Ireland, International

Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way Bike Tour

DURATION

7 Days

PRICE

$4,978

LEVEL

BADV_AbilityLevel_IconsIntermediate

DAILY DISTANCE

30-65 miles

INCLUDED ACTIVITIES

Cycling (bikes included), Seaweed bath, Ceide Fields Neolithic site

INCLUDED MEALS

All breakfasts and lunches. Two dinners on your own.

Discover and explore what we ultimately strive for in a cycling vacation–which is to simply “Pedal Happy”.

Perhaps the Wild Atlantic Way’s least-visited region, the coastal regions of Sligo, Mayo and Donegal are as wild and dramatic as they are laid-back! Explore the mysteries and mythologies connected with Ireland’s northwest as you discover this little-known but wonderful region. Bike through windswept coastal bog lands, enjoy clifftop views and spin through gentle green pastureland as you uncover the interesting and diverse terrain that makes up this region. Your hotels are uniquely Irish. From converted coastguard stations to village inns and country manors to castles – classic Irish hospitality and a grand welcome await each evening.

COMBINING TOURS: We schedule our United Kingdom tour dates to make longer adventures possible. You can combine our Ireland tour with Scotland or England for the ultimate U.K. cycling experience!

Day 01

Westport: a pilgrimage site and a lovely ride.

Meals

– Lunch
– Dinner

Lodging

The Westport Plaza

Distance

29 miles (47 km)

Elevation

+1,942 ft / -1,942 ft

Meet your guides in Dublin and transfer westwards to County Mayo and the charming town of Westport. After lunch and a bike fit, we hit the road for a local’s loop introducing you to this part of Ireland. You will pedal past the conical summit of Croagh Patrick mountain. This sacred location has been a pilgrimage site since ancient times. Even today thousands of pilgrims flock here each year. Stay at The Westport Plaza.

Day 02

Cycle through Ballycroy National Park - Ireland's greatest wilderness.

Meals

– Breakfast
– Lunch
– Dinner

Lodging

The Talbot Hotel

Distance

55 miles (89 km)

Elevation

+2,158 ft / -2,178 ft

Ballycroy is Ireland’s greatest wilderness. It comprises of 11,000 hectares of Atlantic blanket bog and mountainous terrain, covering a vast uninhabited and unspoiled wilderness. This is one of the last intact active blanket bog systems in the world. Today’s route is through the heart of this fascinating eco-system where the challenge is not so much in the terrain but in the ever-changing winds that make biking in this area fun and unpredictable. Staying in the heart of the bustling seaside town of Belmullet, this is a great opportunity to find some real Irish pubs and great traditional music.

Day 03

Sea-cliffs buffer the green hills of Mayo. Stop for tea and scones at Ireland's most important Neolithic site.

Meals

– Breakfast
– Lunch

Lodging

The Talbot Hotel

Distance

63 miles (101 km)

Elevation

+2,406 ft / -2,335 ft

Mayo is a myriad of different vistas and landscapes. Today’s loop of the northern part of the county takes in them all; from the windswept coastline of Downpatrick Head where some of Europe’s tallest sea-cliffs make for a dramatic backdrop, to the rolling green hills of the area’s interior. Stop at one of the world’s most fascinating Neolithic sites for tea and scones. On today’s route, you’ll enjoy the short, sharp climbs and exciting descents that characterize riding in these parts. Finishing up at a rural pub, end the day with a great pint of Guinness before a short transfer back to the Talbot. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Day 04

Ride up through the Ox Mountains and down to Sligo on the coast. Enjoy some traditional Irish music.

Meals

– Breakfast
– Lunch
– Dinner

Lodging

The Glasshouse

Distance

43 miles (69 km)

Elevation

+1,761 ft / -1,761 ft

Transfer from Belmullet to another seaside town, Enniscrone, in the morning. Pedal into the Ox mountains, otherwise known as St. Patrick’s Mountains. The landscape and the views get wider and wilder as you climb through open pasturelands. Roll on to Sligo for a two-night stay at the award-winning and modern The Glasshouse right in town. Sligo is one of Ireland’s bastions of traditional music and has some of the country’s liveliest pubs, so you can explore as you like from the hotel. You may also want to pay a visit, or homage, to well-preserved Sligo Abbey dating back to the 13th century!

Day 05

Pedal poetic Sligo, William Butler Yeats' "land of heart’s desire," and relax with a seaweed bath.

Meals

– Breakfast
– Lunch

Lodging

The Glasshouse

Distance

48 miles (77 km)

Elevation

+2,627 ft / -2,626 ft

Sligo was immortalized as the “land of heart’s desire” in the poetry of William Butler Yeats. Take in some of his favorite haunts on our ride today, and end with an optional (must pre-book via your guide) relaxing seaweed bath. Begin with a beautiful lakeside ride along the shores of Lough Gill and stop for a brief castle visit before the terrain eventually gives way to gorgeous ocean views. After lunch at a locals’ café, we cycle on to the bohemian seaside town of Strandhill where surfers from the world over gather to take on some of the Atlantic’s mightiest waves in the shadow of the prehistoric hilltop grave of mysterious Queen Maeve. Dinner is on your own tonight. In addition to the music and the pubs, Sligo has a great food scene. Stay another night at The Glasshouse.

Some Yeats’ quotes we’ve “poeticized” for cyclists:

Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride (my bicycle) with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!

 “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I (rode with) such friends.”

 There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t (cycled with yet).”

Day 06

Cycle from mysterious, fortress-like Benbulben mountain to stay in a castle in Donegal.

Meals

– Breakfast
– Lunch
– Dinner

Lodging

Lough Eske Castle Hotel

Distance

58 miles (93 km)

Elevation

+3,277 ft / -3,109 ft

The skyline in these parts is dominated by the dramatic cliffs of Ben Bulben Mountain. Today’s ride begins in the shadow of this eerie rock. Cycling from our hotel, we stop at a park honoring one of Ireland’s most famous revolutionaries and one of the first women ever elected to political office. Next, a brief visit to Drumcliffe Church and Yeats’ grave site. We then follow a network of valleys and glens, passing by tranquil lakes and waterfalls and through green pasture lands before briefly crossing the border into Northern Ireland and back out again. Hear stories of cross-border smuggling and tales of the region’s dramatic recent history before finally rolling into our castle hotel for the evening for a celebratory final dinner. Stay at Lough Eske Castle Hotel.

Day 07

Lough Eske and the Bluestack Mountains.

Meals

– Breakfast
– Lunch

Distance

9 miles (14.5 km), or double it

Elevation

+594 ft / -591 ft; or double it

Some might opt to enjoy a well-earned massage at the castle’s award-winning spa this morning. (You will need to book this with the hotel well in advance if you do.) For those who want to see a little bit more of the local landscape we’ll take a short spin through the granite hills of the Bluestack Mountains around Lough Eske for some rewarding views. If you like the ride going clockwise, we recommend you ride it in the opposite direction as well! After a chance to shower and lunch, we hit the road back to Dublin.

Dates
Guaranteed
This means that the tour will definitely depart as scheduled and not be canceled.
Price
Availability
Dates
Single Supplement
Price
$1,344
This is not required. It is an optional fee to allow a solo traveler to guarantee a private room for the duration of the tour.

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