Doolin to Kinvarra (70 km, Elevation 790m)
This section starts in the little seaside village of Doolin, in the beautiful surrounds of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, an area rich with historical and archaeological sites offering wonderful opportunities for exploring. In the surrounds of the Geopark you will find the longest cave system in Ireland, the largest stalactite in Europe, the Burren National Park, the Carron Nature Reserve, a host of wild flora and fauna and an amazing food culture, all waiting to be discovered.Traditional Irish music is also very much alive and kicking in Doolin – so pick up a whistle or a fiddle and join in! Doolin is also popular as the departure point for the Aran Islands Ferry and Cliffs of Moher Cruises.
Following the route on to Fanore you pass by Black Head the most northerly tip of County Clare commanding magnificent views of Galway Bay and the Aran Islands. Fanore is very popular with walkers, surfers, tourists and is particularly interesting to botanists, owing to its location on the edge of the Burren – renowned for its unique flora and fauna. This popular long beach has an extensive sand dune system and is a popular swimming spot.
From Fanore the route meanders on to Ballyvaughan, a small fishing village set in a green wooded vale. There is a good choice of hotels, guest houses, B&B and self catering accommodation options as well as great restaurants, cafes and pubs to welcome you here.
The route from Ballyvaughan continues past Poulnabrone Dolmen and towards the village of Carran in the heart of the Burren. The ‘turlough’ (disappearing lake) in the valley below Carran village is the second largest and most famous in the world because of its rich diversity of flora and fauna.
The route section ends in the heritage village of Kinvarra at the southeastern corner of Galway Bay.
The Doolin to Kinvarra route brings cyclists along mostly rural local roads in the Burren National Park and can be very popular in summer especially on the R477 and R480 so be prepared to share the road with cycle tourists and tour buses in these beautiful surrounds. The route includes a number of challenging hill climbs including the iconic Corkscrew Hill near Ballyvaughan and Castle hill in Doolin. Road surface is generally moderate / well rideable on asphalted roads however some sections are showing signs of degradation and care needs to be exercised.