A lap of Clew Bay in a Day – suggested itinerary starting in Westport
The Clew Bay Bike Trail can be cycled in either direction starting at any point – just make sure the ferry times suit your travel plans. Below is one suggested itinerary, starting and finishing in Westport and doing the trail clockwise.
This is a full day trip on a Wednesday, taking the 10.45 or 11am ferry from Roonagh to Clare Island and the 3.30pm ferry from Clare Island to Achill Island. Tickets should be pre-booked, and one ticket covers both ferry journeys.
At a rough guesstimate, the cycling time is just under 4 hours. This doesn't include any cycling on Clare Island and assumes a cycling speed of 20km/hour:
Westport - Murrisk (9km): 27mins
Murrisk - Roonagh (20km): 60 mins
Cloughmore - Achill Sound (8km): 24 mins
Achill Sound - Mulranny (13km): 39 mins
Mulranny - Newport (18km): 54 mins
Newport - Westport (11km): 33 mins
Leave Westport at 9am and cycle on the Greenway out the coast road to Murrisk. Then move onto the public road past Croagh Patrick, Lecanvy (there’s a beautiful sandy beach at Old Head if you’ve time for a swim), and into Louisburgh town. The views across the bay to Clare Island are stunning.
There might be time for a quick coffee at one of the cafés. There are no shops or facilities at Roonagh, so if you need anything for the ferry journey, buy it here. Roonagh Pier is another 7km, so leave plenty of time to get there. The cycle to Roonagh is down a lovely country road.
This is the ferry terminal and ideally you would arrive about 15 minutes prior to departure. The ferrymen will help get your bike on board (if it’s electric, you’ll need to take the battery out). Then all you need to do is sit back, relax, watch out for dolphins and enjoy the trip.
The ferry arrives at the pier right beside Granuaile’s Castle and the beautiful sandy beach. The ferrymen will help take your bike off the boat. You have a few hours to discover Clare Island either on your bike or on foot. Options include having a swim, walking to the amazing medieval paintings in St. Brigid’s Abbey or walking/cycling to Clare Island Lighthouse and the magnificent sea cliffs. Don’t forget to leave time for lunch. Be back at the pier at 3.15pm, to get on board the Achill ferry.
Cloughmore, Achill Island
This is a slightly longer ferry journey, and it is really beautiful with a full panorama of Clew Bay on view. The ferry docks near the lifeboat station at Cloughmore, opposite the Currane peninsula. The cycle from Cloughmore to Achill Sound is on public roads but this section is quiet with little traffic and lots to look at.
Once you cross Achill Sound (plenty of coffee/ice cream options here), watch out for the start of the Great Western Greenway to the left. From this point you’ll be cycling on the Greenway all the way to Westport.
You pass right by Mulranny Park Hotel and the newly converted old Stationhouse which is now a tourist office and information point. If you’re in need of refreshments, the hotel or one of the pubs or cafés in Mulranny will have what you need. It’s a beautiful cycle from Mulranny to Newport.
The trail runs right through Newport town and over the Black Oak River with the famous seven arched railway bridge in the background. This is your last chance for a coffee or something to eat before arriving back in Westport.