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Ireland County Clare & Connemara Bike Tour

  • Kylemore Abbey, Ireland
  • Riding with sheep friends
  • Castle Ireland
  • Mountain Ireland
  • Biker and ocean view
  • Ready to bike by ancient gate
  • Stone wall in Ireland
DURATION
7 Day(s)
DAILY BIKING
11 to 39 miles
TRIP DIFFICULTY
2-Easier to Intermediate
REVIEWS
STARTING FROM
$3595
SINGLES ADD FROM
$500

Trip Overview

“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.

Itinerary

From start to finish, check out the route.

DAY 1 - Arrival Day
Distance: 11 miles | Terrain: Easier | Gregans Castle Hotel
Arrive at Shannon Airport. Discovery Bicycle Tours will provide transportation to Gregans Castle Hotel. After lunch, there will be a bike fitting and safety instructions followed by an afternoon warm-up ride. You cycle country lanes through County Clare’s “Burren” (a unique and beautiful limestone region with a remarkable set of plants and animals) and have opportunities to explore a 16th-century tower house castle and enjoy a pint at a local pub while listening to traditional Irish music.
DAY 2 - Cliffs of Moher
Distance: 25 miles | Terrain: Easier to Intermediate | Gregans Castle Hotel
You bike through charming Doolin — one of Ireland’s premier music towns — on your way to enjoying a spectacular oceanside ride to Ballyvaughan. After lunch, local guide Shane Connolly … a Renaissance Irishman with expertise in archaeology, botany, and local history … will lead an amusing stroll in search of the “true” Burren. Not to be missed!
DAY 3 - The shores of Galway Bay
Distance: 23 or 30 miles | Terrain: Easier to Intermediate | The Quay House
Our route brings us past Celtic iron age forts as well as the famous Neolithic Poulnabrone portal dolmen on our way to the shores of Galway Bay. After visiting the ancient sites, you stop in for a cup of hot chocolate at the enticing Hazel Mountain Chocolate Factory before cycling around the picturesque Flaggy Shore. After a group lunch at the fabulous Lobster Bar, you take a motor coach to our evening destination — the music-rich town of Clifden in County Galway’s Connemara region.
DAY 4 - Connemara region
Distance: 32 or 39 miles | Terrain: Easier to Intermediate | The Quay House
From Clifden, you take a road leading through peat bogs and past fishing weirs to the town of Roundstone, a lovely fishing village with excellent local pottery and jewelry, as well as the workshop where Malachy Kearns makes his world famous Bodhram drums. In the evening you enjoy more music in Clifden.
DAY 5 - Letterfrack
Distance: 27 miles | Terrain: Easier to Intermediate | Rosleague Manor
Departing the Quay House, you ride along the famous Sky Road, past Clifden Castle and circumnavigate another peninsula, toward the town of Cleggan as you make our way toward Letterfrack. Your destination is the utterly regal Rosleague Manor Hotel — a gorgeous estate house tucked into a quiet woodland setting overlooking the bays at the foot of the Twelve Bens, the Connemara’s majestic mountain range. Relax in the inn’s pub before dinner and enjoy this hidden gem of Ireland.
DAY 6 - Majestic Moaamturk mountain views, plus lots of ewes.
Distance: 28 miles | Terrain: Easier to Intermediate | Rosleague Manor
Ride along Killary Harbor and in the valleys of the Maamturk Mountains for expansive views as well as getting up-close-and-personal with a host of sheep along the route. Visit the beautiful Benedictine Kylemore Abbey with their award-winning restaurant and stunning walled Victorian garden.
DAY 7 - Departure Day
After an early breakfast, Discovery Bicycle Tours will transport you back to Shannon Airport or to Galway for further transit by train or bus. Please note that even with an early start you will not arrive at Shannon Airport earlier than noon, so please book return flights accordingly. For suggestions or travel hints on post-tour adventuring or sorting travel by bus or train, please contact our office.

Itinerary

From start to finish, check out the route.

