Bicycling Ireland's West Coast Plus! County Mayo
"O Ireland, isn't it grand you look," admired philosopher John Locke in the 17th Century. Join us for 11 days of cycling on Ireland's western coast and you too will fall in love with the magic of the Emerald Isle. You'll pedal stone-lined roads to ancient ruins. Spend a day each visiting the Aran Islands and Connemara. And enjoy opportunities both on and off your bike to explore the rich Irish landscape and colorful villages steeped in history. But riding is only half the fun. By night, you'll enjoy the gracious hospitality, humor, and traditional music for which the Irish are famous.
**If this sounds great, but you would prefer a shorter tour, join us on our 7-day Cycling Ireland's West Coast tour.**View Day-by-Day ItineraryHide Day-by-Day Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Ennis, Ireland
Highlights: Colorful Ennis, County Clare, welcome dinner
We 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.
Distance: Test Ride. Meals: D
Lodging: Old Ground Hotel
Day 2: Bicycle to Doolin
Highlights: Castle ruins, medieval monasteries, Cliffs of Moher
Low 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. Then it's on to the coast and the extraordinary Cliffs of Moher. Our destination is Doolin, the epicenter of traditional Irish folk music.
Distance: 52 km (33 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Cullinans or Sheedys
Day 3: Rest day in Doolin
Highlights: Irish music in Doolin, optional bike ride to the Burren
There 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.
Distance: 59 km (36 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Cullinans or Sheedys
Day 4: Aran Islands
Highlights: Aran Islands, Inishmore, guided walk in Dun Aenghus
We are taking a short bike ride 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.
Distance: approximately 8 to 10km (5 to 6 miles) on the bike, optional walking. Meals: B, D
Lodging: Kilmurvey House
Day 5: Bicycle to Clifden
Highlights: County Galway and Connemara, bustling town of Clifden
We're back to Kilronan this morning, where we'll catch a ferry north to County Galway and the village of Rossaveal. Just beyond lays 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. Tonight we settle into one of the most vibrant towns of County Galway, where tradition and modernity nicely mix to create a lively atmosphere.
Distance: 70 km (43 miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Round Stone House Hotel
Day 6: Clifden
Highlights: Sky Road, scenic coastline
We have another night in Clifden so there is no need to pack. Those wanting to ride can take a leisurely 15 km loop ride along spectacular Sky Road, passing by the abandoned D'Arcy Castle. If you want more mileage you can keep pedaling farther north on any number of the small country lanes of County Galway. Return to Clifden for a lazy afternoon walk along Beach Road, a cuppa in one of the cozy galleries in town or a tipple in one of the local pubs!
Distance: 15-50 km (9-31 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Round Stone House Hotel
Day 7: Bicycle to Leenane
Highlights: Delphi Valley, Kylemore Abbey, scenic cycling
Today we pedal north past iconic Kylemore Abbey, where a visit to Western Ireland's top attraction is well worth it, and then continue into the unspoiled Delphi Valley through Connemara's tallest mountains, the Mweelrea Range. Situated between the wild Atlantic Coast and Clew Bay, Delphi Valley is lovely and remote, surrounded by stunning scenery; in other words, the perfect place to ride a bike.
Distance: 53km (33 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Leenane Hotel
Day 8: Ride to Westport
Highlights: Great Western Greenway, Westport House and Country Estate
We are leaving Connemara and Co. Galway today as we head north to Louisburgh and then east to the small city of Westport in Co. Mayo, known for its multi-colored shops, cheerful attitude and continental flavor. Located at an inlet of the Atlantic on Clew Bay, Westport is one of Ireland's only planned towns. The award-winning Great Western Greenway walking and cycling route begins here and the Westport House and Country Estate, one of Ireland's most recognizable tourist attractions is only 5 minute walk from town. A three-time winner of the National Tidy Towns Competition and in 2012 won 'Best Place to Live in Ireland,' a competition run by the Irish Times.
Distance: 41-55 km (miles). Meals: B
Lodging: Westport Plaza Hotel
Day 9: Rest day in Westport
Highlights: Great Western Greenway, pretty town of Westport
Today we invite you to rest and visit the small city of Westport or take a ride on the Great Western Greenway along Clew Bay from Westport to Achill. If you opt to be off your bike today, Westport has several options to offer from the Westport House and Country Estate to a day trip to Clare Island, the alleged home of the pirate queen Grainne O'Malley.
