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Thread: DISCOVERING IRELAND (what,where,when & how... a guide to the Emerald Isle)

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    The Hoose

    DISCOVERING IRELAND (what,where,when & how... a guide to the Emerald Isle)

    Hopefully this will turn out to be a guide to travel and things to see in Ireland.

    Any of you with some useful information about and things to see and do and places to stay and the best roads while in Ireland place your posts here.

    Try to keep the posts informative with as much detail as possible with pictures if you have them....i will try and edit the posts in the best way possible to keep the info neat and tidy

    I'll start with a couple of links that covers Ireland with general information.

    Nice pdf map file of NI with places of interest and some info

    here is a fast and simple PDF viewer if you need it... better than Acrobat reader IMO

    Some basic maps of Ireland ....mostly the north

    Another Map

    pdf downloads of maps and Brochures

    Castles, Houses Museums and Gardens of Ireland

    Interactive Map

    Eating out

    The black Stuff Dublin

    Top Tourist Sites

    Bushmills Distillery Tour

    Rent Cottages in Ireland

    Hidden Ireland(historical houses to stay in)

    Hidden Ireland (self-catering houses to rent)

    More Things to See & Do in Ireland

    Irish Drinking and Music links

    Tarkas Emerald Isle by Ural write-up

    Driving distances

    Also i need to point out...

    Ireland has two time-zones
    Greenwich Mean Time and LPT"local pub time".
    Local (LPT) time can be anything between ten minutes and 10 hours behind GMT, depending on the position of the moon and the man with the keys to the bar. The Irish concept of time has been influenced heavily by the thinking of 20th century physicists and Guinness

    Ireland remains a very religious country, with the two main denominations being "us" and "them". In the unlikely event you are asked which group you belong to, the correct answer is: "I'm an atheist, thank God". Then change the subject.

    How to spot American Tourists

    They'll be the ones in the Woolly jumpers with Golf clubs

    And remember it doesn't rain in the pub!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    The Hoose

    Here We Go...The North Coast

    All I can say is that this is a good run on the bike…with plenty to see if you want to take the time….
    if you can make you way to Larne and take the A2 coast road north towards Portrush.
    The route from Larne to Magilligan point should take about 2 hours... about 4-5 if you stop for a bite to eat and do a good bit of looking about.
    The views and roads are quite stunning but it is a coastal route so in the winter it can be very cold and bleak.

    You go through some small villages on this scenic coastal route. head up through Glenarm and Carnlough
    and on round Garron Point towards Cushendall, just take in the views, there is not much to stop for on this part of the coast.
    Apart from the scenery of course.
    You could if you want stop in Cushendall for something to eat, but I would travel on towards Ballycastle,
    and maybe have something there.

    1/ cushendall

    You will have passed through this on your way The Red Arch

    You now have a choice to make… where I have placed point A on the map you can go two different routes,
    the inland A2 or more of a coastal route towards Torr Head via Cushendun.

    Cushendun harbour

    On round the coast road to about halfway between Cushendun & Torr Head you pass Coolranny viewing point
    from where you can see Scotland

    From Torr Head you also get a good view of Scotland.

    From the disused coastguard station on the top of Torr Head
    Looking back in the Cushendun direction you see this..

    And looking the other way you see Fair Head and Rathlin Island

    This one is looking back towards Torr Head

    The road from Torr head till you reach Hunters Bar is great.. steep and twisty with plenty of undulations,
    you can turn off the road and head to Murlough Bay as well... it's very picturesque.

    These are the veiws at the top before you head down into Murlough Bay

    And further down into the bay

    You may be lucky like me and meet this little fellow

    The coastal road is quite hilly, and in the middle of the winter time not recommended if there is ice or snow,
    also further on round passed Torr Head you may find the odd straying sheep….

    Free sex for some!!!!.

    If you had taken the A2 inland route instead you would have found Loughareema the Vanishing Lake.

    Now you see it.....

