We love Ireland because even the most far-reaching places are just a few hours away by train, bus or car. Westport in County Mayo is a little over three hours by train from Dublin and is one of our favorite destinations in the West of Ireland. County Mayo also features a 40 km stretch of trail called the Great Western Greenway that runs between Achill Island and Westport town. Repurposed from an old railroad track, the Great Western Greenway now serves as a premier cycling destination. We liked the idea of cycling from Achill Island to Westport town, but were concerned that we weren't in good enough shape for the ride. Cue the electric bikes! Clew Bay Bike Hire offers electric assist bicycles for a bit of added oomph on the ride from Achill Island to Westport. Clew Bay Bike Hire also features a few depots along the way so we could drop off the bikes and hop in a taxi if we felt like we couldn't make it all the way from Achill Island to Westport town. With these risks and concerns appropriately managed, we decided to give it a go. I'm happy to report that we cycled the entire way from Achill to Westport and are so glad we embarked on the journey. Here are twelve reasons why cycling the Great Western Greenway on electric bikes is a must-do activity on a trip to County Mayo in the West of Ireland.
1. County Mayo's Dramatically Changing Scenery
The scenery in Ireland's County Mayo is truly outstanding and changes rapidly over the 40 km cycling route from Achill Island to Westport town. From sea, to farm land, to rocky landscape; we saw it all. On bicycles there is the added advantage of being able to stop easily for photographs. The electric-assist bicycles also ensured that we could mount the hills and enjoy the sweeping vistas.
2. Carpets of Wildflowers on the Great Western Greenway
We cycled the Great Western Greenway in June. The lands surrounding the trails were covered in many places by carpets of pink and yellow wildflowers. It was a stunning sight to behold.
3. Cycling Past Historic Ruins
As we cycled, we spotted historic ruins along the way; typically old farm buildings with the thatch roofs long gone. In one spot along the Great Western Greenway, a sculpture installation added a bit of modern contrast to the scene.
4. A Glimpse of Achill Island
We started our ride at the bridge to Achill Island, another area of outstanding natural beauty. We wish we had time to explore Achill Island in depth but we just rode across the bridge to test out our electric bicycles at the start of our journey. We'll be back!
5. A Cycling Pitstop for Sheep!
Ireland is a country awash in sheep. As we were cycling along, we encountered many sheep along the Great Western Greenway. I was particularly excited when I saw a mama and her lamb heading right for us. Every once in a while, she would nudge the baby to keep it moving along past those odd creatures on the strange two wheeled machines. Priceless!
6. Cycle Past Gorgeous Birds
The weather gods were with us on this cycling day trip in County Mayo and the sunny but brisk weather enticed the birds out. We saw chaffinches galore on fenches and posing atop pretty branches.
7. A Taste of the Farm Life in County Mayo
Our cycle ride along the Great Western Greenway also gave us a small taste of farm life. Setting up this amazing public works involved the cooperation of dozens of landowners along the length of the trail. As a result, we cycled through a variety of working farms with tractors proudly on display and livestock grazing in the fields.
8. A Stroll through Newport
Newport town in County Mayo marks the two-thirds point on the cycling journey starting from Achill Island and ending in Westport. We parked our bicycles at the Clew Bay Bike Hire depot here to give our backsides a break and explored the Newport town on foot. The Newport river runs through town and offers stunning views. We even spotted a horse out for a trot with its owner along the river side.
9. Refuel with A Carvery Lunch
Even with electric assist, you still get a great workout cycling the Great Western Greenway. By the time we rolled into Newport, we were famished and ducked into Walsh's Bridge Inn for a hearty carvery lunch and a pint.
10. Coffee and Cake on the Great Western Greenway
After lunch we sated our sweet tooth at The Blue Bicycle Tea Rooms in Newport. How fitting considering that we were undertaking this day trip on electric bikes! Apple pie and coffee gave us the energy we needed to cycle the final leg of the journey.
11. County Mayo's Happy Cows
The Great Western Greenway is an idyllic ride and it's made even more so by the creatures we encountered along the way. In addition to countless sheep, we also spotted cows galore. They definitely added to the atmosphere as we cycled past.
12. The Great Western Greenway's Grazing Donkeys
What better way to be welcomed to Westport town, our destination on the final leg of our bicycle journey than by an adorable donkey grazing on a field of wild yellow flowers.
As we rolled into Westport town, tired from a day of cycling (but not exhausted thanks to the electric assist bikes!), we reflected on our amazing ride across the quintessential landscapes of County Mayo in the West of Ireland. With the sun shining, there is no better way to spend the day than cycling the Great Western Greenway on electric bicycles.
Sharing is caring...
Reflections Enroute #wkendtravelinspiration (link)