Distance: 25-85km (15-52 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Westport Plaza Hotel
Day 10: Bicycle to Cong
Highlights: Lodge near Ashford Castle, leisurely cycle through lakes and countryside, Quiet Man
Though we rarely encourage you to rush your ride you might want to today because tonight we will be staying very near the grounds of the legendary Ashford Castle! Stroll to this 13th century castle built by the Guinness family; Ashford is surely the most dramatic castle in Ireland. We'll be just over a kilometer away from the village of Cong, perhaps most famous in the U.S. because the Oscar winning Best Picture of 1952, the Quiet Man, was filmed here. Enjoy the Quiet Man museum and one of Cong's excellent pubs or wander through the Ashford grounds. We'll enjoy a special farewell dinner together.
Distance: 67km (41 miles). Meals: B, D
Lodging: Lisloughrey Lodge
Day 11: End Galway, Ireland
Highlights: Shuttle to Galway, guided walk, farewell
We shuttle to Galway this morning where we'll enjoy a guided walk together before we say our farewells. You may wish to stay in Galway or use it as a base for further explorations of western Ireland. Whatever your plans, have a great trip.
HighlightsTraditional Irish music, Doolin, Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Ireland's longest fjord, Connemara, GalwayKeep in Mind: We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.
IncludesUse of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; Use of a quality aluminum road bike with compact gearing or hybrid; 11 days, 10 nights accommodation; 7 dinners with wine or beer, 10 breakfasts; island ferries and guided walk in Dun Aenghus plus "The Usual""The Usual" (Included with every ExperiencePlus! tour)
Arrive/DepartShannon International Airport (SNN) or Dublin (DUB)
Total Distance390-501 km (241-309 miles)
Daily Distance10-75km (6-47 miles) with an optional rest day and optional mileage most days.
Rating201 Rolling country rides with a few steep but short hills.
TermsTerms & Conditions
Dates Price Single Supplement Notes Jun 14-24, 2015 $4850 $650 2 More to Guarantee the Departure Book it Jul 19-29, 2015 $4850 $650 Book it Aug 9-19, 2015 $4850 $650 Guaranteed to Go 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.
Exploring Ireland by Bike
Jo Baldwin and her family tells us why Ireland is the trip for them.
From the Road - Bicycling in Ireland
A Bike Tour Review by Jan Rastall of ExperiencePlus!
Ireland Trip Planner
Read up on country customs, transportation information, culinary specialites, and more!
Thoughts on Ireland
JoAnne "Jo" and Jenica Baldwin sat down with ExperiencePlus! to talk about their recent family trip to Ireland's West Coast.
- Thoughts on Ireland
We Are ExperiencePlus! Meet your Tour Leaders
We'd like to introduce you to your tour leaders. We believe we have the best bicycle tour leaders out there, click through to see a slideshow about them.
Rick Steves' European Ultimates
Rick Steves determines that Dun Aenghus in Ireland is one of his favorite spots in Europe.
Video Clip of Ireland Tour
Traveler Jenica Baldwin caught some footage from her tour in Ireland on tape.
- Exploring Ireland by Bike
It was a wonderful way to see the country. You could ride at your own pace to enjoy your experience.Kris G., Pasadena, MD
What was your favorite experience on this trip? Biking the Burren to Ballyvaughn, stopping that day at Bridey''s, at the incredible dessert table at the Garden Cafe, and at the ancient burial tomb. Music in the evening in the pubs and with our resident singing tour guide.Elizabeth B., Madison, WI
I will never forget seeing the Atlantic Ocean go on for every to my left and the rolling hills of vibrant green on my right. I literally was biking with my mouth wide open in awe of the view. I''m addicted to bike tours now and I can''t wait to go on my next one! So thankful I got to go with ExperiencePlus! and hope to go on another tour! THANK YOU!Jenica B., Seattle, WA
The trip was fabulous! My 19 year old son is hooked on biking now!Janice B., Hayden Lake, ID
[Our favorite experiences were] Tea houses, especially Britie's and the people we met at the pubs. The "backroads", scenery and lack of traffic.Ray & Lu C.
Having the local guides was a definite plus. They shared Irish customs, history, singing and dancing. Their hospitality was greatly appreciated. All and all we can not say enough good things about the trip. We have such great memories and would highly recommend it to people of all ages!!!Cindy J.
I've been on several ExperiencePlus trips. Overall it was excellent and I had a fantastic time. Great value for my dollars.Susan R.
Santa Cruz, CA
My favorite part of the tour: Dancing and singing provided by the Irish guides' families. Dance + Music show on the Aran Islands.Rebecca S.
I particularly loved the day we rode from Innishmore to Roundstone - good weather, gorgeous scenery (and just a bit different from what we'd seen before) just enough hills, horses in the middle of the road, picnic lunch with the group, and swimming in the cold waters after we reached the hotel.Beth S.
Love the arrows, I'm hooked!Warren A.