    This mountain route is good if you want a very fast blast on the bike.
    At point B on the map where both roads meet there's Hunters Bar on a good Saturday or Sunday.
    You may find bikers stopping for a quick bite or drink…you can sit outside on the tables and chairs...
    watching the bikes take the S bend that the bar sits on.

    Ballycastle is another couple of miles down the road…
    it's your biggest town so far and as such has more to offer in the way of food, drink, music, etc.

    Bikes gather at the Harbour and ruff tuff bikers go get themselves ice cream from one of the many purveyors of the frozen pleasures around there.
    The harbour has a ferry that goes to Rathlin Island...only on foot no motorbikes or cars
    There was a Ferry that went to Cambletown in Scotland but it was not economic so since has stopped running.
    Ballycastle has on the last Monday and Tuesday of august The Lammas Fair.
    The whole town is at a stand still the main street turns into one big market full of stalls...
    selling any old tat and sticky yellow stuff called Yellowman.

    Live Music

    The road from Ballycastle to Portrush is great for the bike...
    the sad thing is that there is so much you could see along this route you'll not get a good go at the road itself.

    Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge would be your next place to stop but there is
    remains of Kenbane (meaning: White Head) Castle on the way to Carrick-a-Rede.
    Not really the biggest castle in the world…but it is there.

    Here it is in it's full glory

    On the path down to Kenbane you have this view to the right with caves at sea level.

    And an artistic Shot of Kenbane

    The rope bridge is not for the faint hearted... worth doing but it takes a little time to walk down to it.
    You get to see Sheep Island on the way down to the Rope bridge

    Cick for a panoramic view of Carick_A-Rede from opposite sheep Island

    Have a cuppa to settle the nerves.
    The Rope Bridge Tea Rooms

    Next is Ballintoy...a one street village basically it has a Hostel, Pubs and places to eat the Fullerton Arms in the village has B&B.
    The harbour is just outside the village it has a shop for tea and Ice cream.

    Cick for a panoramic view of Ballintoy Harbour

    This is a view over the top of the harbour and Sheep Island with Rathlin beyond (you can't see the Harbour in the pic)

    Whitepark Bay Youth Hostel is nearby.

    Whitepark Bay and Port Bradden are next

    From Whitepark Bay viewing point to the right you can see part of Rathlin still

    And to the left you see the rest of Whitepark Bay with Port Braddon within it and The Giant's Causeway in the background.

    Port Braddon with the smallest church in Ireland

    Now for one that most of you will know of... The Giant's Causeway

    The Giant’s Causeway info

    A Visual Tour Of the Causeway

    A must see if you've never been there before.

    The Giants Causeway official guide

    If you're looking for somewhere to stay near the Giants Causeway and Bushmills I can recommend Ballylinny self catering cottages…
    really close to the Giants Causeways entrance and just outside Bushmills itself,
    the only catch is that you have to stay for two days at least.

    Ballylinny cottages

    In Bushmills itself you can stay inThe Bushmills Inn hotel

    You may want to check out the Bushmills Distillery now you have got this far.

    Tour times are….

    April - October (last tour 4pm each day)
    • Monday to Saturday 9.30am - 5.30pm
    • Sunday 12 noon - 5.30pm
    November - March
    • Monday to Friday 5 tours daily (10.30am, 11.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, & 3.30pm)
    • Saturday and Sunday 3 tours daily (1.30pm, 2.30pm & 3.30pm)
    They are closed on Good Friday, July 12th, Christmas & New Years holidays. For groups please telephone to arrange your visit: +44 (0)28 207 33218. There is an admission charge.

    Check out the website Bushmills Distillery

    After that you head on round the coast to Dunluce Castle…if you think you've seen it before and you're a Led Zeppelin fan…then you have...
    it's on the inside of one of there albums. Houses of the Holy I think.

    Opening Times
    April - Sept: Mon - Sat 10am to 6pm Sun 2 - 6pm
    July & August Sundays 12 - 6pm
    Oct - March: Tues - Sat 10am to 4pm Sun 2pm to 4pm
    Admittance : Adults £1.50p
    Concession : £0.75p Groups(+10): £ 0.75p
    Contact: Telephone 028 207 31938

    Then you head past The White Rocks
    (the road down to the White Rocks connects you to East Strand beach which goes the whole way into Portrush...
    that's if you need a long walk )

    The White Rocks is also a great place to have a BBQ at night ,watching the Sunset

    You also look out over The Skerries and Royal Portrush Golf Club.

