Day 1: Arrival
In Dublin your hotel welcomes you. At 6:00pm we meet in the hotel lobby for a guided city tour through the lively Irish capital. The evening is yours to enjoy.
Overnight in Dublin
Day 2: Dublin – Lisdoonvarna (19 miles/30 km)
After having our first Irish breakfast, a bus takes during a three hour drive to the West coast of Ireland. At the gates of the Burren region we step on our bikes and cycle the first kilometers on the Wild Atlantic Way. One of Oliver Cromwell’s trusted friends‘ described the burren region somewhat macabre in the 17th century: No tree to hang a man, no pond to drown him, no soil to bury him.
In the late afternoon we reach Lisdoonvarna, with almost 750 inhabitants capital of the region and famous for the only health spa of the country and especially for the biggest marriage market of Europe, the Matchmarking Festival, which always takes place in September. The hotel awaits us. For dinner we meet in the excellent hotel restaurant.
Overnight in Lisdoonvarna
Day 3: Burren region loop (28 miles/45 km)
After breakfast, we cycle through the Burren region, a primal karst landscape with an unexpected opulent flora. This completely traffic free bike trail with its continuous slight ups and downs is of exceptional fascination. We visit the Poulnabrone Dolmen, an impressive sign of settlements in the Neolithic Age. Our next destination is Kilfenora, very famous for its Cathedral, a partly restored ruin of the 12th century and still used by the Anglican commune. Nearby, we find three richly ornamented Celtic high crosses, among them the Doorty Cross in front of the western portal.
After a particularly nice, even though hilly route, we find ourselves at the rim of a high plateau on the Cliffs of Moher, a cliff line of 250 m/800 ft height and 8 km/5 miles length, fighting incessantly against powerful breakers. After a walk among the impressing rock formations, we can choose whether to go by bus or by bike back to our hotel, where we will again be pampered in the restaurant.
Overnight in Lisdoonvarna
Day 4: Lisdoonvarna – Aran Island – Clifden (6 miles/10 km + 2 miles/3 km hiking)
After having breakfast we cycle to a jetty in Doolin and take a ferry to Inishmore, the biggest of the three Aran Islands (in bad weather conditions there could be cancellation of the ferry services). A never-ending tangle of low stone walls covers the island in order to protect it against erosions against wind and weather. We walk across the flat limestones, the geological continuation of the Burren.
Our day's destination is Dún Aengus, an over three-thousand-year-old stone fort with a breathtaking view. Today the Aran Islands are famous for its high quality knit wear. Hardly any visitor leaves the island without a well-filled bag of the Aran Sweater Market. In the late afternoon, a ferry takes us back to the mainland. From there we take a bus through Connemara's mystical landscape to Clifden. For dinner we meet in the excellent hotel restaurant.
Overnight in Recess
Day 5: Clifden round trip (31 miles/50 km)
After an ample breakfast, we cycle through one of Ireland‘s most beautiful landscapes of peat bogs and countless lakes. Only once in a while, on coastal stretches, we come across some traffic. In Roundstone, a sleepy fishing village, we enjoy a Guinness or an Irish Coffee in a typical local pub.
On our ride back to Clifden, lovely beaches brighten up the wild vegetation. Given that lunch is inluded in the tour package on Thursday, the evening is yours to enjoy. We highly recommend a stroll through town and a visit to one of the Irish Pubs presenting Irish live music at its best. A must for anyone, as there is a good chance to enter into conversation with some fun-loving Irish.
Overnight in Clifden
Day 6: Clifden – Letterfreck (28 miles/44 km)
With a last look at Connemara’s secret capital, we follow the beautiful Skyroad to its highest point, where a breathtaking panorama awaits us: bays, islands and white sandy beaches appear in magic colors and light. Past Claggadhduff, where every cave is said to have served as a smuggling location in former times, our route leads to Cleggan. From the little harbor, numerous fishing boats still head to sea day in day out. An ideal place to invite you for lunch in a special restaurant.
We continue our tour and reach the Connemara National Park near Letterfreck. The park extends from the ocean to the peak of the Benbaun (729 m). In total, 2000 hectars of uncomparable nature are protected since 1980. In the early afternoon, we are welcomed at our hotel in a beautiful setting next to the Atlantic (two nights). For dinner we will be regaled by the Chef de Cuisine.
Overnight in Letterfreck
Day 7: Connemara loop (25 miles/40 km)
Today’s route might be the most impressive of the tour as it leads through the heart of Connemara. Passing by Letterfleck across Tully Cross, we follow the Connemara Loop, part of the Wild Atlantic Way. Majestic mountains and spectacular beaches alternate with the marshy highland of Lough Fee, where a play of colours creates a magnific atmosphere.
We reach the only fjord of Ireland, the 15 km/9 miles long Killary Harbour, flanked by peaks of up to 800 m/2500 ft. height. It is well-known for is mussel beds of excellent quality. Here we awaited by Joe Joyce with his brilliantly trained sheepdogs. Afterwards we cycle to the Kylemore Abbey, one of the oldest Irish Benedictine abbeys with beautiful gardens. After a visit we head back to our hotel, where we will be awaited for our final dinner.
Overnight in Letterfreck
Day 8: Departure
In the morning a bus takes us in a 3.5 hour drive to the airport of Dublin.