DAY 1 - Distance: 15 miles | Terrain: Easier | Fairfield Inn
The tour starts and ends at the Hilton Garden Inn, Pittsburgh Airport.
Arrival Day
If you plan to drive, we can recommend nearby locations to leave your car. If you fly in or arrive via Amtrak, get a ride to the Hilton Garden Inn. We meet there at 9:30 a.m for a 10 a.m. departure to drive 2 hours to Cumberland, MD. After lunch along the way, we arrive at mile 0.0 of the GAP trail, where we stay at the Cumberland Fairfield Inn and Suites. We’ll change into biking gear and shuttle 20 minutes to the C&O Canal Trail and cycle back into town. This historical treasure of a trail begins in Washington, DC, and ends in Cumberland. The canal was finally abandoned in the 1920s having lost the battle for relevance with the railroads. Dinner is at a local Italian restaurant.
DAY 2 - Today features some of the most spectacular vistas of the trip, along with the one challenging climb.
Distance: 10, 22 or 32 miles | Terrain: Intermediate or Easier | Yoder’s Guest House
As the rail trail winds out of Potomac River valley toward the crest of the Eastern Continental Divide, you can see rolling mountains in all directions. The trail crosses the Mason-Dixon Line, which is a nice spot for a break. Then it’s on to the Big Savage Tunnel and the highest elevation of the tour. After cresting the divide, there’s a fun downhill roll into the historic town of Meyersdale. You can choose to ride the full 32 miles, ride a van to the very top of the climb or ride a van for one-half of the climb. Lunch is a picnic and dinner is at the inn.
DAY 3 - Tuesday is a layover day, featuring a trip to the Flight 93 National Memorial and an optional 25-mile bike ride back to the GAP Trail.
Distance: 0, 12 or 25 miles | Terrain: Easier | Yoder’s Guest House
This National Park Service site honors the 40 passengers and crew lost on 9/11. We’ll have time to explore the visitor center, the newly opened Tower of Voices, the Wall of Names and the 40 Memorial Groves. Following the site visit, you can choose to cycle 12 miles to lunch or take the van to lunch in Berlin, PA. Then cycle or van back to the GAP Trail — featuring farm country views and mostly downhill, quiet roads back to the trail at Garrett and on to nearby Meyersdale.
DAY 4 - After a hearty breakfast at Yoder’s, we cycle along the rail trail into thicker forests and deeper river valleys.
Distance: 41 miles | Terrain: Easier | Yough Plaza Motel
The Cassleman River joins the Youghiogheny in the town of Confluence, where the larger and deeper valley takes us away from small towns and into the Ohiopyle State Park. This is the area where George Washington fought for the British in the French and Indian War in the 1760s. The plunging waterfalls and soaring ridges remind you of why this was America’s Northwest Frontier in the late 1700s. Take your time along this stretch of trail and enjoy the views of the river far below before we roll into the town of Ohiopyle, where river rafting vies with bicycling as the main tourist draws. We’ll enjoy dinner at a pub followed by a night at the rustic Yough Plaza Motel, just steps from the trail.
DAY 5 - Rapids, rail trails and rolling rivers.
Distance: 46 miles | Terrain: Easier | Bright Morning Bed and Breakfast
Rolling out of Ohiopyle, we continue through the State Park and pass across beautiful, historic rail trail bridges over the Youghiogheny rapids. We enjoy lunch in the first large town since Maryland — Connellsville, PA. The trail and river run right through the historic downtown. From there, rural farm country edges closer to the river and we see occasional small towns until we cycle into historic West Newton. Bright Morning Bed & Breakfast is a collection of four historic Colonial Era houses right beside the trail, and it’s a great location for our final evening together.
DAY 6 - Departure Day
Distance: 32 miles | Terrain: Easier
We bike out of farm country by mid-morning and into suburbs and cycle through a recovering industrial area along the Youghiogheny. It joins the Monongahela in McKeesport, and ride along this majestic, ship-going section of the river. We stop in historic Homestead for lunch and then cross the famous Hot Metal Bridge into downtown Pittsburgh, arriving at the Point State Park and the end of the GAP Trail. Following your ride, we transfer you back to the Heinz History Center area, where it is a short transfer to many great Pittsburgh hotels, the Amtrak station and the airport.

Map

Ireland tour map

Dates & Pricing

Make your reservation with confidence. Your tour is completely 100% refundable until the final payment due date.

Start End Cost Availability
Jun 07, 2020 Jun 13, 2020 $3595.00 Available! Reserve Reserve
Jun 21, 2020 Jun 27, 2020 $3595.00 Hurry! Filling up! Reserve Reserve

What’s Included

All excursions, most entry fees, 6 nights' lodging, 6 breakfasts, 5 dinners (you are on your own for dinner one night in Clifden), guided tour of the “Burren”. All gratuities for accommodations and included meals, detailed maps and itineraries, experienced guides, full van support - plus use of a bicycle and helmet. Free transfer from/to Shannon International Airport. Airfare is not included.

Dates & Pricing

Make your reservation with confidence. Your tour is completely 100% refundable until the final payment due date.

Start: Jun 07, 2020
End: Jun 13, 2020
Cost: $3595.00
Availability: Available!
Reserve
Start: Jun 21, 2020
End: Jun 27, 2020
Cost: $3595.00
Availability: Hurry! Filling up!
Reserve

What’s Included

All excursions, most entry fees, 6 nights' lodging, 6 breakfasts, 5 dinners (you are on your own for dinner one night in Clifden), guided tour of the “Burren”. All gratuities for accommodations and included meals, detailed maps and itineraries, experienced guides, full van support - plus use of a bicycle and helmet. Free transfer from/to Shannon International Airport. Airfare is not included.