    After that you can head into Portrush or on round to Portstewart two seaside towns. Portrush has the biggest nightclub in Ireland LUSH

    Or for the older ones head down to the harbour area. The Harbour
    In Portstewart is a bit smaller as far as living it up goes…but I would go out a night in Portstewart before I would go to Portrush….
    more tourist type people in Portrush.
    The Anchor and Bar 7 are the two places in Portstewart where most people would go out to. Both serve good food.
    And have bands playing...with small nightclubs up stairs.
    The Anchor
    Plenty of caravan sites around if you're looking to camp.
    The place is at its best in may when the North West 200 is on…I can't recommend it highly enough.
    If you are into bikes and racing a great atmosphere for the event and the week leading up to it.
    you can get access to all the riders by getting a pit pass for about £10.
    The 2007 International Northwest 200 date has not been confirmed. Usually the second weekend in May.
    crap looking site but it tells all about the NW200
    Most of the riders drink in the York or the Anchor so you can get to meet all the big ones
    some pics of this years
    Next recommended stop would be Castlerock…you have to drive through Coleraine to get to it.
    There is nothing worth stopping for in Coleraine unless you want to go shopping.
    On the other hand you could take a detour to Ballymoney to see some boy standing by a bike.

    After you get back on track from Joey's start heading to Castlerock again.
    Not much point in driving down into Castlerock itself, drive past the turn on the right that takes you into Castlerock...
    head on about another mile and you'll come to the lions gates the entrance to Downhill Castle and the Mussenden Temple.

    Modelled on the temples of Vesta at Rome and Tivoli,
    the elegant domed structure was built in 1783 as a "summer library" by the eccentric Frederick Augustus Hervey.
    He was Anglican Bishop of Derry and 4th Earl of Bristol.
    An unorthodox cleric, he once organised a curates' race along the sands at Downhill, the winners being rewarded with benefices in his diocese.
    He was also unconventional for his time in his tolerance of Catholics,
    permitting a weekly Mass in the Temple since there was no local Catholic church.
    WC available when Temple open (situated at Lion’s Gate car park)

    Opening arrangements:

    12 Mar–20 Mar 11–6 Sa Su
    25 Mar–1 Apr 11–6 Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
    2 Apr–29 May 11–6 Sa Su
    1 Jun–30 Jun 11–6 Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
    1 Jul–31 Aug 11–7:30 Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
    3 Sep–25 Sep 11–6 Sa Su
    1 Oct–30 Oct 11–5 Sa Su

    All year Dawn-dusk Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su

    Notes: Open Good Fri. Open BH Mons.

    Admission prices:
    Grounds & Temple – Motorbike: £2.30. Car: £3.70. Minibus: £7.40. Charges apply when Temple open.

    Downhill, Mussenden Temple info

    after that you travel on about half a mile down into Downhill its self at this point you have another choice go sharp left and up The Bishops road.....

    About 2 miles later you are 850ft higher and at Gortmore Viewing Point, from this you have some breathtaking views.

    Panaramic view from the viewing point

    Or drive straight on toward Magilligan point and get the ferry to Greencastle...
    and take a look at the Martello Tower while you wait for the next sailing...
    it's only about 200 yards past the ferry terminal

    Lough Foyle Ferry takes 15 mins

    and you're in Donegal.
    Here's a map of the Inishowen Peninsula near where the ferry lands

    Landing at Greencastle

    If you head to the right when you get off the Ferry you can make your way to the Inishowen Lighthouse.

