Challenging Connemara Cycling Tour
CYCLING TOUR HIGHLIGHTS
- Take up the challenge of greater daily cycling distances with averages of 70km per day. Shorter options are available should you wish to drop down a gear on any day!
- Cycle through deep, sparsely populated valleys and emerge to a coastline strewn with islands at Clew Bay.
- Enjoy a day to explore the heritage town of Westport. While there choose to follow the pilgrim route up Croagh Patrick mountain or learn the history of this eighteenth century planned town at Westport Estate House.
- Spend a night in the village of Cong, renowned as the setting for the 1952 John Ford film, The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara.
Gabriel’s favourite view: Reaching the end of the Doolough Valley, climbing the hill you will come to a monument. Turn to look back over the valley with its deep, dark lake and almost vertical sides. This view changes for me every time I see it.
Your Tour in brief
|This is a 7-day (6 night) tour starting every Thursday from April to October.
The tour starts and finishes in the small village of Leenane, Co Galway.Your Challenging Connemara Tour comprises average cycling distances of 70km per day with occasional hills. Longer and shorter options are available on most days.
Equipment and information:
Full route notes and an Ordnance Survey Ireland map of the area are also provided and explained to you.
You can choose from two accommodation options - 3* hotels or approved B&Bs and guesthouses – where you will enjoy a full Irish breakfast on each morning.
Your luggage will be transferred every day to your next accommodation..
Transfers and travel:
We will collect you from Maam Cross bus stop and bring you to Leenane on the day of arrival. You can make your way from Galway city to Maam Cross via Citylink bus which has 5 daily buses serving this area, on the Galway-Clifden bus line.
We will also bring you back to Maam Cross on the day of departure to connect with the bus to Galway.
Further information on getting to/from Ireland can be found here
Upgrade to a hybrid bike with front suspension - €70 per bike
Your starting point for the Challenging Connemara Tour is in the picturesque village of Leenane, nestled among the Maamturk Mountains, at the head of Killary Fjord. Your route notes and maps will be waiting for you at your accommodation to study overnight. Depending on your time of arrival Conor or Gabriel will meet you to allocate bikes and equipment, otherwise this will be done the following morning. Despite its size there is always a buzz of conversation and craic in the village’s two pubs and a choice of restaurants serving great food from locally-sourced ingredients.
Leenane to Westport - 60 kms
Today, the first day of your cycling holiday in Ireland, brings you to the eighteenth century, heritage town of Westport, Co Mayo. This spectacular and less-travelled route will see you cycle along the shores of Killary Fjord to Aasleagh Falls, through the steep-sided Delphi and Doolough Valleys and on to the coastal market town of Louisburgh. The final part of your journey hugs the Clew Bay coastline in the shadow of the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick to bring you to Westport town (56km with longer and shorter options). You will spend the next two nights in Westport, where you will be spoiled for choice with dining, entertainment and activity options.
Around Westport - Croagh Patrick
A day to explore Westport with so much to see and do! Today you have several options ranging from climbing the holy mountain of Croagh Patrick which has been a pilgrim’s route since pre-Christian times, to visiting Westport House, the ancestral home and estate of the Marquis of Sligo. If you wish to cycle through the surrounding farmland and coastal regions you can take to the 42km Great Western Greenway. This follows the route of the once-vital Westport to Achill railway line which closed in 1937. Alternatively, you can cycle back along the coastline of Clew Bay to Louisburgh, visiting the fourteenth century Murrisk Abbey along the way.
From Westport to Cong - 60 kms
You will leave Westport today for your next destination, the village of Cong in Co Mayo. Made famous by the filming of the 1952 John Ford film, The Quiet Man, and by the presence of the world-renowned Ashford Castle Hotel, it is a quaint and interesting place to visit. Departing after breakfast you will cycle via Aghagower, Tourmakeady, Lough Mask, Finny, and Clonbur and into Cong village (70km). This is a wonderful, long cycle through a variety of scenery - hills, trout lakes, winding country roads and farming villages. You will stay the night in Cong. Here you will find the best of traditional and contemporary cuisine in the restaurants as well as live music in many pubs.
From Cong to Leenane - Between 65 and 90 kms
Today you continue your cycle southwards from Cong along the shores of Lough Corrib, Ireland’s largest lake, and renowned for fishing and boating. At the end of the lake is tiny Maam village from which you will cross a small mountain pass to Maam Cross. The area around Maam and Maam Cross is surrounded by hills and deep valleys and is definitely a place to pause and simply gaze around you. Your journey continues to another breathtaking Connemara valley, the Inagh Valley which is sparsely populated with the road winding along beside Lough Inagh. Your Connemara cycle finishes today in Leenane. It is a 90km cycle but you will have options to make it shorter if you wish. You will stay in the lovely village of Leenane for the next two nights.
Around Leenane - From 50 to 80 kms
There is plenty to see today as you cycle west to Kylemore Abbey, Connemara National Park, Renvyle Castle and finally back to Leenane (50km). The longer option includes a cycle further south to the fishing village of Cleggan and Streamstown Bay (80km). You will visit the world famous Kylemore Abbey, a gothic lakeside castle which is also the site of one of Ireland's finest gardens, a six-acre Victorian walled garden. It was created by Mitchell Henry in tandem with the building of Kylemore Castle in 1867. Connemara National Park entrance is in Letterfrack village where you can climb all or part of Diamond Hill or simply visit the excellent visitor centre and tea rooms. Return to Leenane tonight.
Breakfast and depart from Leenane on your onward journey.
The B&B option means you will get to stay in a family home where the personal touch and attention to detail is second to none. A true Irish welcome awaits you as well as home-cooked food, comfort and a taste of traditional Irish life.
While you may be staying in part of the family home this does not mean that you will not have privacy and high standards of accommodation you require. Cosy rooms, modern facilities and care and attention are what these properties excel in.
When you select this tour you will have the chance to stay in either hotels or B&B/guesthouse accommodation. The 3* hotels that have been selected are all comfortable, well-appointed properties which also boast their own character and style. You may find yourself in a historic manor house hotel, one with a modern twist or get a 'room with a view' overlooking a shimmering lake or a golden beach.
However they all share the same high standards of hospitality and service and will guarantee you a warm welcome, good food and a relaxing experience after your day on the road.
"You are so flexible on the bike. You are free to stop everywhere you want to take pictures, have lunch on a bench close to a loch and if it starts raining you have the opportunity to stop in cute and cosy coffee places for tea and scones until the rain stops. Ireland is a wonderful destination and Connemara adventure tours the best way to explore this beautiful country! The staff is very friendly, helpful and supportive. Thank you for making this journey unforgettable!"
Marian - August 2018
"You have a great team there. From the booking, bike, B&B's and well laid tour & mapping I cannot think of a better way to see Ireland (in low gear)."
James - June 2018
"We had such a memorable holiday, please pass on our thanks to Geraldine and Mary in Cong who were both fantastic to us. They did a load of washing for us when we arrived wet and muddy and also drove us into town. Such welcoming and helpful ‘hostesses’ made our stay all the more enjoyable. It’s a pity we didn’t have more time.
Francis - September 2017
All prices shown are in EURO and are per person.
Double/ Twin/ Triple
Terms and conditions
To secure your booking, we will request 30% deposit per person. Please note this is a non-refundable payment. The balance payment is due 30 days before the tour starts.
If your tour start date is within 30 days of booking, the full, non-refundable payment is required upon booking.
We do not organise travel to/from Ireland. However there is some useful information on our “Getting To Ireland” page.