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Yeats Country Self-Guided

Yeats Country Self-Guided

Ireland Flag Ireland

  • Region Region North 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

341 Kilometres
2 (Moderate) Difficulty Level: 2 (Moderate)
Average Distance per Day: 57 km
0 100 km
Average Elevation Gain per Day: 494 km
0 1000 km

Extended Route

430 Kilometres
2 (Moderate) Difficulty Level: 2 (Moderate)
Average Distance per Day: 72 km
0 100 km
Average Elevation Gain per Day: 616 km
0 1000 km
April - October from
€765
Next Steps

This tour is built around wide-open spaces, peace and tranquility - and scenery to die for - in a region that is one of Ireland’s best-kept secrets. Many of the tiny roads followed by the routes are free of traffic, and at times you will ride for miles without seeing another living soul. Some of the very best vistas (of which there are many!) require a bit of elevation, so be prepared for a bit of climbing on some routes. If you have the time, the extended version of the tour that includes South Donegal will just enhance an already wonderful experience!

Starting in the lively town of Sligo, you head north, initially on quiet country lanes, and then around the picturesque Lough Macnean before arriving in Ballyshannon for a two night stopover. The loop ride from Ballyshannon takes in the the busy market town of Donegal Town. There is also a chance to ride around the stunning Lough Eske.

After leaving Ballyshannon you head inland slightly through the famous town of Belleek, before arriving at your destination of Belcoo, where you have another two-night stopover with excellent loop options. You should be able to see Cuilcagh Mountains, Tullydermot Falls and the UNESCO recognised Marble Arch Caves. After departing Belcoo, you then head through the majestic 19th Century Lough Key Forest Park, before arriving in Boyle. The last leg of your journey takes you from Boyle back through glorious countryside to the bustling Sligo.

Highlights

  • The Lake Isle of Inishfree

  • Visiting Yeats grave in Drumcliff

  • The seascapes from Mullaghmore Head

  • Gleniff Horseshoe

  • A visit to the Belleek Pottery

  • Lough Navar Forest Viewpoint

  • Marble Arch Caves

  • Florence Court House

  • Donegal Craft Village

  • The circuit of Lough Eske

Day 1

After arriving in Sligo and checking into your accommodation, you can go and collect your rental bicycle, explore the town and/or go for a short warm up ride to check out the bike and equipment.

2

Sligo to Ballyshannon 71km / +503m (L, S) Leaving Sligo you are riding north on country lanes towards Glencar Lake, which can be visited on a short out and back detour. Next comes the village of Drumcifff and the grave of WB Yeats, one of Ireland’s finest poets. Continuing north you cross over the main Sligo to Donegal Road and pedal through the foothills of Ben Bulben, a table-topped mountain that is the source of many myths and legends in Irish folklore. There is the option to take a detour around the remote and atmospheric Horseshoe Loop before heading down to meet the coast at Mullaghmore. A ride around beautiful Mullaghmore Head offers great seascapes and views of Cassiebawn Castle. This impressive building belonged to Lord Mountbatten, who was blown up in his boat by the IRA in 1979. Mullaghmore is a good lunch stop on your ride. Continuing north you ride through Kinlough and around the shores of Lough Macnean to arrive in Ballyshannon.

Sligo Ballyshannon elv

3

Ballyshannon Loop 50km / +444m (L, S) The coastline north of Ballyshannon is a series of coves with beautiful sandy beaches separated by low rocky headlands. Following the coast leads you to Donegal Town with its castle, its craft market and its bustling Diamond (town square). North of the town is Lough Eske and the option to ride a beautiful roller coaster loop around the lake – there is a lovely lakeside hotel which makes for a great lunch stop. The return to Ballyshannon from Donegal Town is through the Pullens – a remote upland of lake - dotted moorland.

Ballyshannon loop elv

4

Ballyshannon to Belcoo 46km / +413m (L) Riding inland from Ballyshannon you find yourself hugging the northern shore of Assaroe Lake en route to Belleek in Northern Ireland. The village is home to the Belleek Pottery and if their world renowned products are to your taste you will certainly want to stop off for a visit. Leaving the village you pedal south to Lough Melvin and on to Garrison. The route from here follows very minor country lanes to Kiltyclogher and then climbs to afford great views over Lough Macnean before dropping down to Belcoo. Just across the river is Belcoo’s twin village of Blacklion in the Irish Republic.

