Whilst The Lodge at Ashford Castle is closed, General Manager Peter Fergus has been busy cycling around the Ashford Estate, uncovering new routes and discovering a renewed passion for the spectacular countryside that we are so fortunate to call home. When restrictions have lifted, try out the below cycle routes and explore the wonderful estate.

'Cycling has always been a great way for me to get out in the fresh air and explore. The ability to see what’s around you is greatly increased compared to a car, and it gives me time to think things over and set a plan for my day on the cycle into work. This has been a great advantage to me during these challenging times, and then the spin home is also a great way to wind down.'

'As you cycle through the estate you can’t help but be amazed by your surroundings and impressed by the vision of the families who originally developed the estate to such a beautiful existence. Their vision has long surpassed their very own life span and has left a legacy of something very special that will in turn outlive ours. It is a magical gift from history, the footprint that has been left on the Ashford Estate by the Bingham, Browne and Guinness families (to mention only a few) and we are so lucky that Red Carnation Hotels and the Tollman family are prepared to carry on this legacy with such passion and care.' 
'We live in such an amazing location - once you have cycled the castle garden loop, we have the great Joyce Country and western lakes on our doorstep, the gateway to Connemara National Park. You can sneak out the back gate of the Ashford Castle Estate on to a quiet little road that takes you over to Cornamona and the northern shore of Lough Corrib, which has beautiful views across the lake of the Connemara mountains and continues over into the Maam Valley.'

'I have a choice of two amazing routes. The first is 35km, with 375m of climbing and loops from Lough Corrib over the Conach Breac hill to the shores of Lough Mask and into Clonbur. It takes about  1½ to 2 hours. The second route is longer at 58km, with 600m of climbing and about 2 - 3 hours in the saddle. It’s not for the fainthearted but is a very scenic spin that takes in the north shores of Lough Corrib over Aill Dubh and along Lough Nafooey, across the foothills of Mauntrasna and then back into Clonbur for a coffee stop, or even a beer in Burkes or Eddies.'
'There are so many beautiful places to stop. A packed lunch is unbeatable along the shores of Lough Corrib, or you could really earn your lunch and head for the beach at the west end of Lough Nafooey after cycling up Aill DubhJoyce Country Wool and the Joyce Country sheepdog trials are both side by side, with an amazing view over Lough Nafooey.'

'The geography of the area is very special and currently, the Joyce Country and Western Lakes Geopark project team are striving to be listed as a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2023. The work that has gone into this is phenomenal and we are so lucky to have this on our doorstep.'