On Sat, June 21, in the west of Ireland, yet another town that is catching bicycle fever, Castlebar, will be showing itself off for all the bicycle world to see. As the county seat for Mayo County (the Irish call it County Mayo) Castlebar is also the county’s largest town as well as its regional trading center. A tiny but mighty mini-municipality of 10,000 people, much of its infrastructure is being rebuilt for a new kind of traffic – the throngs of cyclists that will be coming to it for and from Europe’s top greenway system, the Great Western Greenway. Already a huge success closer to the Atlantic Ocean where it originates, the GWG has revitalised the small towns of Newport <reviewed by NBG>, which bills itself as the Heart of the Greenway, Westport, Multaney and Achill. Not only have these small population centers been greatly re-energized by the GWG, but all the car roads that connect them have been rebuilt too.
Here now as the GWG gets ready to rock Castlebar, we are teaming up with a number of the local merchants to show cyclists what makes Castlebar so worthy. With the help of Atlantis Ireland and Heneghan’s Health Foods, a store run by the town’s former Mayor, we’ll soon be showing you the battlefields and historical buildings that played a part in Ireland’s many struggles against English rule. On our tour, you will also see its storybook mall that is borderrd by the old hotel where Irish revolutionaries met to draw up the laws that would make it possible for the Irish to own their own homes, farms and land. The history of Castlebar is rich and varied and our docent will help us enjoy all the other sights we are taking in as we roll along making occasional stops on our 2-3 hour tour.
Merchants along the way will serve energy food and drink and we will also bike around what figures to soon become the crown jewel in the epic GWG empire, Lake Lannagh <reviewed by NBG>. Set at one end,with a view of Croagh Patrick, the same peak Charles Lindbergh used to sight land when he became the first to solo the Atlantic in 1927, and the Castlebar skyline above the green hills at the other, a bike ride around the peaceful waters feels like one has died and gone to bicycle heaven. Even the organic, home baked food that can be enjoyed at the Greenway Cafe, a part of the resort paradise that borders part of the lake, aptly called Lake Lannagh Holiday Village, will affirm that one is entering another world when he arrives in this part of the Greenway system.
No matter where you are located, Dublin, the UK or the USA, if you want to see how bicycles have revitalised a region, look no further than the hometown of cyclist and Irish Prime Minister, Enda Kenny <visit with NBG>, Castlebar. See it up close and personal on Saturday June 21.
THX 4 all of U!!