    After the lighthouse if you keep to the right about half a mile you'll get to a viewing point
    (i see a bit of target practice has been going on )

    Yet again with good views on the way to the viewing point

    If you see the other sign at the viewing point it says "Road not suitable for cars"
    an invitation as if one was needed to head on up that road on the GS

    Nice GS roads this track is not on the map I posted

    Further up the road turns to track and although passable it wouldn't be recommended if you're on your own
    this route takes you back down to the main road... if you can get through it

    Some info on The Inishowen Peninsula

    Kinnagoe bay is next on the way round the coast.... it is quite stunning if you choose to go that way

    If you head more inland you can take in some more stunning views from up at the TV transmitter

    A look back at NI from the TV tramsmitter you can see where the ferry docks on the right side of the Peninsula

    And a look again from NI at Donegal

    You also have the option of going through Limavady and on to Derry/Londonderry by road.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004

    County Down run

    OK folks as promised here is one of my favourite local runs for the Discovering Ireland ‘Sticky’.

    Here is a map of the route,

    It starts in Newtownards at the head of the Ards peninsula and takes the A 20 [A21] South to Portaferry. This road affords nice views all the way down on the right side of Strangford Lough and further down towards the Mourne Mountains in the distance. It is also an ace biking road with a good surface for the most part.

    This is taken from the North side of Newtownards looking down Strangford Lough towards the Mourne Mountains in the distance.

    This next shot looks across Strangford Lough towards. Scrabo Tower which dominates the skyline of the Ards Peninsula.

    Before Greyabbey is reached Mount Stewart Gardens is also worth a visit if you have time. It is the home of the Londonderry family. It has magnificent gardens and restaurant and is owned by the National Trust.

    En route, Peebles Coffee shop in Greyabbey is worth a visit if you like decent coffee and or like your food. If you are into history they have a Cistercian Abbey founded in 1193 and still in good condition.

    At Portaferry take the ferry across to Strangford a short hop of about ¾ of a mile on a small drive on drive off crossing taking about 20 mins. Bike and rider about £3.70.

    'The Narrows' between Portaferry this side and Strangford village on the far side.

    On board the Ferry.

    Once off the Ferry in Strangford turn left on the A2 coast road to

    Ardglass and follow on through Killough to Clough.

    Between Strangford and Ardglass.

    Some bikes at Ardglass whilst their riders enjoy a cuppa.

    From here continue on the A2 to Newcastle at the foot of the Mourne Mountains Don’t miss either Mauds for all manner of coffee and goodies. A personal favorite of mine is their home made soup served with home made bread out of the oven at lunch time.


    Ritzy it aint but you get a great view of this.

    Follow the A2 down the coast and turn right at the Quarter road and ride to the Silent Valley Reservoir.

    Great views of the Mountains from all along here, this is Slieve Binnian.

    From here turn right and follow the road on past Attical and on to the Spelga pass, where you have good views across the dam over South Down.

    Continue on to Bryansford and turn left on the A50 to Castlewellan. If you’ve got the time visit the forest park with great views over the Mournes.

    Halfway between Castlewellan and Annsborough turn left and enjoy the turns and twists to Spa and on to Ballynahinch on the B 175. Turn left and travel through Ballynahinch towards Carryduff and take a right on the A24 to Saintfield, Ballygowan, Comber and eventually return to Newtownards.

    This run including coffee stop can easily be done in a morning. It affords beautiful views and shows some of the best scenery in County Down

  4. #4
    Gone Fishin' Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Norn Iron

    In the absence of a response from anyone from the Independent Republic of Donegal, I would suggest a route beginning in Stroke City. (Derry/Londonderry, for the politically correct.) Depending on time available, take in the Inishowen 100

    The Inishowen 100
    up to Malin Head, which is Ireland’s most northerly point.

    From here, go to Carndonagh, Buncrana and back on to the N 13 to Letterkenny.

    Thence go North towards Dunfanaghy on N56. An interesting GS road with spectacular views of Sheephaven Bay can be found by taking a right on to the road signposted for Lough Salt just through Kilmacrennan which drops you down to Glen village (have a pint in Mary’s bar in the village!) Then left in Glen to Lackagh Bridge, a nice photo-opportunity and thus towards Creeslough and Dunfanaghy

    Doe Castle

    Doe Castle is worth a short detour, not far from Lackagh Bridge. Some good B&Bs in Dunfanaghy, the best being Rosman House:

    Rosman House

    or The Whins:

    Arnold’s Hotel offers good accommodation, pub grub or an evening meal:

    Arnolds Hotel

    Next stop should definitely be Glenveagh National Park, which is spectacular.

