Connacht and more specifically the areas of Connemara in West Galway, Mayo and Sligo are rich in mountains, twisty rural roads and sheep - they're everywhere, especially in the Connemara so be prepared to stop.
Possibly the most rugged and least tourist infested area of the south-west Ireland. It's hard to go wrong for scenery anywhere south of the Shannon estuary but some areas suffer from tour buses more than others. This is the best preserved peninsula in the Cork/Kerry area.
We took the Derry Road out of Dublin, soon renamed to the Londonderry Road when we left Monanghan and entered the North. Some towns en-route had helpfully corrected the signs back to 'Derry' using spray paint. Other towns were flying big massive Union Jacks - this was July, the marching season... best head straight through
320km from Dublin, a 4 hour casual ride to possibly the most scenic area in the wildest county of Ireland. We're staying one kilometre to the east of Annascaul, in the Dingle Gate Hostel. Comfortable enough, we have a private en-suite room, there's a fire in the lounge and parking hidden from the road.