AN IR­ISH DE­LIGHT

At­lantic Way has lots to of­fer

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - by Ali­son Sil­cox

The Wild At­lantic Way is an epic, 1500-mile coastal route that de­vours six re­gions of Ire­land, each with their own char­ac­ter and dra­matic, beau­ti­ful scenery. The route fol­lows a cir­cu­lar path from the bustling town of Kil­lar­ney, which dou­bles up as a great base to ex­plore this stun­ning part of the coun­try.

From Kil­lar­ney take the tree-lined N71, part of the fa­mous Ring of Kerry, south-west out of the town, through the cen­tre of Kil­lar­ney Na­tional Park and start to climb. Cut into the moun­tain-side, the road is nar­row and hugs tightly to the rock face. At one of many des­ig­nated view­ing spots, Ladies View, take a mo­ment to park up and ad­mire the val­ley be­low.

The road nar­rows fur­ther and there’s a dra­matic arch cut into the rock face that’s well sign­posted – but can catch you out as it’s round a sharp bend with on­com­ing traf­fic in the mid­dle of the car­riage­way. At Moll’s Gap, an­other stun­ning view­ing point, course through the moun­tains, the road widens as you head to­wards Ken­mare.

Make sure you’re fully fu­elled up as the route be­comes more iso­lated once you pick up the signed ‘Wild At­lantic Way’ to­wards the Ring of Beara. Over the River Ken­mare turn im­me­di­ately right onto the R571.

With the river to the right and moun­tains on the left it’s a lovely stretch of flat, sweep­ing bends. You soon start to climb again and the sweep­ers make way for tighter turns. There’s a smat­ter­ing of ham­lets along the route and var­i­ous cafes with plenty of park­ing.

At Faunkill fol­low the Ring of Beara signs, turn right onto the L4910, which be­comes a sin­gle track road. Strewn with gravel and at points with grass grow­ing down the cen­tre it will make for slow progress. With ev­ery twist and turn you’re re­warded with dra­matic views. It’s not a busy stretch but take care, there are few pass­ing places and at points the road drops away.

The cir­cu­lar route is well sign­posted and re­turns to the small vil­lage of Ard­grooom where you can turn left to re­trace the R571 back to Ken­mare. Skirt round the cen­tre of town and take a right turn onto the R569 to­wards Kil­gav­ern. The road is wider with sweep­ing bends through farm­land, there’s op­por­tu­nity to make swift progress. At the com­i­cally named Loo Bridge con­tinue to the junc­tion with the N22 and head left to Kil­lar­ney for the fi­nal ten-mile stretch.

The 100-mile route takes about three hours but keep the whole day free. At all points along the route you can fol­low brown tourist signs to­wards other beauty spots, it’s easy to cover lots of miles, lose hours and get side­tracked… but it’s well worth it. ■ Bike­fest Ire­land, p47

‘With ev­ery twist and turn you’re re­warded with dra­matic views’

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