    Glenveagh National Park

    There’s an entrance fee. You can park at the Visitor’s Centre and get a free minibus up to the castle where they do cream teas etc and a tour of the interior of the castle.

    Turn left when exiting the Park on to the R 251 and head for Gweedore via Errigal Mountain and the Poisoned Glen.

    Stop for a pic overlooking Dunlewy Lough. There’s a hostel in Dunlewy, cheap and cheerful. Join the N56 to Dungloe, and watch for the vicious left-hander outside Lough Anure.

    Lots of B&Bs in Dungloe, or you might prefer to make the short trip to Burtonport, a small fishing village with great seafood restaurants and a ferry across to Aran Island (you can bring the bike, but there’s only one road on the island!)

    Excellent road (N56 again) south from Dungloe to Ardara, a couple of miles of never-ending twisties between Lettermacward and Glenties. For a spectacular view, but really crap road surface, head up through the Glengesh Pass

    outside Ardara, which drops you down into Carrick, and you follow the signs to Donegal town where there’s lots to see and do, places to stay and to eat. Visit the Donegal Tweed shop and get a natty hat!

    An interesting detour is to ride around Lough Eske (take the N15 out of Donegal and look for the sign to the left about 2/3 miles outside town) and there are some stunning views along this road. Harvey’s Point is a swanky hotel on the route which does excellent coffee and scones).

    Before you leave Co. Donegal, you might fancy a thrash around Lower Lough Erne. To do this, head south from Donegal Town on the N15, follow the signs for Enniskillen in Ballyshannon, cross the Border at Belleek (straight on here) and ride the A46 to Enniskillen. At the roundabout in the centre of the town, take the A32 then A47 to Kesh and Belleek once again. Cafes in Kesh, as well as the Lough Erne Hotel for good pub grub. Belleek has the famous pottery, and guided tours are available:

    Belleek Pottery's official website

    In Belleek, to keep off the main roads, head for Garrison (B52) and Manorhamilton (R282) where you join the N16 to Sligo. Stop for a pic at Glencar Lake, or if there’s time, follow the signs for Glencar Waterfall, even more scenic and made famous by WB Yeats in his poem ‘The Stolen Child’

    There’s a great series of twisties from Glencar down into Sligo. At the end of this road, you’ll see signs for Rosses Point where there are lots of good B&Bs, restaurants

  5. #5
    Gone Fishin' Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Norn Iron

    I know Co Mayo mostly from an angler’s point of view, but it has much to commend it to the GSer. Suggest taking the N59 to Ballina at Ballisodare, off the main N4 south of Sligo, to get you started. Gets a bit boring after a while, so take a right on to the R297 at Dromore West – real GS road, stone walls, tiny fields worked by hand and occasional sheep wandering about.

    Stop in Ballina, good B&Bs, restaurants and pubs. Have a look at the Ridge Pool on the River Moy right in the middle of the town, – wall to wall salmon splashing around and invariably, several frustrated anglers! Several pubs beside the bridge are great craic and you will be bored to tears by fishermen’s tales of the one that got away!

    A nice run from Ballina is to take the N26 south to Foxford, then the R318 to Pontoon (Healy’s Hotel is quaint and does good coffee) Then R315 north to Crossmolina, keep straight on towards Ballycastle, Glenamoy and Belmullet. Here, you’re about as far west as it’s possible to get in Europe, next parish is Boston, Mass! Head back to Bangor Erris which boasts a chippy called The Sizzler and several good pubs, the best of which is known locally as TJ’s and is the last one on the right as you leave the village – great pub grub. At Bangor, take the N59 across the moors down to Newport and on to Westport. Westport is touristy but will have most things you need including petrol, B&Bs and a huge choice of restaurants. Take your pick, they’re mostly all pretty good.

