this coastal route, as you pass Fanore and Black Head looking out over Galway Bay and explore the grey stone desert of The Burren on your right.
Continue on the R477 until you reach Ballyvaughan, a cross-roads to the Burren. This is a small but busy harbour town with oyster beds and cafes, where you can stock up on refreshments for the return trip to Lisdoonvarna. At this stage it's make your mind up time whether you want to visit the Aillwee Caves or return directly, along the N67 and Corkscrew Hill, to Lisdoonvarna. It is a good idea to carry plenty of fluid and to use low gears for this latter arduous climb. This is an ideal route to work up an appetite and to obtain a flavour of what lies in store on the adjoining Dolmen Cycleway.