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 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 7 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.
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. 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: 52 km (33 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 of marked route: 59 km (36 miles).
Day 4: Aran Islands
Highlights: Aran Islands, Inishmore, guided walk in Dun AenghusWe 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. Dinner together this evening. Distance: approximately 8 to 10km (5 to 6 miles) on the bike, optional walking.
Lodging: Kilmurvey House
Day 5: Bicycle to Clifden
Highlights: County Galway and Connemara, bustling town of ClifdenWe'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. Enjoy dinner on your own in one of the several pubs or newer bistros and restaurants. Distance: 70 km (43 miles).
Day 6: Clifden
Highlights: Sky Road, scenic coastlineWe 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! We'll enjoy a special dinner tonight. Distance: 15-50 km (9-31 miles).
Day 7: End in Clifden
Highlights: Tour ends in ClifdenWe say goodbye after breakfast this morning. Whatever your plans, have a great trip.
***If you can't bear the thought of giving up your bike so soon, check out our Bicycling Ireland's West Coast Plus! County Mayo tour, which extends this itinerary by 4 days.***
HighlightsDoolin, Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, Ireland's longest fjord, Connemara, Traditional Irish music in Doolin
Includes"The Usual" plus... Use of a quality 27-30 speed bicycle; Use of a quality aluminum road bike with compact gearing or hybrid; 7 days, 6 nights accommodation; 4 dinners with wine or beer, 6 breakfasts; island ferries; guided walk in Dun Aenghus
Arrive/DepartShannon International Airport (SNN) or Dublin (DUB)
Total Distance250 km (155 miles)
Daily DistanceAverage daily milesage 50km (31 miles) with one optional rest day.
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.
Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.
Santa Cruz, CA