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Achill Island GreenWay

Westport Loop

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Achill Island GreenWay starts from the lively town of Westport and takes cyclists along the fantastic Great Western Greenway and the magnificent Spanish Coast road to Achill Island. After a tour of Achill, you will cycle back to Westport taking to the Greenway once more.

The Great Western Greenway follows a former railway line from Westport to Achill Sound and is the longest traffic free off-road cycling trail in Ireland. This is a fantastic start to your Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour, not too strenuous or taxing for anyone of moderate fitness, just a nice relaxing days cycle.

Along the way you will pass the town of Newport with its famous seven-arched viaduct over the Black Oak river; Mulranny and its stunning strand, before taking in the superb views of the Atlantic Drive on your way to Achill Island. Views of Clew Bay with Croagh Patrick in the distance, the ocean and the surrounding blanket bog are simply breath-taking. The Great Western Greenway has won several awards including European Destination of Excellence, an award for the community spirit of the Greenway land owners for allowing their land to be used and developed and an Irish Community and Council Award (LAMA).

As you cross the bridge in Achill Sound you will be entering Achill Island, a region of fascinating history and spectacular landscapes. The pirate queen Grace O’Malley (Granuaile) held control of various fortresses and houses along these shores and you will encounter one of her forts along the way. Keem Bay, at the edge of Achill, is home to one of the most idyllic beaches in Ireland.

VIEW OUR TOUR OPTIONS

  • Achill Island Loop – Short Break:
    • 4 days/3 nights. Cycling the Great Western Greenway from Westport to Achill Sound (via Greenway and Spanish Coast Road – Atlantic Drive) and back to Westport (via Greenway).
  • Achill Island Loop – Full:
    • 6 days/5 nights. Cycling the Great Western Greenway from Westport to Achill Sound, enjoy a tour of Achill Island and then return to Westport via Mulranny.

Trip highlights

  • Taste some of the best seafood and fish in Westport
  • Cycle the magnificent Great Western Greenway
  • Enjoy a picnic and a swim in one of Achill Island's blue flag beaches
  • Reflect in the silence of the deserted village at Slievemore mountain

1 Westport

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Westport is a lovely heritage town and three-time overall winner of the National Tidy Towns Competition, the words picturesque and Westport go hand in hand. The town was the creation of James Wyatt. Developing from a vision laid down in the 1700s, Wyatt’s carefully considered plans have seamlessly guided Westport from the past to the present. This busy little town has a lot to offer: history, scenic walks, gastronomy, the mighty Croagh Patrick, Clew Bay with its 365 islands and bars with entertainment that will take you into the small hours of the morning.

2 Westport to Achill Sound - 55km

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6H30 | +288m / -303m
The first day of your Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour, you will  collect your bike and any other equipment after breakfast, at the start of The Great Western Greenway. The Greenway is 42km long and follows the route of the Westport to Achill railway which closed in 1937. Along the route you will pass through the villages of Newport and Mulranny, enjoying magnificent views, before arriving at Achill Island, Ireland’s largest island.

As you enter Newport you will find it hard to miss the fine cut-stone seven arch railway viaduct over the Black Oak river. From Mulranny you will follow the Wild Atlantic Way along the ‘Spanish Coast’ road to Achill Sound, one of the most stunning coastal roads in the country and is perfect for cycling. *You will return to Mulranny on Day 5 via the Great Western Greenway.

3 Achill Sound to Keel - 50km

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6H30 | +673m / -678m

Leaving Achill Sound this morning you will cycle on quiet rural roads with breath-taking coastal views, as you follow the southern coast around Knockmore Mountain (340m), before travelling inland to the village of Cashel. You will continuing cycling the Wild Atlantic Way on regional roads through Keel and Dooagh on your way to Keem Bay, an absolute must-see in Achill Island. From Keem you will cycle back to your accommodation for the evening in Keel.

Picturesque Keem Bay is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, Keem Beach, nestled in the valley between the cliffs of Benmore and Croaghaun mountain. Mid-way between Keel and Dooagh you will encounter a modern Stonehenge-like structure, built over a weekend amidst much controversy by a local property developer. It is over 4 meters high and 100 meters in circumference. It consists of a circle of 30 concrete columns topped by a ring of stone.

