Having cycled all over Ireland, we have found the western coast region including the Burren, Aran Islands and Connemara to have the most spectacular scenery, with a tremendous abundance of historical monuments, a rich and unique culture, warm and inviting people, and surprisingly few tourists. The hotels and food are a highlight with genuine hospitality. This is one of our favourite tours!

Only Great Explorations:

  • Small groups, extraordinary guides, and authentic experiences.
  • A view you will never forget: the one from the Cliffs of Moher, one of the most stunning in Ireland.
  • Learn about the archaelogical wonders of Dun Aengus, the prehistoric stone forts, from a local expert.
  • Order off the menu at restaurants you won’t find in guidebooks.
  • Distinctive, charming hotels too small for larger groups.
  • We design and operate our own trips so there are only good surprises.

Location

Ennis

Ennis, County Clare, Ireland

Day 1

Doolin

Doolin, County Clare, Ireland

Day 2+3

Aran Islands

Aran Islands, County Galway, Ireland

Day 4

Cashel Bay

Zetland Country House Hotel, Lehanagh South, Connemara, County Galway, Ireland

Day 5+6

What’s Included in the Cost of Your Trip?

INCLUDED IN REGULAR TRIP

Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides
Support vehicle
6 nights lodging
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and all dinners but 1
Entrance fees for selected historical sites and museums
Detailed map and route instructions
All baggage transportation
All transportation from initial meeting point to final drop-off (see arrive/depart cities)

Particulars

EVENT DATES

2019

May 5-11
June 16-22 (guaranteed departure)
July 3-9
Aug 17-23
Aug 31-Sept 6 (guaranteed departure)

2020

May 3-9
June 7-13
June 14-20
July 1-7
August 15-21
August 29-4

Self-guided and custom trips also available and can start any day. Call or email for details.

TRIP SIZE

8-16 participants

TOTAL DAYS

7 days / 6 nights

ARRIVE / DEPART

Ennis / Galway

ACTIVITY LEVEL

Easygoing / Moderate
20-40+ miles daily

TERRAIN

Mostly level with some rolling hills

COST

Land Cost (current year):
US $2,550
Includes 6B/2L/5D

Single Supplement:
US $630

Bike Rental:
US $180

Please note: Final itinerary is subject to revision; any changes made are done so in an attempt to provide the best possible trip given route conditions and available services. Due to the nature of our business and exchange rates, prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are U.S. dollars but we gladly accept payment in Canadian dollars also. Due to cancellations and waiting lists, trip availability fluctuates daily. If you have any questions or would like to confirm space on this trip before making your reservation, please contact us at info@great-explorations.com or by telephone at 604.730.1247

Getting There
Ennis – We recommend flying into Shannon airport; we’ll suggest hotels for the night before the tour start in the historical center.


1

Day 1

Ennis

We start our tour from Ennis, a pleasant village in County Clare with an 11th century Friary at its center. On this trip, we offer an optional early meeting time at 2:00 pm for those that are arriving in time (most flights arrive to Shannon airport early in the day). We will do bike fitting and then cycle a warm-up ride outside of Ennis. For those that arrive later, we will all meet at 7pm in the lobby bar of the Temple Gate Hotel and walk to dinner at the Town Hall Restaurant.

2

Day 2-3

Doolin

We start cycling along quiet roads, past enchanting lakes that will give a good introduction to the region. We’ll explore the magical Burren, where megalithic tombs and stone forts are in abundance. In Doolin, we’ll listen to traditional fiddle music at sessions that are authentic and lively. On our second day, we’ll ride the coast road to Ballyvaughan, and after lunch visit prehistoric caves and taste Burren cheese along the way to Lisdoonvarna and back to Doolin. Dinner will be at acclaimed restaurants that will challenge any pre-conceptions you might have had about Irish cuisine.

3

Day 4

Aran Islands

We’ll start our day cycling to the Cliffs of Moher where we’ll marvel at a view that is nothing short of spectacular. Mid-morning, we’ll ferry to Aran Islands. No visit to this part of Ireland would be complete without a visit to Inishmore, where horse-drawn carriages greet visitors, and everyone (including the locals) ride bikes. You will have the opportunity to climb up to Dun Aengus to learn about this prehistoric stone fort, with a local expert. We’ll stay at a charming B&B/lodge that has hosted guests for over 60 years.

4

Day 5-6

Cashel

After a short ferry ride to Rosaveel, we’ll continue past monastic remains in lush countryside on rural roads to Cashel and the luxurious Zetland House Hotel. Next day, our ride continues to Clifden, under the dramatic Twelve Bens mountains. Along the way, we’ll visit Roundstone, where the bodhran instruments are still made by hand and a loop ride along Skye Road, arguably one of the the most scenic routes in Ireland. Back at the Zetland Hotel, we’ll enjoy the comforts of the hotels large lounge in front of a cozy fire before final night festivities.

