Ireland day 0280. Tuesday 05 July 2022- Mulranny

Ireland day 0280. Tuesday 05 July 2022- Mulranny
Today’s summary Took the train out to Westport then cycled on the first section of the Great Western Greenway to Mulranney.   First stage of a three day mini-beak whilst Val is away in the UK
Today’s weather Mostly dull and overcast with a moderate westerly wind.   A brief glimpse of the sun in the afternoon.   No rain.   About 15C
Today’s overview location
(The blue mark shows the location of my route)
Close-up location
(The green line shows where I cycled)
(Click button below to download GPX of today’s ride as recorded, or see interactive map at bottom with elevations corrected):
Westport Mulranny cycle ride
Commentary

OK I’ll admit it.   I had an ulterior motive for spending last Wednesday cleaning and testing my bike.   It was all down to today, really.   You see when Val headed off to London, we agreed that while she was away, I’d try and slot in an outing to a new part of Ireland that we hadn’t been to before.   In view of fuel prices, with just me I didn’t really want to drive, so that narrowed down my choice of destinations to places close to railway stations.   I did a bit of research and was wondering where I could go to and then do some decent walking, but was drawing a bit of a blank.   The suddenly I realised there was an obvious answer – take my folding bike on the train and do a bit of cycling.

I had heard quite a lot about the “Great Western Greenway”, which is a bike and walking path that runs 44km / 28mi from Westport, round Clew Bay and out to Achill Island.   The greenway was opened in 2010 and mostly runs along the trackbed of the old Great Western Midlands Railway extension from Westport to Achill (I think it was a narrow-gauge railway).  The railway opened in 1895 but closed again only 42 years later when passenger numbers failed to meet the business plan and the economics collapsed.   The Greenway is actually Ireland’s longest and although it is billed as a cycling and hiking route, I don’t think you’d want to walk it as it’s mostly tarmac and concrete and you probably wouldn’t have any joints left if you tried it.

The best bit, of course, is that Westport is on a train line direct from Dublin (Heuston) and it’s a relatively straightforward journey to get there, taking a little over three hours.   Even when you add on the DART from Malahide to Dublin and the short bike ride across town from Tara Street station, I found it a pretty un-daunting journey and after a leisurely start from Malahide, I was in Westport and ready to start cycling just before 4pm.

I’m going to be away for three days / two nights and so now I’m in my AirBnB in Mulranney, which is about two thirds of the way to Achill.   Tomorrow I’m going to cycle over to the island (there’s a bridge – a bit like Skye) and have a look round.   Then back to the same B&B tomorrow night, and return to Dublin via Westport late on Thursday evening.

The ride ride to Mulranney from Westport late this afternoon was interesting and relatively straightforward.   Though it isn’t particularly easy to find the start of the Greenway itself – it involved a bit of convoluted google-mapping through Westport to get to the beginning.  But that did give me the opportunity to have a quick look at the town as I rode through.   It seemed to have a lot to offer so I’m going to schedule in a few hours on the way back on Thursday, before I catch the train, to have a look round.

Once I got to it, the first section of the greenway – to Newport – isn’t outstanding, I have to admit.   It runs alongside the busy N59 road, so you don’t feel very far away from the rest of humanity most of the time.   Nevertheless, I had worked up an appetite by the time I reached Newport, so I stopped at a café for a massive early dinner, then resumed my journey to my destination at Mulranney.

This second stage of the journey was far more interesting than the first.   The greenway leaves the N59 and dives off into more remote countryside – which looks quite a lot like the western isles of Scotland – and it’s a lot more peaceful and scenic than the inital stretch to Newport.   I did find it surprisingly hard going though – I must be a lot less fit than I thought.   Plus that large dinner was possibly a mistake as definitely felt like I’d rather be lying down digesting than hauling myself up  seemingly endless uphill slopes (the worst sort) into an increasingly debilitating headwind.

Anyway, I made it to Mulranney without incident so now I’m enjoying a good cup of tea in my B&B and looking forward to a hot shower.   Tomorrow’s Achill – a completely new destination for me – so check back in tomorrow evening to see what I found.

 

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)

About to set off from Dublin Heuston this morning.   Short cycle to get there from the Tara St DART station, along the Liffey embankment.   A bit busy but a reasonable cycleway most of the way Looking a bit befuddled at Westport.   It’s a three hour train journey but quite interesting.   Reminds you that Ireland is pretty flat and boggy in the middle.   I was surprised to see that despite it being a relatively “high speed” line, it was single track pretty much the whole way
On the greenway.   It’s unexpectedly winding – and for a coastal railway there seems to be a lot of uphill too!   Unsurprisingly, as I was heading west, there was quite a strong westerly headwind to deal with, too Part of the greenway was actually a pinkway – carpeted with these small pink flowers which I haven’t been able to identify yet.   Lots of orchids, too, so a very pretty ride in parts
The Burrishoole Bridge.   It was built in the 1700s and today only the greenway and a small local road goes over it.   The main N59 road is a bit further south As you go further west, the greenway goes into wilder – and more interesting – countryside.   The early sections are uncomfortably close to the N59 but once you get beyond Burrishoole, you leave the N59 behind and the scenery opens right up.   The sun came out at that moment too, which made it even more spectacular
The view from outside my accommodation in Mulranney, looking across Clew Bay.   Croagh Patrick is in the clouds, looking spectacular and volcanic, despite being “only” 764m / 2507ft high
Interactive map

(Elevations corrected at  GPS Visualizer: Assign DEM elevation data to coordinates )

Total distance: 34412 m
Max elevation: 67 m
Min elevation: 0 m
Total climbing: 471 m
Total descent: -478 m
Total time: 03:36:33
Download file: Cycle From Westport To Mulranny compressed corrected.gpx

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