Whilst down on a press-shoot for the Scenic Carlingford Ferry and with summer in full blast, albeit and rather strangely, in late May, it seemed like a prime opportunity to throw a couple of bikes in the the back of the trusty work transit and see if I could find a couple of hours to explore some new roads in and around Carlingford and Co Louth on two wheels.
The press photo was of Marathon Tours first crossing on the Scenic Carlingford Ferry. This is part of a new itinerary that takes in the splendor of the Mournes and surrounding areas. Arriving in Greencastle just in time to catch the midday crossing I had about 90 minutes to explore around Carlingford. I wasn’t too sure what to expect and didn’t know if it would be an afternoon on the 29er in and around Slieve Foye or a quick spin on the road bike. I decided to play safe and stick to the roads and stay in and around Carlingford and Greenore. The other reason for staying on the roads in and around Carlingford is that you’re closer to buns and traybakes!
Ideally I would have parked up in Greencastle and rolled onto the Ferry with the bike but I had camera gear I’d need on the far side. Thankfully it was no problem to drive over and park up in the Greenore terminal.
When on the crossing I chatted with a lady who grew up in Warrenpoint but now lives in Dublin. Upon hearing of the Scenic Carlingford Ferry and it’s route across the lough, her words were that this was on her “bucket list” and she just had to come and try it! I saw her driving off the ferry and she had a huge smile so I guess she enjoyed the crossing.
I had planned the previous night that I’d try to get a lap in around Slieve Foye but didn’t think I’d have time for that in the end. So I left Greenore and cruised along next to Greenore Golf Club, there is a little un-named road that cuts the corner off the R175/6, it’s the first right immediately after the course and follows it along whilst pinching the course in against the Carlingford Lough.
Don’t make the same mistake as me in thinking there is a greenway on the far side of the course – there isn’t, and despite it looking like an entrance to a greenway, the golfers who were teeing off at the 8th hole only confirmed that it wasn’t when I appeared at their tee box!
So backtracking across the golf course I headed towards the R176 and for Carlingford, a short 4 mile trip into town. I had heard that there were e-bikes available to rent in town and having never tried them I was keen to have a go if possible.
First though was a quick re-fuel. I’ve been to Carlingford socially before but it was on a stag party so it wasn’t coffee and traybakes – a cyclists fuel! I headed for Ruby-Ellen’s Tea Rooms which looked to best of a very good bunch. They very kindly let me put my bike in their storage yard and I settled into a toasted BLT and Caramel Square. Fueled up, now back on the bike.
Having to be back in Greenore for 2pm I headed back out of town but took the long way which would have been the start of my planned Slieve Foye loop – The R173 took me south out of Carlingford with Slieve Foye on my right hand side. 3 miles along the gently rolling R173 and back to the R175 which leads straight to the Ferry Terminal after another 4 miles or so. Open and wide roads, with great views.
So in the end, only a short 12 or so miles but definitely enjoyed enough to come back down and do the Slieve Foye loop and also try the “Long Woman’s Grave” climb which I was told about by a cyclist on the crossing. He was trying the ferry for the first time and based in Newry he was using it to complete the loop, down the Greencastle side and back up to Newry from Greenore.
During the press-shoot I received a message from E-Bikes Escapes. David, the owner, had an E-Bike for me to have a cruise on. So with the press-shoot finished I jumped in the van and scooted back up to Carlingford to have a rip on the E-Bike. I was pushed for time and this point so it was just a quick mile or so up and down the O’Meath Greenway which in itself was beautiful, the bike was a hoot and I’ll definitely be back for more of both the Greenway and the E-bike.