Ballyshannon Cycle Hub
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Ballyshannon, Donegal, Donegal, Republic of Ireland
Ballyshannon in County Donegal is the oldest town in Ireland and is steeped in history. Today Ballyshannon is a vibrant town, the gateway to County Donegal, which makes the town an ideal base from which to tour the county.
Ballyshannon is part of the long distance North West Cycle Trail which goes through the counties of Donegal, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Leitrim & Sligo. This 326km route travels through a wide variety of scenic landscapes along quiet country roads & through rural towns & villages with traffic free sections in urban areas.
The below shorter looped cycle routes will take you on a tour of the spectacular coastal scenery of Ballyshannon and Bundoran in County Donegal. The iconic Ben Bulben Mountain frames the scene to the south. There are miles of cliffs and sandy beaches to explore including a beach to cycle on at Rossnowlagh. Cyclists will also experience the less well known haunts of the region, cycling inland to wooded hills and scenic lakes.
Route 1: 39km approx. 2½ hours
Route 1 will first take cyclists to Assaroe Lake. A short but steep climb past the impressive hydroelectric dam leads to a leisurely spin along the shores of the lake. The road meanders across causeways and lake islands until the waters narrow to the River Erne. Another steep climb through a landscape of forests leads onto a plateau of high ground near the village of Cashelard. Descending to the seaside town of Rossnowlagh, cyclists will cycle the length of the beach. Along the way back to Ballyshannon are spectacular views from Creevy headland, and the waterwheel and Irelands oldest bridge at Abbey Mill.
Route 2: 36km approx. 2½ hours
Route 2 is a trip south to Bundoran with its surfing and seaside amusements. A climb out of the town leads to a ridge of high ground where cyclists are rewarded with fine views to Lough Melvin and beyond. Riding on through small hills and forests they will barely notice crossing the border into Northern Ireland, until they arrive at the quaint town of Belleek, home to the famous pottery. Stop for well earned refreshments (the euro is as welcome as sterling) before an easy and mostly downhill return to Ballyshannon along the picturesque Erne waterway.