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Explore Connemara, Galway and Mayo by bike. You will explore the beautiful region of Connemara famous for its rugged granite landscape, beautiful lakes and rivers. The route offers an incredible variety of scenery each day. In the morning you can be cycling along beautiful coastline while in the afternoon you could be on a quiet bog road with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
Your tour starts in Galway, a thriving cultural city complete with rich medieval architecture and lovely beaches. You then head west into Connemara. Connemara is a beautiful blend of rugged mountains, scattered lakes, rushing rivers and golden beaches combined with some of the friendliest people in Ireland. With a history stretching back 5000 years and unique fauna and flora there is something to see at almost every turn of the pedals. Finally you spend some time on the Aran Islands, a string of rugged islands hanging onto the Atlantic Coast of Ireland.
The roads are all tarmac and the route is designed to ensure that you spend most of the week on quiet back roads, away from the main tourist routes To experience the majestic scenery of this area the route does have some climbs, so it is worth getting a few weekends training on a bike in varied terrain before coming thus ensuring that you can fully enjoy the week.
Our self guided Connemara, Mayo and Galway cycling tour includes seven night's accommodation, bike hire, daily luggage transfer between your different locations, route notes, maps and emergency support. So you can just relax and discover the best of Ireland by bike.
When you arrive in Galway make your way to your accommodation any time after 2.00pm. You can then explore this bustling medieval city. We will send you on full accommodation details and the necessary contact details for your tour closer to your departure date. A folder containing your route details, will be waiting for you at the guesthouse, along with your bikes which will be serviced and ready to go!
In the morning a local taxi operator will also meet you at the guesthouse at 9.30 am and then transfer you to Cong where the tour proper starts and you get on your bikes! You head north along quiet back roads through rolling green fields full of grazing sheep, before descending down to Lough Mask and a wonderful cycle along the lake. You can stop for lunch in a pub overlooking the Lake. In the afternoon you have your biggest climb of the week over the Partry Mountains and along a quiet back road with stunning views of the surrounding landscape before coming to Westport.
You cycle between Croagh Patrick and the beautiful Clew Bay with its many small islands to the village of Louisburgh where you can stop for lunch. In the afternoon you head south through one of the highlights of the week, the stunning Delphi Valley with its beautiful lakes overlooked by Ben Bury the highest mountain in Connemara. That night you stay in the small village of Leenane looking out over Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord.
You cycle into the heart of Connemara overlooked by the Twelve Bens mountain range and visit Kylemore Abbey, a wedding gift from a wealthy Liverpool businessman to his wife in 1868. You then cycle along quiet backroads past small fields with grazing cattle to the seaside village of Cleggan where you stop for lunch. In the afternoon you follow the scenic coast road to Clifden where you can watch cars travel across the beach to Omey Island only accessible when the tide is out! Clifden, the capital of Connemara, where you will spend the next two nights, is a pretty and bustling town of art galleries, cafés, pubs and restaurants established 200 years ago at the whim of John D’Arcy.
The day can be spent in rest and relaxation or you can take part in a variety of activities including walking, golf or horse riding. You can also spend the day just relaxing on one of the many beautiful white sandy beaches which line the indented coast line or visit the landing site of the first transatlantic flight by Alcock and Brown. The town itself is a nice place to spend time visiting the museum, art galleries and book shops and cafés. In the evening there are a number of bars which have traditional music sessions.
You cycle out of Clifden along beautiful waterways and another picturesque bog road with its freshly cut peat waiting to be harvested, against a backdrop of the Twelve Benns Mountains. Your afternoon cycle will take you through Gaelic speaking areas to the ferry in Rossaveel which will bring you to Inis Mor, the largest of the Aran Islands where you will spend the night.
The day can be spent touring the unique landscape of the Island with its wealth of ancient stone forts and monastic sights. In the late afternoon you return to the mainland. Carraroe Cabs will meet you off the evening ferry and bring you back into Galway city for your final night of the tour.
After breakfast, depart for your onward travel home.
The accommodation is allocated on a twin/double sharing basis. We stay in a mixture of B&Bs and small hotels, where we hope to fuse the best standard we can get with the warmest welcome. We ensure en suite facilities almost all of the time however in some of the more remote spots one might occasionally have to share a bathroom.
We do reserve the right to change the accommodation around during the tour, but we will always endeavour to provide a high standard.
Looking for extra accommodation at the beginning or end of the tour? We would be happy to help you organise extra accommodation outside of Dublin for the start or the end of the week. If you would prefer to organise it yourself please see the websites below. If you are planning to spend a few days in Dublin at the end of the tour, we recommend that you book accommodation well in advance as the capital is very busy on weekends. We do not actually organise accommodation in Dublin but there are a huge range of websites offering a reservation service. A good starting place is Dublin Tourism (www.visitdublin.com).
If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo cyclists are also welcome for an additional charge.
It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.