    From Westport, I’d suggest the R335 to Louisburgh, great road along the coast and spectacular views of Croagh Patrick Mountain,) if it isn’t a cloudy day!) from the top of which St. Patrick banished all snakes from Ireland, apparently.

    Follow the R335 through Delphi Pass, one of the most scenic roads in Co. Mayo. If you’re going back to Westport, there’s a wee road to the left signed ‘Scenic Route’ at the bottom end of Doolough (the big lake on your route) and it sure lives up to its name! Only for a GS, mind.

    Otherwise, keep straight on towards Leenaun (sometimes spelt Leenane) which takes you past Aasleagh Falls on the Erriff River and definitely worth a stop and a pic.

    Leenane is a wide spot in the road but has a couple of pubs (Hamilton’s is best) and a chippy.This area was where the film ‘The Field’ with Richard Harris was shot.

    From Leenane, continue on the N59 towards Kylemore which is another must for a photo. Good B&B at the top of the lough (Kylemore House), pretty situation and good breakfasts:

    N59 takes you into Clifden which is touristy but has some good restaurants (the Chinese one is surprisingly good!)

    Go N59 again towards Galway and if you’ve time, take a left in Recess and ride the R334 along Lough Inagh back towards Kylemore – absolutely spectacular views.

    The Inagh Vally Lodge (in the centre of the pic) does excellent bar food and one of the best steaks in Ireland. This road will rejoin the N59 again at Kylemore, or you can turn and ride it back to Recess, assuming you’re heading for Galway. If the main road gets a bit boring, turn left in Maam Cross onto the R338 to Maam, along the shores of Lough Corrib, then the R345 to Cong:,_County_Mayo

    where John Wayne’s film The Quiet Man was made. Follow the road signs for Headford and then to Galway (N84).

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    W. Ireland


    turn left in Maam Cross onto the R338 to Maam, into Joe Keane's @ Maam Bridge for a toasted brown bread cheese, or ham, or cheese & ham! etc. + a pot of tay or pt. o porter, sit in the bay window & admire the scenery & ponder WTF life is about.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Cork, Ireland


    For anyone thinking of doing some touring in Cork/ Kerry I would recommend a book called "Motorcycle Tours in the south of Ireland" published by mercier press ISBN1-85635-493-8. Authors Patrick Nordstrom and Barth Buckley. The routes are interesting and well described, the only small criticism is that there is no total mileage given for each route so you can guage how many hours you need to complete it ( usefull if you are not from the south). Overall a good read and I've driven a few of the routes with no complaints.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Somewhere on a desert highway
    Sorry about the lack of photos folks, but here is a report (for what its worth) on a trip I took around the Beara Peninsula a couple of years ago while RT mounted. I know, I know, not a GS in sight, but the run is worth doing on any bike. If anyone fancies doing the run and needs road numbers, directions etc, let me know and I will do my best to supply them. Hope you don't get too bored by the end.

    The Beara Necessities

    You wake in the morning and instantly realise that it is Saturday because it was not an irritating ringing or beeping that roused you from your slumber, but instead the gradual return to consciousness that only comes from a sufficient quantity of REM sleep. You are pleasantly warmed by the summer sun shining through and lulled by the sound of unhurried waves lapping playfully on a pebble beach not ten feet from your canvas walls (O.K. nylon walls but you know what I mean ). You open the tent flap and the gleaming, muscular beast propped outside beckons, enticing you to come and play.

    Get the picture? Well that was the scene at Eagle Point Campsite, Ballylickey, West Cork last week. Where else would you go to play, but the Beara Peninsula. So that’s what we did. I, astride my R1150 RT accompanied by Antoinette, John Keyes and Anna from Dublin, on their K1200 LT and John Donegan, Kilkenny on his K100 RS turned left out of the campsite and headed into Glengarriff for the start of the days adventure.

