A very nice evening resulted in the decision to cycle around Lough Gill and enjoy the Sligo /Leitrim scenery.
With a slight breeze in the back, Dromahair was quickly reached. The actual Lough Gill loop is a 40 km cycle, but with the additional route from my house, it would be a 52 km cycle. From Dromahair, I took the R288 towards Sligo which at a later stage turns into the R286.
After a few kilometers, you reach a viewpoint which gives you fantastic views across Lough Gill and towards the Lake Isle of Innisfree (the retreat wished for in William Butler Yeats Yeats’ poem ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’.)
The first test then follows swiftly afterwards which is a short but steep climb away from the lake. After this climb, you drop back towards the lake where the majestic Parkes Castle makes an appearance.
The castle was once the home of Robert Parke and his family. The Courtyard grounds contain evidence of an earlier 16th century Tower House structure once owned by Sir Brian O'Rourke who subsequently was executed at Tyburn, London in 1591. The Castle has been restored using Irish oak and traditional craftsmenship.
After passing the castle, the road continuous to follow the lake shore until the second climb of the day is reached nearby Tully. After this climb the road meanders between lush fields and the view of Colgagh Lough is spectacular from the viewpoint.
After a few further kilometers which are mainly downhill, Sligo town is reached. After cycling through the town and crossing the Garavogue river, take a sharp left towards Cleveragh Park. The Cleveragh area has been turned into an amenities area with outdoor gym equipment, a playground, resting areas and nice flower beds.
Here, the road will test your legs once more by dropping and rising a few times until the Holy Well is reached.
After the Holy well, turn onto the R287 towards Dromahair again. After a while, the road passed through Dooney Rock and then Slish Wood. Again, yesterday evening, a lot of people were out and about on their bikes and walks.
Both Dooney Rock and Slish Wood have marked Coillte Trails with the top of Dooney Rock offering a spectacular view of the lake.
I finally reached Dromahair again and headed home after a nice evening cycle of 2 hours.