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Connemara Self-Guided

The heart of the Wild Atlantic Way

Ireland Flag Ireland

  • Region Region West of Ireland
  • Tour Type Tour Type Self Guided (Open Departure)
  • Duration Duration 7 days
  • Bike Type Bike Types Road, Hybrid, Touring & e-bike

Core Route

322 Kilometres
2 (Moderate) Difficulty Level: 2 (Moderate)
Average Distance per Day: 54 km
0 100 km
Average Elevation Gain per Day: 285 km
0 500 km

Extended Route

520 Kilometres
2 (Moderate) Difficulty Level: 2 (Moderate)
Average Distance per Day: 74 km
0 100 km
Average Elevation Gain per Day: 440 km
0 500 km
May - October from
€720
Next Steps

Summary

Experience cycling the West Coast of Ireland and explore some of the most breath-taking landscapes on this self-guided tour.

This cycle route of the West coast of Ireland has been designed by cyclists and starts in the village Oughterard to the west of Galway City, which is the location of your first night’s accommodation. If you arrive in good time, you can take a warm up ride by the shores of Lough Corrib. The first leg of the itinerary takes you south to meet the coast at Rossaveal from where you take a 40 minute ferry ride to Inishmore, largest of the three Aran Islands. The next day is spent exploring and enjoying the island.

Returning to Rossaveal you ride west through Connemara to the town of Clifden for a two night stopover. The loop ride takes you around the coast to Roundstone and out along the Sky Road. Leaving Clifden you ride through the Lough Inagh Valley to Leenane on the shores of Killary Harbour. From Leenane you continue north to Westport, with the option of an upper or a lower level route. The loop ride from Westport takes you to Doolough and along the shores of Clew Bay in the shadow of
Croagh Patrick.

Highlights

  • Sharing the lanes with the pony carts on Inishmore

  • The cliff top fort of Dun Aengus on Inishmore

  • The wonderful views of the Twelve Bens from the Bog Road

What's included

  • 7 nights accommodation with breakfast

  • Pre-trip planner

  • all routing, maps, cue sheets and gpx tracks

  • Emergency telephone support

  • Meet, greet and bike fitting

  • Regional Handbook

Extras

  • Bike rental

  • Luggage Transfers

  • Evening meals

Costs

Core Tour Cost €725
Luggage Transfers €240 (per scouple)
Hybrid Bike Rental €140
Road Bike Rental €190
E-Bike Rental €230
Single Supplement €205

Day 1

Arrive in Oughterard (20km from Galway, there are regular buses from Shannon Airport or trains from Dublin to Galway), easily reached by bus or taxi from Galway. Stay the night in guesthouse/B&B. If bicycle rental has been arranged we will meet you in the evening or first thing the following morning (depending on arrival time) to adjust the bicycle for you and talk you through the week ahead.

Connemara elevation day 1 O UGHTERARD

Day 2


Day 2: Oughterard – Rosaveal – Aran Islands (25km climb 288m plus extra on the island) Cycle to the ferry port of Rossaveal to catch the ferry (ticket not included) to the island of Inishmore, the biggest of the Aran Islands. The route brings you on a very quiet back road onto a plateau of bogs, moorland, lakes and forests. There are stunning views back over lake Corrib and then onto the Atlantic. There are restrictions on carrying bicycles on the boats, resulting in it there being a small risk that you may not be able to take it with you, in which case you can lock them securely in the office building and then hire bikes again once on the island. The ferry crossing takes about 45min and the rest of the day is spent exploring the island by bicycle and on foot. Highlights include the cliff top fort of Dun Angeus, the Seven Churches and the coast road to the west of the port village of Kilronan. The island is famous for the knitwear that bears the Aran name.

Itinerary graph 1 Aran islands

3

After a morning spent exploring the island further and perhaps visit the fantastically located Black Fort (a 3,000 year old promontory fort), you take the ferry back to Rossaveal at noon. You will be heading north into Connemara proper. There are great views towards the Twelve Bens (the 12 mountains at the centre of the Connemara National Park). Turning west you ride across the peats bogs (where you can watch peat digging in progress) to Cashel and across another Bog Road to Clifden. This colourful small town is often labelled the metropole of Connemara. Here you will stay for two nights, and you may enjoy traditional Irish music in its pubs

Rossaveal to Clifden elevation profile 1

4

There are 3 options to choose from, the core describing a figure of eight loop based on Clifden. On the way you can visit the village of Ballyconneely where Alcock and Brown crash landed their biplane after completing the first transatlantic flight in 1919. There are some very beautiful beaches here. In Roundstone you can see traditional musical instruments being made by hand. There is a wonderful a ride out along the Sky Road to enjoy some sublime coastal scenery, and for the enthusiastic rider you continue along more coastal scenery to Claddaghduff and Aughrusbeg.

Clifden Loop elevation profile

5

Leave Clifden behind to cycle through the beautiful Lough Inagh Valley to Kylemore, where you may like to visit Kylemore Abbey. From here there are choices to cycle along the coast to Lettergesh or to go a more direct route to Leenane. This small village is located on Killary Harbour, Ireland's only fjord. It was the location for the film “The Field”.