    One of the beauties of the Ring of Beara is that it is primarily coast road and therefore, from a biking perspective is almost heaven sent with its mile after mile of bends. Short straights leading into big sweeping bends, left, right, left combination bends, double apex bends, combination lefts and combination rights that if taken correctly can be treated as one bend, off camber, bad camber, no camber bends. It doesn’t matter, though, they all just added to the enjoyment of a days sun soaked riding.

    From Glengarriff you sweep down through Trafask and Adrigole on a good, wide coast road and through Curryglass into Castletownbere. This is a lovely little fishing town sheltered from the Atlantic by Bere Island. With its nice little harbour and colourful shops it is an ideal place for a refreshment stop especially if you have an interest in commercial fishing, with a number of expensive looking trawlers tied up along the harbour wall. We decide however to press on. There are more bends whispering to us.

    As we continue along the Ring, the roads become progressively more narrow and challenging and the LT is starting to complain a bit. John is a bit worried about the occasional sound of metal meeting tarmac. Given the cost of the bike, I don’t blame him.

    We stop at a viewing point about two miles from and a couple of hundred feet above Allihies and admire the beauty of the town nestled above a curving stretch of golden sand. It’s one of those situations where it would be almost a crime not to stop in the town with its echoes of a rural Ireland long gone so, rather than risk a conviction by the aesthetics police, we stop and feast on freshly made scones and jam. There was almost a set-to at the table over who was going to get what jam. It was all very childish, but I just refused to hand over the raspberry jam, so there.

    Refreshed, we decided to backtrack a bit and visit the Durris cable car. Upon arrival, we managed to convince ourselves that, judging by the condition of the “Rubbish skip attached to a couple of bits of dodgy looking wire”, it was no longer operating. Oh how wrong can you be. Apparently it carries up to six people or one cow over and back to the island a number of times a day. We arrived during the operators lunch break. We slipped away quietly while no one was looking for fear that we might end up taking the trip. Give me bungie-jumping any time.

    Back into Allihies and on into Eyeries and Ardgroom. These roads were made by a motorcycling God with a sense of humour. The bushes on either side of the road are brushing your mirrors and you still need to get past the occasional tractor or foreign registered Audi who thinks it must be one-way, i.e. his way. You are driving down one section of road towards a whitewashed wall with no clue of where, or indeed if the road goes on. It is as if you are driving into some farmers farmyard, but no, the road dives right, along the wall and pitches you up onto the top of a cliff. The vista opens up in front of your eyes and you are left spellbound by the turquoise bay two hundred feet below you, lined with apparently meticulous ranks of mussel lines suspended on buoys beneath an azure blue sky. You need to be careful that the spell wears off quickly however, or you could find yourself sailing over the two hundred foot drop, as the road tries to dive away from underneath you on its never ending rodeo.

    From Ardgroom we head towards Kenmare, until just short of Lauragh, we turn right and shortly left down the side of the Síbín for the highlight of the run, the Healy Pass. The first time I encountered the Healy Pass I was riding an R65 and was amazed in equal parts by the road itself, the handling of the little bike and the fact that I was still in one piece when I reached the bottom. I have taken every bike I have owned since down this Pass and the 1150 RT didn’t let me down. It handled all the switchbacks with a consummate ease and demonstrated to all the bewildered looking Moto-Guzzi owners parked at the viewing point at the top, just how a properly made European bike can handle.

    Back to the campsite through Glengarriff and via Bantry for a quick refreshment stop, a glass of Guinness for the adults and a Coke and an ice cream for the child ( er, me ). A most enjoyable day. And I must say to all these chaps trumpeting about there Boreen Runs while GS mounted, try some of these roads on autobahn stormers and then talk to me about challenging rides.

    Notes from “Life on the Hard Shoulder”


  9. #9
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Allihies again.. but off to Asia soon....
    Just one mistake its the Dursey Island cable car not Durris.
    Nice write up but would not stay in that campsite myself. Much better to stay in the Allihies Campsite.
    The stuff folklore is made of.
    Keep it Fluffy...
    Looking for a bike..
    check out my way of life

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Somewhere on a desert highway

    Due to head back down that direction in August. Why do you rate the Allihies Campsite over Eagle Point. I've never tried Allihies, but I reckon Eagle Point is one of the best campsites I have ever been on, good flat stone free pitches, clean shower blocks, never ending supply of hot water (not something you get at all campsites amazingly enough), well run, quiet at night, shop at the entrance, pubs within walking distance, bikes usually welcome.