5

Day 7

Transfer to Galway for flights or extended stay.

Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis

This 4-star hotel boasts an excellent location just steps from restaurants and sites in Ennis. The rooms are comfortable and welcome warm.


Atlantic View House, Doolin

A family run hotel with spectacular views of the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, the Atlantic View House has been recently refurbished to a very high standard. The O’Brien’s have been welcoming guests here since 1974 and with just 12 tastefully decorated rooms they offer comfortable intimate lodging and a friendly welcome.


Kilmurvey House, Aran Islands

This venerable B&B is steeped in history and has been hosting guests for over 3 generations. This eighteenth century home has been recently renovated to the highest standards while maintaining its old style charm. Recent guests have included Hollywood celebrities who come, as we do, for the wonderful hospitality.


Zetland House, Cashel Bay

This 4 star hotel stands on the edge of Cashel Bay in Connemara and is set amid a landscape of mountains, lakes and a sea-coast brimming with white sandy beaches. Truly an oasis of tranquility and warm hospitality, a superb hotel to finish your stay in Ireland.



			

Trip Reviews

September 23, 2008

“The cycling, weather, acommodations, and food were all better than expected.”

June 17, 2012

“Our guide was very good and he did his best to insure our safety and confort.”

August 22, 2013

“The scenery and the people of Ireland were better than we could ask for. It is why we want to go back again. The trip was planned perfectly and made it all the more enjoyable. Brian was a great guide and he helped make the trip more memorable.”

December 5, 2018

“Can’t believe how beautiful Ireland is. Beautiful routes and we lucked out on the weather.”

December 5, 2018

“It was a wonderful trip! I really liked our guide. I heard from others that these rides are better when we have 2 guides, but I didn’t now that and felt fine.”

December 5, 2018

“I had only been on one group active vacation in the past. I came with open mind without set expectations except to have a great time. Mission accomplished! Far exceeded expectations in terms of beautiful scenery for biking. Particularly Connemara. We had a great group camaraderie (easy because we knew each other). The riding scenery was fantastic.”

July 3, 2019

“Superb scenery. The region was more varied than expected – even each day. Guides Veronica and Brian were a particularly wonderful combination. They were organized, upbeat and just made things happen. The maps & route instructions were very good, and we actually followed the routes! Was secure enough that didn’t have to worry (much) if got out ahead or stayed behind to take photos. (Again, guides were very good at stopping at key points in any event). All the hotels were good to excellent. The meals were generally good, some very good. Doolin breakfasts were outstanding. Selected GE based on good experience with prior trip (Camino, most recently) and balance of good riding and local culture. Canadian is a definite added plus!”

October 8, 2019

“Our guide Brian and assistant Gerry made all the difference in our experience. These two guys should be commended for ensuring we had the best ride experience possible! Most accommodations were superb. Very enjoyable trip knowing the weather may throw some curve balls – and it did! Beautiful countryside. Great Explorations mapped a fine course. Comparing to another biking tour operator, who we bumped into a few times, I preferred our route and time in the saddle! The hosts, people in general, were awesome everywhere. Brian and Gerry’s commitment to ensure we felt welcomed was evident. To see the interfaces between hosts and our leads was delightful. Zetland hosts are top notch and heart-warming. Food was great everywhere. Stand outs are Sheedy’s Doolin for their extraordinary breakfast presentation and Screebe House for dinner. Appreciated the whiskey tasting and education at Zetland. The Pearse museum was really nice. Honestly, our experience each and every day was fantastic. Clearly, the guides made this possible. Highly encourage having Brian and Gerry for future rides. Gerry offered personal, profound reading at specific points along the course that we all appreciated – church ruin, Cliffs of Mohr, end of our bike ride- just perfect, and so nice for him to offer a personal touch. Perfect distances each day for our group. It was easier than expected only because we rode Germany last year without ebikes and it was exhausting. Ebikes not necessary for Ireland but a couple days with rain and wind, we were happy to have the ebikes! Did not use the maps. We asked for leads to guide us, and they did. Never really looked at map material. Hands done – Brian and Gerry. Who is asked to lead an excursion like this, can make or break the experience. These guys were wonderful to spend the week touring Ireland. Went with Great Explorations due to two separate, personal recommendations from friends.”

October 8, 2019

“Enjoyed Gerry the most. How informative both Brian and Gerry were. Really appreciated everything they shared and did for us. Excellent food at all locations. Brian historical and current perspective on Ireland was appreciated. Gerry’s reading were delightful. Liked all museums. Did not use or refer to maps/route instructions. Followed leads. Rides were easier than expected. Really good ebikes.”

Leave a Review