From glacier-carved valleys to its signature green countryside, Ireland will capture your heart from the day of arrival. We'll explore the Emerald Isle in 7 days by bike, visiting the Aran Islands and Connemara as well. The fun won't stop when the day's ride is through; Ireland's rich culture and colorful villages steeped in history paired with gracious hospitality and humor will round out the evenings. Look forward to traditional music and unforgettable memories on this tour!
**If you anticipate 8 days just won't be enough to soak in the charms and beauties of Ireland, join us on our 11-day Cycling Ireland's West Coast Plus! County Mayo tour.**
Day 1: Arrive Ennis, Ireland
Highlights: Colorful Ennis, County Clare, welcome dinnerWe meet today in Ennis, capital of County Clare. We'll fit bicycles this afternoon, then you are free to go for warm up ride or to take a stroll through colorful Ennis before we gather for wine and introductions. We'll enjoy a welcome dinner together this evening.
Lodging: Templegate Hotel
Day 2: Bicycle to Doolin
Highlights: Castle ruins, medieval monasteries, Cliffs of MoherLow stone walls enclosing miles of pasture lead us today past castle ruins, medieval monasteries, and churches destroyed in the wake of the Reformation - all standing as landmarks across the Irish landscape. We’ll suggest a quick detour to Dysert O’Dea, an early Christian monastery founded by St. Tola in the 8th C. Then it's on to the coast and the extraordinary Cliffs of Moher. Our destination is Doolin, the epicenter of traditional Irish folk music. Dinner together. Distance: 51 km (32 miles).
Day 3: Rest day in Doolin
Highlights: Irish music in Doolin, optional bike ride to the BurrenThere is no need to pack this morning, as we'll be in Doolin again tonight to enjoy the music in its pubs. Take the day off to enjoy a walk along the shore or take an optional bicycle ride into the Burren. This unique limestone region hosts a variety of wild flowers and plants unusual in this part of Europe. Dinner on your own. Distance: your choice, 0-40 km (0-25 miles).
Day 4: Aran Islands
Highlights: Aran Islands, Inishmore, guided walk in Dun AenghusWe are off our bikes today to visit Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. Once there, you can explore the main village of Kilronan before we head off to explore the rest of the island. Plan on a walk this afternoon to Dun Aenghus, one of Europe's most important prehistoric settlements. Dinner together this evening. Distance: none on the bike, optional hiking.
Lodging: Kilmurvey House
Day 5: Bicycle to Roundstone
Highlights: County Galway and ConnemaraWe're back to Kilronan this morning, where we'll catch a ferry north to County Galway and the village of Roundstone. Just beyond lies the heart of Connemara, Ireland's "wild west." This area was devastated by the potato famine in the 1840s but has rebounded in recent decades through the tourist trade. Along with the Aran Islands, Connemara is one of the few remaining Gaeltacht regions, where Irish Gaelic is still widely spoken. Dinner on your own. Distance: 52 km (32 miles).
Lodging: Roundstone House Hotel
Day 6: Bicycling to Leenane
Highlights: Sky Road, Kylemore Abbey, scenic coastlineWe leave Roundstone this morning due west to reach the coast and wind our way north. Anybody wanting extra scenery (along with an extra climb and 13 additional kilometers!) can take the Sky Road detour and meet back up with our route. Farther north we'll also have an option to visit Kylemore Abbey or to keep bicycling through the small country lanes of County Galway. Our destination tonight is the village of Leenane, situated at the tip of Killary Fjord (Ireland's only fjord!) which extends ten miles inland with mountains rising steeply on either side. Dinner is together tonight, weather permitting, we'll enjoy a BBQ dinner cruise either today or tomorrow! Distance: 60-75 km (37-47 miles).
Lodging: Leenane Hotel
Day 7: Loop ride in Leenane
Highlights: Loop ride through Joyce CountryWe pedal into undulated Joyce Country today, so named from a Welsh family named Joyce who settled here in the 13th C (James Joyce has the name but was born in Dublin!). Varied scenery awaits us on this pleasant loop ride as we see glaciated valleys, pastoral countryside and touch upon Lough Corrib, one of Ireland's most famous lakes. Keep your eyes out for locals cutting turf (peat) for fuel and piling it to dry in mounds along the road. We'll be back in Leenane tonight. Dinner together this evening. Distance: approximately 55-75 km (34-47 miles).
Lodging: Leenane Hotel
Day 8: End Leenane, Ireland
Highlights: Tour ends in Leenane, IrelandWe say goodbye after breakfast this morning. You may wish to stay another day in Leenane or use it as a base for further explorations of western Ireland. Whatever your plans, have a great trip.
***If this sounds great but you'd like a longer tour, check out our Bicycling the Islands of Dalmatia Plus! the South Coast tour, which extends this itinerary by 4 days.***
HighlightsDoolin, Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Ireland's longest fjord, Connemara, Traditional Irish music in Doolin
IncludesUse of a quality aluminum road bike with compact gearing or hybrid; 8 days, 7 nights accommodation; 5 dinners with wine or beer, 7 breakfasts; island ferries; guided walk in Dun Aenghus and shuttle to Shannon at the end of the tour
Arrive/DepartShannon International Airport (SNN) or Dublin (DUB)
Total Distance228-313 km (141-195 miles)
Daily Distance10-75 km (6-47 miles) with one rest day and optional mileage most days.
What to ExpectGreat music, pubs, beer, cider and rides. To put it simply cycling in Ireland is wicked good fun.
Rolling country rides with a few steep but short hills; mild temperatures with some winds or light rain possible; some walks during our day on one of the Aran Islands.
|Jun 16 - 23, 2013||$3495||$500||Confirmed Departure||Book It|
|Aug 12 - 19, 2013||$3495||$500||Confirmed Departure||Book It|
|*We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the single supplement rate. This fee will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available this fee will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.|
Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.
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