Cycling the Wild Atlantic Way, Connemara & South Mayo, 8 Days Self Guided
This scenic tour takes in the highlights of wild and rugged Connemara, Joyces’ Country and South Mayo. The start point and your first night’s accommodation location is the vibrant, bustling and historic city of Galway, easily reached on public transport from the international airports at Dublin and Shannon. The first leg of the itinerary takes you to Oughterard – a small town labelled the gateway to Connemara.
From there you cycle through the south Connemara countryside to the village of Carna and 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 here it is cycle through the stunningly beautiful Delphi Valley along Doo Lough to the small town of Louisburgh and further to Westport, passing Croagh Patrick-Ireland’s Holy Pilgrimage mountain. This colourful, bustling market town will be the location for your last night.
The tour is suitable for riders of all levels. It can be modified to suit families with younger children and riders of a more leisurely disposition by shortening the longer distances into half.
- Climb Croagh Patrick (Ireland Holy Pilgrimage mountain)
- The wonderful views of the Twelve Bens from the Bog Road
- Sampling the menus in Clifden’s excellent restaurants
- The marvellous coastal ride from Tully Cross to Leenane
- Possibility to partake on a cruise on Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord
- A day in Clifden to hike the Sky Road
- Cultural evening with song and dance (dependent on availability)
- Visiting Kylemore Abbey
- Listening to traditional music in Galway’s famous pubs
- Explore Westport, voted the best town to live in in Ireland
Price includes: (per person sharing)
- 7 nights accommodation (with breakfast) in selected B&Bs and guesthouses
- Luggage transfers
- Detailed itinerary including:
route maps, cue sheets and written directions
directions to and contact details for accommodations
information about en-route attractions and interest sites
details of en-route services including suggested refreshment stops
information about trailhead town, staging towns and destination town
- Bicycle Rental (24/27 gear hybrid touring bicycle, tandems available)
- Personal Meet and Greet
- Trip preparation information
- To lengthen the tour, think about spending another night in Galway before the riding,or Westport to add a trip along the Great Western Greenway and/or a night on Inishmore (the Aran Islands).
- Families with younger children (or very casual riders) can ride routes Oughterard to Carna and Clifden to Leenane as two legs.
- Accommodation in 3* and 4* hotels can be arranged in some or all locations
- Treat yourself to a romantic stay in Ballynahinch Castle Hotel
- Single supplement available for €200 as additional extra
- Guide for 7 days available as additional extra. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- If preferred luggage transfers could be taken out of this itinerary making it a more economical trip. We are happy to supply pannier bags for you to carry your own luggage and we will store your excess luggage.
- Available everday mid April to mid October
- Minimum number of persons required for this tour to proceed: 2
- Subject to availability and terms and conditions. Please see our website www.connemarawildescapes.ie for more information and details.
Please contact email@example.com for more information on the above.
Day 1: Arrive in Galway
(there are regular buses from Shannon Airport or trains and buses from Dublin to Galway).
Stay the night in B&B in this bustling historic university town. Depending on arrival time we will meet you in the evening or first thing the following morning adjust the bicycle for you and talk you through the week ahead.
Day 2: Galway – Oughterard (45km (28mls) climb 268m plus extra along Lough Corrib possible)
This is a relatively short day allowing you to spend some more time in Galway. You head out from Galway on theback roads over the hill to near Moycullen continuing to cycle towards Lough Corrib. Near Oughterard stop for a visit of Aughnanure Castle (a Norman towerhouse open to the public). The extra loop will allow you some beautiful views over the lake. Stay the night in the small town of Oughterard famed for its fishing on Lough (lake) Corrib.
Day 3: Oughterard – Carna (51km (32mls) climb 598m longer option via Costelloe 66km)
The longer 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 to the Irish speaking area of Costelloe, from there you turn north and stay along the beautiful south Connemara coast to the village of Kilkieran finishing in the small village of Carna. The shorter version stays inland before joining
the coast road after Maam Cross.
Day 4: Carna – Clifden (42km (26mls) climb 284m or 59km (37mls) climb 436m)
Continue your cycle along the coast via Roundstone where you can see traditional musical instruments being made by hand. On the way you come past the village of Ballyconneely and the site where Alcock and Brown crash landed their biplane after completing the first transatlantic flight in 1919. There are some very beautiful beaches here. If you still feel energetic there is a wonderful a ride out along the Sky Road to enjoy some sublime coastal scenery. The shorter route will bring you over a wonderful bog road. Stay the night in Clifden, this colourful small town is often labelled the metropole of Connemara and you may enjoy traditional Irish music in its many pubs.
Day 5: Clifden – REST DAY or loop rides (ca 17km (11mls) climb 200m, 51km (32mls) climb 400m)
Enjoy a day out of the saddle perhaps go horseback riding or deep sea fishing. But if you do want to go cycling there is a wonderful a ride out along the Sky Road to enjoy some sublime coastal scenery. Along the way walk to the ruin of Clifden Castle. For the more enthusiastic rider you continue then continue along more coastal scenery to Claddaghduff and Aughrusbeg.
Day 6: Clifden – Leenane (62km (39mls) climb 409m – can be shortened to 34km or extended to 75km)
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”.
Day 7: Leenane – Westport (53km (33mls) climb 473m – shorter option 20mls)
From Leenane you head along the northern shore of Killary Harbour and into the beautiful Delphi Valley and past the very atmospheric Doolough to Louisburgh, one of the homes of Grace O’Malley, the pirate queen of the West of Ireland. From here you follow the Clew Bay coastline east towards Westport. On the way you pass Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s holiest mountain and a popular destination for pilgrims. The steep path to the summit is rewarded by fantastic views over Clew Bay. And yes – you can climb it if you have the inclination (and the energy).
Day 8: Departure
Breakfast, followed by farewell and departure for your onward journey.
End of your cycle safari! Hope to see you back in Connemara very soon for another Wild Atlantic Way tour!