Photos and climb summary by Stephen Rochford, Longwood, County of Meath, Ireland.
The Minaun climb is a fantastic climb just off the famous Wild Atlantic Way in Achill Island off the west coast of Ireland. The climb starts gently once you turn off the R139 with the first kilometer averaging little more than 2%. However as you approach the right hand turn that takes you to the top, it increases to between 6 and 10%. From this turn it is slightly over 2.5 kilometers to the top.
Once you take the turn things get very spicy, very quickly. The road pitches up into what seems like a wall. You are hit with a kilometer that averages nearly 17%, pretty much on par with the steepest kms of legendary climbs like the Angliru, Zoncolan or Mortirolo. You might find yourself weaving from side to side on the road trying to keep moving, made all the trickier due to the narrow width and poor surface. Thankfully for your legs, this km is by far the worst part of the climb and once it starts to ease the last km is much more manageable at between 6 and 7% with a kick up towards 10% right again at the very end.
PJAMM Cycling’s profile of The Wall.
Now it's time to relax and soak in the amazing scene visible from the top. As you look down across. Keel strand you can see that this truly is the Wild Atlantic Way in all its glory.
Good places to park in the area are in the villages of Achill Sound, Doogort or Keel which will each give about 10km to get the legs ready. Another longer but highly recommended option is to make this climb as part of a trip along the Atlantic Greenway which runs from Westport all the way to Keem strand. The full distance from Westport is 50km to the start of the climb but there are several towns along the route closer to the climb. This is one of the top cycling routes in the country, running on a closed cycling path for most of its duration alongside the stunning backdrop of Clew Bay and its hundreds of islands. If you have the time it is well worth the effort and after the climb you can continue to Keem strand where you really feel you are standing at the edge of the world.