2 - Sunday
Options: A 25 Miles, B 34 Miles, C 52 miles,
The Merriman Hotel, Kinvarra
you experience one of the fundamental advantages of our tour. This
is where our ability to move the entire group, bikes and luggage
to a remote starting point comes into play. Bikes are loaded the
evening before so no delay on Sunday morning. Once we arrive at
the start point (village of Crusheen) it takes us less than 3 minutes
to get every bike on the road and ready to go thanks to the Thule
snap release bike racks. Toilet facilities are available before
we hit the road as well as a small but very well stocked convenience
store in the village.
of which distance option you choose you will be able to enjoy
lunch in an old British Police station (called an R.I.C. Barracks)
in the village of Carran. You will find yourself in the picturesque
village of Kinvarra this evening. Home to one of the finest example
of Norman tower house and one of the pettiest harbours along the
West coast of Ireland.
transfer only takes about 35minutes in the buses. We are anxious
to get you into the Burren National Park as early as possible in
the tour. Within 20 minutes of commencing to cycle you will find
the scenery beginning to change very dramatically. You begin to
notice some rocky areas to begin but steadily the limestone pavement
begins to dominate the landscape. The word “Burren”
comes from an Irish word “Boíreann” meaning a
rocky place. This is an extremely appropriate name when you consider
the lack of soil cover and the extent of exposed Limestone Pavement.
However it has been referred to in the past as “Fertile rock”
due to the mixture of nutrient rich herb and floral species. Smashing
roads to ride today. Very quiet and a good road surface.
1651 a Cromwellian Army Officer named Ludlow remarked, “of
this barony it is said that it is a country where there is not water
enough to drown a man, wood enough to hang one, nor earth enough
to bury them. This last is so scarce that the inhabitants steal
it from one another and yet their cattle are very fat. The grass
grows in tufts of earth of two or three foot square which lies between
the limestone rocks and is very sweet and nourishing.”
Burren region is internationally famous for its landscape and flora.
A visit to the Burren during the summer months will leave a person
amazed by the colorful diversity of flowering plants living together
within the one ecosystem. Arctic-alpine plants living side by side
with Mediterranean plants, calcicole (lime loving) and calcifuge
(acid loving) plants growing adjacent to one another and woodland
plants growing out in the open with not a tree nearby to provide
shade from the sun. Also found here are certain species which although
rare elsewhere are abundant in the Burren. Even more amazingly they
all survive in a land that appears to be composed entirely of rock.
The highest point in the park is Knockanes (207 metres) which continues
as a curving terraced ridge to Mullaghmór to the south. East
of this ridge is an area of extensive, low lying limestone pavement
containing a number of semi-permanent lakes. West of this ridge
the pavement sweeps down to partially drift-covered ground which
gradually rises again to reach the foot of a rocky escarpment. To
the south of the park the limestone bedrock disappears under a layer
of glacial till. This till area is far more intensively managed
for pasture and silage.
7th century saint, Saint Coleman, son of Duagh, established a
monastery (Killmacduagh) in AD 610 on land given him by his cousin
King Guaire. According to legend, Saint Coleman MacDuagh was walking
through the woods of the Burren when his girdle fell to the ground.
Taking this as a sign, he built his monastery on this spot. The
girdle was said to be studded with gems and was held by the O'Shaughnessys
centuries later, along with St. Coleman's crosier, or staff. The
girdle was later lost, but the crosier came to be held by the
O'Heynes and may now be seen in the National Museum of Ireland.
You will visit Killmacduagh this evening shortly after lunch.
will have a group dinner in the Merriman Hotel around 7.00PM this
evening. Many of the local pubs in Kinvarra village provide traditional
Irish music. Kinvarra is a smashing little village to stroll around
after dinner. Take a walk down by the harbour and check out some
of the old fishing boats and chat the fishermen.