THE local economy will get a €300,000 boost this weekend as 2,000 cyclists take part in the An Post Tour de Burren.
This is the 11th year of the cycle, which is part of a national series of five cycles that take place from May to September.
“It’s all systems go here in Ballyvaughan for this year’s event. The event provides a great boost to the local economy of approximately €300,000 for the weekend. Accommodation in Ballyvaughan and surrounds has been booked for months now,” said joint organiser of the event, Patrick O’Donoghue, of the Burren Cycling Club.
Planning for the 2014 An Post Tour de Burren started last October according to John Sweeney of the Clare Sports Partnership.
“The initial stages are about meeting with the sponsors and other event organisers and an agreement reached on branding and so on for the 2014 series. Then there is the task of designing the routes and merchandise and then completing risk assessments, getting marshals etc,” he said.
There are four different routes on the day, including a 10km family route for families to get their children out cycling. The route takes in the Burren College of Art, where refreshments will be served. The cycle is supervised and well marshalled and registration is open on the day.
The 52km Burren Circuit is a favourite for the novice cyclist. The route leaves Ballyvaughan and takes in the Corkscrew Hill, Lisdoonvarna, Doolin and Fanore.
The 96km Heart of the Burren is the most popular cycle and is suitable for the improver cyclists. Leaving Ballyvaughan, the route covers Belharbour, New Quay, Corker Hill, Carron, Corkscrew Hill, Lisdoonvarna, Doolin and Fanore.
The 160km Burnin’ Burren is a route aimed at the very fit cyclists. After leaving Ballyvaughan the route takes in Belharbour, Newquay, Boston, Gleancholmcille, Carron, Corkscrew Hill, Lisdoonvarna, Cliffs of Moher, Liscannor, Doonagore, Ennistymon, Kilfenora, Lisdoonvarna, Doolin and Fanore.
Organisers are warning that the area will be busy on Saturday from 7am to 7pm and are asking people to allow extra time for travel. There will be road disruptions from 8.45am to 11.30am at Belharbour and New Quay .
Paddy Fahy from Burren Cycling Club is reminding drivers to take into account that there will be lots of cyclists in the area. “Be aware on the roads on Saturday. There will be a lot of cyclists out there enjoying the day. Take care going around bends as there just may be a cyclist or group of cyclists ahead of you. If you are cutting silage, take an extra look coming out of gates and so on,” he stated.
Although there are no charities associated with the event, there are a number of organisations that do benefit.
The marshals are associated with different sports clubs around the route including the Goya Gang in Ballyvaughan, Ruan GAA, Noughaval Gun Club, Burren Eco Tourism, Irish Cave Rescue and Liscannor GAA Club. The food is prepared and served by the Stella Maris, Lisdoonvarna. Any profits from the event itself goes back into disability sport in the county through James Murrihy of the Clare Sports Partnership.
Other partners are Clare County Council, An Garda Síochána, DIY Pursuits (Kinvara), Clare.ie, O’Loughlins Whiskey Bar (Ballyvaughan), An Fear Gorta Tea Rooms (Ballyvaughan), Burren College of Art and Aillwee Cave plus local businesses.