    Wouldn't mind trying a new site if its worth it though. Let me know what you think and of course, fess up, any connection with the site?

  11. #11
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Allihies again.. but off to Asia soon....
    Hi, I have no connection to the site but do know the owwer. My reply is that Allihies is a far nicer place to be than Ballylickey.

    I believe most people make a huge mistake when touring around here as they base themselves at the beginning of the peninsula rather than the end. They end up staying in biggish towns like Skibereen, Bantry, Kenmare etc. These are nice towns and I like to visit them. But traveling around here the closer you get to the end of a peninsula the nicer it gets.
    Allihies is a great little village which is dead most of the time, and we like it like that. However over the two months of holidays it gets busy and the three small pubs are full of people from all over the place. Great music and fun can be had.
    Allihies campsite is not at all like Eagle point and I would not like you to think that it was. It is however a cool place to hang around. I even know a couple from the village who stay there for there holidays. (Thats 1 mile from their house)
    So if I were touring around here I would recommend camping at Crookhaven, Allihies and Valencia island. And if you need a bit of comfort call into Eagle campsite too.
    Cheers, if you come this summer call in to say hello I can oogle yer bike as I no longer have one
    Keep it Fluffy...
    Looking for a bike..
    check out my way of life

  12. #12
    Subscriber Click here to find out how to Subscribe
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Northumberland, England

    West Cork, the Beara peninsula and Sheep's Head peninsula in particular are fabulous and not nearly as developed touristically as the Ring of Kerry. See Joe's images.

    Found a great B&B run by Dieter and Marie in Ardgroom. It's near the centre and signposted from the village.

    Priest's Leap and great biking just south of Kilgarvan nearby.
    We should learn from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism. [/I]

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Co Kerry
    Just new to the forum, probably ridden most of the routes listed, but one close to my home on the Iveragh Peninsula (host to the infamous Ring of Kerry) is from Waterville take the road to Glencar (by the big church) proceed through Ballagh Oisin Pass then down towards Glencar. At a cross roads you can fork right towards Ballagh Beama and on towards Blackwater and Sneem or Killarney, or fork left towards Beaufort and eventually Killarney. These roads take you through the MacGillicuddy Reeks (which include Carrauntoohil - Irelands highest mountain) and are fabulous, unused and absolutely perfect biking roads. And just a stones throw from the ubiquitous Ring of Kerry....

  14. #14

    East / South East Down

    The North East coast of Northern Ireland has excellent coverage above and there's also some coverage of the South East coast area. Within the County Down area, all around Strangford Lough can be highly recommended. I have some video of the shore road around Portaferry and links to photos of St Patrick's country and the Lecale, on across the Strangford Narrows, on this page here.
    Whoops! Sorry for the non-BMW pic!
    (But it is an air-cooled twin)

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Newtownards, Co Down
    Quote Originally Posted by belfastguzzi View Post
    Within the County Down area, all around Strangford Lough can be highly recommended.
    I quite agree but living here in Newtownards and having traversed most if not all the roads in and around the peninsula at quite a few times throughout the year the roads are quite bad, too often with farmers muck and a high concentration of Sunday drivers etc, which tends not to enhance your motorcycling memories. That combined with the fact that southern region traffic branch seem to have a greater presence in this area than even the Antrim coast road again does little to encourage a visit.

    All negative I know but when all's said and done it is a great part of the coastline and if like me you like the odd bit of camera work, photographic opportunities are plentiful, especially wildlife.


  16. #16
    Irish Motorcycle Adventures
    A five minute video showing a bike trip through Donegal. Featuring the Inishowen Peninsula, Glenveagh National Park, The Rosses etc. Great Biking roads.

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