Inns

Where you stay along the way.

Gregans Castle Hotel
Gregans Castle has been welcoming guests since the 1940s and has been operated by the same family since 1976. The stunning 18th century manor house is set in its own established and lovingly-attended gardens on the Wild Atlantic Way, and has spectacular views that stretch across the Burren hills to Galway Bay.


Inside, you'll find welcoming open fires, candlelight and striking decoration ranging from modern art, to antique furniture, to pretty garden flowers adorning the rooms.
The Quay House
Built for the Harbour Master nearly 200 years ago, The Quay House has been sensitively restored and now offers guest accommodation in fifteen bedrooms (all different) with full bathrooms – all but three overlook the Harbour. Family portraits, period furniture, cosy fires and a warm Irish welcome make for a unique atmosphere of comfort and fun.

The Quay House is Clifden’s oldest building, dating from C1820. It was originally the Harbour Master’s house but later became a Franciscan monastery, then a convent and finally a hotel owned by the Pye family. Now providing Town House Accommodation in Clifen, it is run by the Foyle family, whose forebears have been entertaining guests in Connemara for nearly a century. All rooms are individually furnished with some good antiques and original paintings; several have working fireplaces. All have large bathrooms with tubs and showers and there is also one ground floor room for wheelchair users.
Rosleague Manor
Tucked away near the beautiful Connemara town of Letterfrack, just 15 kilometres from the buzzing town of Clifden, the Manor has been discreetly converted in to a first class hotel by its owners and proprietors, The Foyle Family, with meticulous care and attention to detail to retain its 19th Century charm and character.

Enjoy a unique dining in Clifden experience amidst open log fires and historical paintings – retire to one of our drawing rooms and enjoy a nightcap – or take to the Victorian conservatory and savour some afternoon tea.

Minutes from Kylemore Abbey, The Twelve Bens, Lough Inagh and the 5,000 acre Connemara National Park, this Letterfrack hotel is ideally situated for the most discerning explorer. Look no further for Clifden Hotels.

Inns

Where you stay along the way.

Fairfield Inn
A gem among Cumberland hotels, Fairfield Inn & Suites is perfectly situated near I-68 and just minutes to Frostburg State University, Allegany College, C&O Canal, Downtown Cumberland, Jack Nicholas Signature Golf Course, Cumberland Country Club, CSX Terminal and the Maryland Mountains. Get a great night's rest in one of our comfortable rooms or suites and enjoy many thoughtful free amenities.
Yoder's Guest House
It doesn’t matter where you’re from or where you’re going, Yoder’s Guest House is the perfect place to relax, refuel, and recognize the beauty of your journey.


Each of their 11 guest rooms has its very own private bathroom. continental breakfast, wireless internet access, and ADA compliance make Yoder’s an extremely accommodating and relaxing experience for everyone. In the evening, guests relax in the historic doctor's library, play board games in the dining room and appreciate the company of other friendly guests.
Yoder's Guest House
It doesn’t matter where you’re from or where you’re going, Yoder’s Guest House is the perfect place to relax, refuel, and recognize the beauty of your journey.


Each of their 11 guest rooms has its very own private bathroom. continental breakfast, wireless internet access, and ADA compliance make Yoder’s an extremely accommodating and relaxing experience for everyone. In the evening, guests relax in the historic doctor's library, play board games in the dining room and appreciate the company of other friendly guests.
Yough Plaza Motel
Bright Morning Bed and Breakfast
Gracious and welcoming, the owners of Bright Morning B&B provide an opportunity for a relaxing stay in their comfortable and well-kept inn. The cozy, quaint rooms are individually decorated, all with private baths, and their breakfasts will have you ready for your ride!

Guests say …

Quotes from guests about this tour:

 

The tour was fantastic in every way and the fact that most of the guests had participated in other Discovery Bike tours says a lot!! The guides communicated to us all the necessary details and gave us options to meet our needs and interests. They went above and beyond in everything.

Rhonda B.


"Barb and Bill really made this trip a memory to treasure for years to come."

Dianne S.


"I really enjoyed the scenery, mules, sheep, cows and flowers on the less-traveled roads."

Sam and Trish.


"The guides are great. As always once I connected with the tour I could relax and just enjoy the beauty and how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to go on a tour to begin with. The bike routes on the quiet roads and scenery were exactly what I hoped to see and experience!"

Pamela C.

Gallery

Images from this tour. Click each to see it larger.

Kylemore Abbey, Ireland Riding with sheep friends Castle Ireland Mountain Ireland Biker and ocean view Ready to bike by ancient gate Stone wall in Ireland