'Trailing miles behind Europe'
Having just arrived back to Ireland for a short visit, I noted the piece in Tuesday's Farming Independent (June 26) by Mary Stack of Failte Ireland in response to an article by your tourism writer John Mulligan.
I thought that John Mulligan had it right; Ireland has the potential for a great cycling holiday, but looks like that is all it will have: potential.
How do I know that? Well, a few years back I naively brought a group of 11 continental friends on a four-day cycling trip to Ireland. We survived. Just.
There are no long off-road cycle trails in Ireland with a purpose, despite the fact that the canal banks and disused rail lines could be cheaply converted to simple cycle tracks to create a network that would make for a wonderful holiday.
Travelling from A to B is the essence of travel. Nobody is going to spend a week or two cycling up and down the 40km Mayo Greenway like a touring gerbil. It would pass a morning at the leisurely pace of 12-14kph.
On the other hand, if we had a cycle network, we could start to compete against (and beat) European countries that have these facilities as standard.
Ms Stack seems to think that anyone spending more than a day cycling or walking is "hardcore" and must have a high fitness level.