Clonmacnoise Cycle Loop Directions
0 to 10km
When you leave the train station turn left (east) and then turn left at the t-junction with the main road around the corner. Go straight through a crossroads on to Grace Park Road, passing a car park on your right. After 500m you reach a t-junction. Go right.
Soon you take the second left, at a very small roundabout, on to Castlemaine Street. Keep straight on this for 2.8km through several roundabouts as it becomes the Dublin Road. You will reach the large roundabout at the N62. Take the third exit, marked Dublin. The fourth leads into a hotel and garage complex.
The N62 is the only option to travel to Clonmacnoise on this side of the river. There is a good shoulder on this section [5km marker]. Take the third right (at a wide junction) after the large roundabout, marked Clonmacnoise.
The next section to Ballinahown includes some narrow and unpleasant stretches, but the whole distance is only 6.2km, and from then on there are no more main roads.
10 – 20km
In the village of Ballinahown the road bends left and at this point take the right turn. There is a sign for Clonmacnoise. Take the first right after 2.4km, a narrow road signed Bloomhill. This offers a quieter way to Clonmacnoise.
After the first corner the road forks. Take the left for Ballyduff [15km marker]. Keep straight on this road for 7.8km. This road goes up and down and past several small hills.
20 – 30km
You get closer to Clonmacnoise and then ride past the back of the complex. At the t-junction with the R244 turn right and the entrance to Clonmacnoise is at the next corner.
Continue on the R444 for 6.5km south [25km marker]. Turn right at the t-junction with the R357 to go through the town of Shannonbridge and across the bridge. There is a good viewpoint if you turn left just before the bridge.
30 – 40km
Continue on the R357 for 2.5km and then take the first right, signed Athlone and Moore [35km marker]. You pass through Moore after 5km. Continue for another 2.2km and take an unmarked right turn among a cluster of houses on the right side of the road. If you miss the turn, the road will immediately rise and cross the motorway, so turn around.
40 – 50km
After the road narrows, take a left at the first t-junction. Follow this until you reach a t-junction with the R446, where you turn right [45km marker]. Follow this for 4.7km until you reach a number of houses at Crannagh.
Take an extremely narrow road to the right. It’s the seventh right turn, wedged between two small bungalows. It bends left immediately. This is the Bog Road and offers a quiet run in to Athlone.
50 – 56km
When it reaches a t-junction, go left. Soon you see the suburbs of Athlone. When the road crosses the canal, go left immediately. You go along the canal to the next bridge. Go right at the roundabout here, and then [55km marker] left on the single lane Pearse Street 250m later. Keep straight and you will go past Athlone Castle and across the Shannon.
Take an immediate left and after 300m there is a small roundabout where the road forks. Go right and up the short hill to the train station.