4 Keel to Mulranny - 37km

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7H00 | +378m / -358m
Today, you will start cycling back to Westport. You will leave Keel across Achill Island taking the Slievemore road. Along a one mile stretch of the Slievemore road you will find a deserted village, consisting of 80 – 100 stone cottages on the southern slopes of Slievemore Mountain (640m). Local field systems and site remnants give us an insight to life on Achill in days gone by.

From the deserted village you will cycle along quiet rural roads to the Northern coast of the island, through the Doogart East Bog (a protected natural area), back to Achill Sound. Crossing the bridge back to the mainland you will follow the signs to join the Greenway back to Mulranny (*if you followed the Spanish Coast Road scenic route on your way to Achill).

5 Mulranny to Westport - 32km

4H30 | +221m / -237m
On your last day cycling the Wild Atlantic Way, you will cycle from Mulranny back to Westport along the Great Western Greenway. The disused Achill to Westport railway line has been redeveloped to become one of the longest off-road cycle/walking trails in Ireland. Before you leave Mulranny, take the chance to go for a stroll in the magnificent beach, if you can. Back in Westport, make sure you enjoy a traditional Irish evening out, stopping off at Matt Molloy’s bar, world famous for Irish music: ‘Craic agus Ceol’ (fun and music in Irish).

6 Westport

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After your breakfast your Wild Atlantic Way cycling tour with us finishes.
Why not ask our team about adding an extra nights accommodation if you wish to spend some time exploring Westport, visit the 18th century Westport house and garden, climb nearby Croagh Patrick mountain or just relax in this fantastic town. Being so close to the sea most restaurants will specialise in a variety of seafood, including shellfish from Killary fjord.

Hotels and guest houses have been carefully selected for their location, comfort, character, food, and friendliness of the staff (why not ask our sales team about optional upgrades to superior rooms or suites where available along you tour). As our tours pass areas of outstanding natural beauty and cultural heritage, it is worth while considering adding in a rest day in the middle of your tour. Accommodation displayed is subject to availability and if the hotel/guest house described is not available, we will provide you with one of the same standard of comfort and price.

Westport - Standard

Our first choice hotel is in the centre of town and only a few minutes walk from where you will collect your bike in the morning.

Achill Sound - Standard

We have a selection of accommodation to choose from on Achill Island, our first choice is a newly built, family run hotel with a restaurant and bar on-site.

Keel - Standard

This evening’s accommodation is in the village of Keel which is the main population centre on the island and boasts magnificent panoramic view of Achill Island’s rugged scenery, Croaghaun Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean.

Mulranny - Standard

Your accommodation is situated in Mulranny village on the north shore of Clew Bay.

Westport Average Temperature & Rainfall

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How to Get There

Live information on Rome2Rio. We can also arrange private transfers if you prefer, just ask us.

 

Westport

 

Ireland West Airport Knock 55km:

Knock Airport to Westport | Bus | Travel time 1H from outside the main terminal, departing every 3 hours | Fare €6 one way.

 

Dublin Airport 258km:

Dublin Airport to Westport | Bus | Travel time 4H00, departing every 3 hours roughly, from outside the main terminal,  | Fare €25 one way.

 

Dublin City Centre 251km:

Dublin Airport to Dublin City | Aircoach or Bus No. 747 | Travel time 0H30 leaving Dublin Airport for O’Connell Street every 15 minutes | Fare €6 one-way.

Dublin City to Westport | Bus | Travel time 5h30 from Dublin Central Bus Station (Busáras) on Store St to Westport (Mill St – Westbound Stop), leaving every 2 and a half hours | Fare €25 one way.

Dublin City to Westport | Train | Travel time 3H00 from Heuston Train Station, Dublin, departing every 3 hours | Fare €35 one way.

 

More information: 

Air Coach – Airport Transfer

Bus Eireann – Intercity Bus

Dublin Bus – Dublin City Bus

Irish Rail – Train