Clifden to Leenane elevation profile 2

6

A beautiful and gentle day in the hills of Connemara and Mayo on very quiet roads, as you cycle along the lakes of Lough Mask and Lough Nafooey. Westport where you stay for 2 nights is a colourful market town in County Mayo. Here it is not difficult to find pubs with traditional Irish music

Leenane to Westport elevation profile 3

7

This is a beautiful loop ride around Croagh Patrick (Ireland's holy mountain) visiting the village of Louisburgh and heading back to Westport along Clew Bay. Along the way visit the National Famine Memorial, Murrisk Friary and the Croagh Patrick visitor centre. Or hike up this mountain on a pilgrims path.

Westport Loop elevation profile 4

8

Breakfast, followed by farewell and departure for your onward journey.

Route Map

Essentials

Accommodation

The standard accommodations for this region's self-guided itineraries are guesthouses and bed and breakfasts (B&Bs). Generally, these have between 4 and 10 guest rooms and the owners/providers live on the premises. In almost all cases the bathroom facilities are ensuite (self-contained within the room), and the room facilities usually include a television and tea/coffee making facilities. There is a communal reading / television lounge. Small family run hotels are also used in a few locations. The providers are excellent sources of local information.

Breakfast is always included. Most guesthouses do not offer an evening meal.

When you book a tour, your pre-trip planner will have more details about the specific facilities and services provided by the accommodations.

Examples of our guesthouses in this region include;

Travel

The most convenient international airports are Shannon Airport and Dublin Airport.

There is a small regional airport in Knock.

Galway, Westport and Ennis have direct rail links with Dublin (Heuston Station) operated by Irish Rail.

Bus Eireann operates intercity and regional bus services throughout Ireland.

Citylink and GoBus run buses between Galway and Dublin Airport. Citylink also operates a service on the Galway to Clifden route

Climate

Ireland's climate is surprisingly mild given its northern location. This is mainly due to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream which brings warm waters up to Western Europe from the more tropical Atlantic zones.

Temperamental is a fitting description of Ireland's weather. It can be very unpredictable! The old adage that it is possible to experience four seasons in one day is close to the truth. During the summertime, the warmest months tend to be July and August, when average temperatures during the day can range from 15ºC to 20ºC. A hot day in summertime could produce temperatures of 22ºC to 24ºC and on rare occasions can exceed 30ºC.

The best time to travel to Ireland for an outdoor trip such as a bicycle tour is from the beginning of May to the end of September. April and October are also possible, but the chances of encountering inclement weather increase. Towards the end of October the days are significantly shorter.

Traditionally May can provide some of the best weather days of the season. The last two weeks in June have the longest days of the year.

July and August are peak travel season for Ireland. The first weekend in August (a public holiday weekend) is the busiest of the season. School holidays are from the end of June until the end of August.


Fixed Costs

€725 per person sharing, to include;

  • 7 nights' accommodation with breakfast
  • Pre-Trip Information Booklet and Planner
  • On call telephone support
  • All mapping, routes and cue sheets with gpx tracks
  • Meet, greet and bike fitting

Optional costs


Luggage Transfers

  • Luggage transfer charges are calculated as follows:

    The standard charge is based on one or two riders. A couple would therefore share the luggage transfer costs. There is then a small additional fee for the third and each additional person.
    For example:

    1. Total cost for one or two riders = 220 (110 per person based on two people sharing)
    2. Total cost for three riders = 220 + 20= 240 (80 per person)
    3. Total cost for four riders = 220 + 20 + 20 = 260 (65 per person)

Note that the more riders in the group, the less expensive are the luggage transfers per rider.

Bicycle Rental

Please note that we will endeavor to provide you with the bike listed below. On occasion, due to availability and size requirements, you may receive a different bike. All our bikes will be of a similar style, quality and specification to those listed.

Stevens 6x Lite Tour €130

Standard rental bicycle.

5 frame sizes
Aluminium 6061 DB Frame
Stevens Alloy fork
27 speed

Fitted with- Rear rack, platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders. Receive- handlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool On request-panniers, helmet, gel saddle cover; odometer; cages and straps

Stevens San Remo Road Bike €190

Alloy road bicycle

8 frame sizes
Aluminium 6061 DB
Carbon fork

  • Fitted with- Platform pedals, bottle cage,
  • Receive- map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool
  • On request-, helmet, gel saddle cover; odometer; cages and straps

Stevens E-Lavena E-Bike €230

E-Bike

  • 4 frame sizes
  • Aluminium 6061 Frame
  • SR Suntour NCX D LO Air
  • Fitted with- Rear rack, platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders.
  • Receive- handlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool
  • On request-panniers, helmet, gel saddle cover; odometer; cages and straps


Core Tour Cost €725
Luggage Transfers €240 (per couple)
Hybrid Bike Rental €140
Road Bike Rental €190
E-Bike Rental €230
Single Supplement €205

Photos

Next Steps

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