With the Mayo Greenway a huge success and the Connemara Greenway in the planning process, which is wonderful as it will be a great benefit to both visitor and local alike. We might think we're pretty innovative in creating these cycling routes.....well, we've been pipped to the post by R. J. Mecredy & Company Limited (c. 1930) at the Irish Cyclist Office in Dame Court, Dublin!
An old friend of the proprietor of Renvyle House came across 'Mecredy's Road Map - Connemara, for Cyclists and Tourists' taking in "Dangerous Hills, Nature of Road Surfaces, Scenery, etc." I cannot find a date on the map but assume it's from the 1930's as it mentions the Clifden Railway, which was closed in 1935. The cycling routes in this map take in Connemara, Galway, Achill and the West. It is a beautiful map and lists various hotels along the way, one of them being Renvyle House with Mrs. Blake as the proprietor.
Other hotels in Connemara mentioned on the reverse side of the map include The Railway Hotel in Clifden, Mongan's hotel in Carna, John Wallace's hotel in Maam, the Zetland Arms Hotel, King's Hotel in Leenane, Lyden's Hotel in Clifden, the Leenane Hotel in Killery Bay, the Letterfrack Hotel with proprietress Mrs. O'Grady and many more gems.
I particularly loved the helpful advice to cyclists in the west of Ireland 'Hints and Explanations' and they are worth sharing:
"Our Standard of good and bad roads is based on the average of the United Kingdom. Cyclists, therefore, who are used to snad-papered surfaces which obtain on roads such as the Great North Road, between Biggleswade and Peterborough, in England, must not be disappointed if the roads marked Blue do not come up to their expectations.
Head winds and mud make a great difference in one's impressions. Roads vary very much at different seasons of the year and under different circumstances. For example, a long drought will sometimes make an otherwise excellent road like a bed of a torrent, and wholesale metalling will make the surface seem atrociously bad.
In Connemara, high winds are very frequent and usually blow from the West. Consequently it is better to enter the country from the North-West, as at Westport, and leave it at Galway."