Total tour distance: 130 miles
Daily tour distance: 22 miles
Difficulty: 40 / 100
“Ireland, especially the rural West, is a cyclist’s dream.” So says Bicycling magazine, and you will surely agree. There’s an endless network of winding back roads where lazy sheep are often your only company. Green meadows lead down to the sea, magical mist-covered mountains are off in the distance, while around every turn you are likely to come upon cows grazing around a medieval castle, Stone Age ruins, or the remains of an ancient cathedral. Stone cottages are tucked along the edges of green pastures dotted with sheep, and each small village looks more Irish than the last. And the Irish are even friendlier than their reputation – warm and welcoming, and always ready to engage you in the gentle pleasures of good conversation while you enjoy a bit of traditional Irish music at the local pub.
Our tour takes you on meandering country roads out to the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher and to Doolin, a mecca for traditional Irish music. We enjoy a spectacular coastal ride around Black Head and Galway Bay, a visit to the pretty fishing village of Ballyvaughan, and a ride through the heart of the "Burren", where we are led on a fascinating walk by local guide Shane Connolly. A ferry ride takes us for a visit out to the Aran Islands, while on other days we ride along the valleys of the Maamturk Mountains and past Killary Harbor, and visit beautiful Kylemore Abbey. We follow the ocean along spectacular Skye Road, and visit handsome Clifden Castle as we enter Clifden – a great place to shop for Irish linens, wool sweaters, Waterford crystal and local crafts.
Days 1 and 3 are rated 'Easier'. Days 2, 4, 5 and 6 are rated 'Easier to Intermediate'.