The distances and descents / ascents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necesssary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat and sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking/ cycling gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack
We will be using the GIANT ESCAPE 3 bicycle for our tours. To see the specification for this you can visit the website: www.giant-bicycles.com. We put mudguards and a back carrier on these bikes. Bikes come in different sizes and in gents and ladies style frames.
It is important you give us your height on booking so that we can allocate the correct bike to you. Due to operational reasons the ferry company are unable to bring bikes to and from the Aran Islands. A rental bike will be available to you for your cycle on the island.
This tour is graded moderate as there are a number of hills to climb on this tour so we would recommend that you do try to do some cycling before the tour in order to make your week more enjoyable. Try to get out for a few hours cycling during the weekends coming up to your trip and, if possible, do it on varied terrain and include some hill climbing.
Because we are an island located near the gulf stream Ireland has a very mild climate making it ideal for cycling. We recommend that you bring your rain gear as well as your sun hat as a day that starts with rain can end with glorious sunshine! The temperature range during the summer is between 15 and 22 degrees centigrade (60 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit)
If you hold an EU passport you only need to make sure your passport is valid for the period of your stay. You will need photo identification travelling between Britain and Ireland. All other nationalities require a passport that is valid for 3 months beyond the intended length of stay. Most nationalities including the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not require visas for Ireland and receive an automatic 90 day visitor’s visa on arrival. If your nationality is not mentioned here you should check with your travel agent or consular office.
The standard electrical supply is 220 volts AC (50 cycles). To use small appliances mainland European visitors may require a plug adaptor to fit our 3-pin flat or 2-pin round wall sockets. The mobile phone system in use is a digital GSM 900 system.
Some recommended websites on Ireland that might help you organise your trip if you are planning to spend more time in the country before or after your holiday with us.
www.discoverireland.com – Irish Tourist Board (Failte Ireland) official website providing a wealth of information on all regions of the country.
www.heritageireland.ie info on historical sites If you plan to spend some extra time in Dublin, the following will give you some more ideas of things to see and do
www.visitdublin.com Dublin Tourism, Tourism Centre, Suffolk Street, Dublin 2
Ireland has a rich literary and musical heritage, some of which you will experience first hand on our tours. Should you like to do a little advance research the following websites should help you... www.kennys.ie is a long established Galway bookshop with an enormous online catalogue of books of Irish interest. www.celticnote.com is the perfect place to carry out your acoustic research!
As this is a self led trip you do not have the back-up of a guide and support van. Our aim is to allow you feel like an independent traveller, free to cycle each day at your own pace while at the same time having the security of knowing that your luggage will be waiting for you in your next accommodation.
If for any reason you are unable to cycle please contact us so we can liaise with the luggage transfers to organise the transfer of bike(s) and person(s). Please note that you will be charged for any additional runs made on your behalf.
Our bikes are serviced after each tour so they should be humming perfectly! If you experience small problems with the bike (i.e., a puncture) you will have a spare tube, pump and tyre lever. You can of course phone our office if you experience any major problems.
Galway Airport is located 6km from Galway City and served by flights from Dublin and Luton.
Knock International Airport in Charlestown, Co. Mayo is a little over an hour from Galway City.
Shannon Airport is an hour and a half south of Galway and offers a wide range of direct flights from Dublin, the UK, continental Europe and North America.
Driving in Ireland is on the left hand side of the road and the N6 is the major road from Dublin. The drive from Dublin to Galway is 140 miles and will take approximately 3 hours.
Irish Rail/Iarnrod Eireann run a regular train service to Dublin stopping off at major towns. Advance booking is not usually necessary and trains offer a dining service. www.irishrail.ie
Many bus and coach companies offer regular services from Dublin, and other major towns. These include:
Bus Éireann, the national bus company of Ireland, which has routes radiating out from Dublin and also between all major towns. Galway is a central hub for the West of Ireland. Buses go to Ceannt Station (also the railway station) just off Eyre Square in the centre of Galway City.
Citylink Travel Services provides a daily express coach service between Galway and Dublin and Dublin Airport. Phone: + 353 (0) 91 564163.
Nestors Travel is a local coach company offering national routes. TurloughMore, Athenry, Co. Galway, Phone: + 353 (0) 91 797244.
We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful.
Although the average daily distances are not that long there are a couple of longer days and the roads have plenty of up and down so this holiday is better suited to regular cyclists with a reasonable level of futness.
The beauty of cycling in Ireland is that the roads are generally very quiet.Often there will be a rush of traffic in the morning but generally the cycling is relaxed and traffic light.
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as Connemara is extremely popular over the summer months. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.
You will need a helmet, normal cycling clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers and some warmer cycling clothes, a full detailed kit list will be included in your info pack.
Traditionally April/May and September have always been the most popular time of year because the theory goes that the weather is better and the midges are not as fierce. Although I think cycling in Ireland always offers a wonderful experience as long as you are properly equipped.
We use local taxis to transfer your baggage and they can normally move you, your bike and baggage to the next stop in case of emergency. Local buses can also sometimes take bikes.