Ballyshannon belcoo elv

5

Belcoo Loop 57km / +682m (S) The Belcoo loop ride takes you on a circuit around Cuilcagh Mountain which is the focal point of the Cuilcagh Mountain Park to the south of Belcoo. On the ride south from Belcoo you pass the spectacular Tullydermot Falls en route to the village of Swanlibar where you can find refreshments. Turning north you arrive at Florencecourt stately home and estate. The last leg of the ride takes you up to Marble Arch Caves – the site is a Unesco Global
Geopark. As part of the tour of the caves, there is an underground boat trip

Belcoo loop

6

Belcoo to Boyle 58km / +433m The first leg of the ride takes you on lanes that parallel the county boundary between Leitrim and Cavan to Dowra the the northern end of Lough Allen. From the village you follow the eastern short of the lough, enjoying wonderful views across the water to Corry Mountain and Kilronan Mountain. At the southern end of the lough you should arrive in Drumshanbo in time for lunch before striking out west across country to Knockvicar on on to Lough Key Forest Park. You can ride through the 19th century parkland with its majestic trees, follies, bridges and canals and emerge at Boyle Abbey.

Belcoo boyle elv

7

Boyle to Sligo 59km / +491m Passing Boyle Abbey again as you leave the town , you ride north – first along the western short of Lough Key and then beside the eastern shore of Lough Arrow – passing through the sleepy hamlets of Riverstown and Ballintogher. Just after Ballintogher you can ride north for a vista of the Lake Isle of Inishfree on Lough Gill – immortalised in the poem by Yates of the same name. As you approach Dromahair, Creevylea Friary is a medieval Franciscan friary and a designated national monument. From Dromahair you follow the shores of Lough Gill to Parkes Castle, once an important stronghold of the local O’Rourke family, which has been recently restored to its original 17th Century style. From here the last leg takes you back to bustling Sligo and the end of your journey through this magical part of Ireland.

Boyle sligo elv

Route Map

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;


Getting there

The most convenient international airport is Dublin Airport.
There is a regional airport at Ireland West Airport.
Sligo has direct rail links with Dublin (Connolly Station) operated by Irish Rail.
Bus Eireann operates intercity and regional bus services throughout Ireland. Ulsterbus operates buses from Belfast to Sligo.


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.

The latter half of September sees the change to autumn colours.

Core Tour Cost €765
Luggage transfers €310 (per couple)
Hybrid Bike Rental €135
Touring Bike Rental €160
Road Bike Rental €190
E-Bike Rental €225
Single Supplement €245


€765 is the cost per person sharing. The cost includes the following (unless stated otherwise)

  • 7 nights' accommodation with breakfast
  • Pre-trip planner
  • Routes in the form of highlighted maps and cue sheets
  • Telephone support
  • Meet and greet (if you are renting bicycles)


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 = €310 (155 per person based on two people sharing)
    2. Total cost for three riders = €310 + 40= 350 (117 per person)
    3. Total cost for four riders =€310+ 40 + 40 = 390 (97 per person)

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

Please note that whilst we will try our best to provide you with the exact bike as listed below, due to availability or sizing issues we may not always be able to. The bike you will receive will be of a very similar spec and always in very good condition.

Trek FX hybrid

  • 5 frame sizes
  • FX Alpha Gold Aluminium
  • FX Alloy fork
  • 27 speed

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip).

Fitted with: Rear rack; platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders (mudguards)

Equipment provided: Handlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool.

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

Ridgeback Panorama Touring Bike

  • Full shimano drive
  • Disc brakes
  • Full length mudguards
  • 27 Speed.

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip)

Fitted with: Rear rack; platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders (mudguards)

Equipment provided: Handlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool.

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

Fuji Sportif Road Bike

  • A2-SL double-butted alloy frame
  • Shimano Sora 2x9 components
  • Vittoria Zaffiro 700x30c tires

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip)

Fitted with: Platform pedals, bottle cage,

Equipment provided: map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool, frame bag

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

Fuji E-Traverse E-Bike

  • Suntour NEX disc fork
  • Bafang H400 rear hub motor
  • Bafang 5 mode LED display w/walk assist
  • Shimano Gearing

Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip).

Fitted with: Rear rack; platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders (mudguards)

Equipment provided: Handlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool.

Available on request: Panniers, helmet, odomoter, gps unit

Next Steps

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+44 (0) 7780 496969