This is a remarkable part of Ireland with an amazing history and a haunting landscape that is quickly changing as this part of Ireland attracts more visitors.
First the good parts: we were a family of six and had a wonderful biking vacation. The people at Connemara Adventure Tours were very helpful and kind. Specific thanks to Conor and Chloe who were so thoughtful as we arrived and set out on our first day. There were no issues with baggage transfers etc.
But here are a few critical things to consider before booking this trip.
1. Clifden is the only true town on this trip and yet only the first and last nights are spent here. If you are looking for music, as an example, it will be difficult (if not impossible) to find at the other destinations. In Clifden there are several pubs with music every night of the week and a much wider selection of eating options.
2. The idea of a Connemara Loop is nice in concept when looking at the map but the B&Bs we experienced were not at all consistent and a couple just seemed cheap considering what we paid. One happy exception was Connemara Country Lodge on our last evening. "Singing Mary", the host, was the epitome of Irish hospitality.
3. At €900 ($1000) this is not an inexpensive trip for six people. But if I had friends wanting to repeat this trip, I would suggest they find a good bike rental in Clifden (€100/week per person). Get a nicer B&B or house rental in Clifden and stay put and bike north and south from there. And then work with a local guide to plan daily loops that align with the ability and interest of your group. It would also be easier to manage the weather issue since this part of Ireland is often cloudy and wet.
4. The maps and assistance by Conor on routes and restaurants along the way were very helpful. But the condition of the bikes were just average. And when they charged for panniers and "souvenir" water bottles as we prepared to leave, I felt nickel and dimed. Note to Connemara: when a family pays more than $6k for a week of cycling, kick in the panniers and water bottles or price accordingly so basics are not being charged. Grrrr.
Our family biked through Normandy earlier in the summer and the bikes and hotels were far better for a minor increase in cost. The lesson for me is that our next bike tour will be direct with a local operator so costs, routes, equipment and expectations about hotels and restaurants are better aligned.