Featured ride: Ring of Clare
Take a ride on the Wild side in the Banner County next month with the Skoda Ring of Clare.
The popular sportive is among the largest cycling events along the Wild Atlantic Way, attracting over 2,500 cyclists.
The event takes place on Saturday, July 16 starting in Ennis with the choice of 160km and 120km routes. The stunning routes will take riders over Mount Callan in the direction of the Clare coastline and along the Wild Atlantic Way.
Cyclists are brought along the Loop Head Peninsula before turning for home along the Shannon Estuary Way. Since the event started in 2016, it has sold out each year, along with its sister event in Connemara.
The longer event starts at 9.0am from Clarecastle GAA club. Cyclists take the route to Kilmaley and over the gradual climb of Mount Callan, known locally as The Hand. From there the stunning Clare coastline opens up in front of riders as they make their way by Miltown Malbay, Quilty to the first feed station in Doonbeg
The epic scenery of the Loop Head Peninsula lies ahead as cyclists make their way past Kilkee and along Dunlicky Cliffs. This has become the unofficial photo point for many cyclists, stopping to take in the dramatic coastal-road views before they continue to Carraigholt and onto the next feed station in Kilrush.
The homeword leg is along the Shannon Estuary bringing riders through villages such as Knock and Kildysart. A well-earned medal and BBQ pit is waiting back at Clarecastle GAA at the event finish. The 120km event follows a similar route to the 160km event; however, after Quilty cyclists keep going straight on towards the Kilrush feed station and into the beautiful village of Cappagh, overlooking Scattery island. The final leg of the event is shared with the cyclists on the longer route returning along the Shannon Estuary Way.
The event is part of the Skoda Celtic Cycle Series and as well as the post-ride BBQ pit, a special gift, a post-event massage and photo podium are all part of the special experience.
Cyclists will also have access to their own personal images package from the day with pictures taken across various places along the two routes. This year the event jersey for early registrations will also carry the HPV Vaccine logo in support the continued awareness of the benefits of early vaccination, supported by the family of the late Laura Brennan of Ennis.
This year the event will coincide with Ennis hosting the Junior Tour of Ireland stage race. Cyclists participating in the Ring of Clare Cycle will have the opportunity to see the next generation of talent on the Friday and Sunday of an epic weekend in the Banner County
Ennis will also be alive with the Clare Food Fleadh with loads of entertainment in the locals bars and traditional music sessions as part of the food fleadh programme.
It is estimated that 4,000 visitors will descend on Clare for the cycling event between participants and family and friends ensuring a festival atmosphere in the county.
Parking for the event is in the grounds of Clarecastle GAA club and event sign on takes place at Al Hayes Skoda garage on the night before and in Clarecastle on the morning of the event.
Registration will close on July 4 or when the event capacity is reached.
For more information visit www.ringofclare.ie