Cycling to Ballina and back out to the coast the route is relatively flat. Worth noting once through Killala there are no more towns or notable stores for another 70km where a petrol station and shop appears several km ahead of Bunnahowen. After passing through Bangor and Ballycroy you reach the turn-off to do a 86km diversion of a loop of Achill Island.
Joined to the mainland by a bridge, Achill is Ireland’s largest island. Achill has mountains and beautiful coastline. Expect a few climbs. It gets a fair share of rain and wind too, and from my experience the weather changes quickly here (as it seems to do generally on the west coast).
The route loops back over itself on Achill Island so be sure to pay close attention when the route makes a turn.
Soon after leaving Achill at Mallaranny, the route diverts up away from the main road and onto a greenway. After negotiating the numerous sheep and cattlegrids there is opportunity to relax and enjoy the traffic-free route, before passing through Newport and the town of Westport.
You then head bak to the coast with Ireland’s holiest mountain (pilgrimmages have been made here since the Stone Age), Croagh Patrick on your left. Ireland’s patron saint, Saint Patrick, is said to have fasted for forty days here in 441 AD.
Cycling alongside the loughs later allows you to appreciate the scenery whilst making some easy miles.