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boobyis
Unregistered User
(6/22/05 7:24 pm)

cycling trip to ireland advice


I'm planning to cycle alone around ireland in october, and would love some advice. Places to stay, routes to go, fun stuff to do, etc etc!! I'll be starting and probably finishing up in Dublin for the marathon at the end of october. Thanks for any info!



Michele Erdvig
Administrator
Posts: 3203
(6/22/05 11:57 pm)

Re: cycling trip to ireland advice


boobyis,

How long will you be in Ireland? If you plan on ending in Dublin for the marathon it would be a good idea to get your reservations made. Dublin fills up fast for that event.

Are you looking for hostels or B&Bs? If it's B&Bs I suggest you take a look at my lodging page. My book has many more B&Bs listed in it along with sightseeing, pubs, restaurants, etc. If it's hostels look at my "Links" page under "Accommodations".

You should be doing your reasearch now to find out what you want to see and do. Go to the library and bookstore to browse through guidebooks. Search the Internet for cycling tours as that will give you a good idea of routes and how long it takes to cycle from place to place. Also, you will probably want to avoid major roads and stick to country roads, which can be pretty empty of traffic. Get yourself a good map or atlas.

Tell us more about what you are interested in as that will help with suggestions.

I hope that gets you started on your trip planning.

Michele



Andi
Unregistered User
(6/23/05 2:11 pm)

cycling


Last summer I planned a 2-week cycle trip for myself and 4 friends. Everyone loved the itinerary. It may seem light on the miles, and you can certainly do more. We are all women in our 50's, and it was perfect for us. If you plan to stop alot at various sites, it really eats up the time.
This itinerary is in western Ireland, starting in County Clare, through Galway and into Mayo. It's a loop trip, starting and ending in Ennis, Clare.
IRELAND ITINERARY


June 20 – Arrive at Shannon airport. Ride, taxi or bus 13 miles to Ennis. Overnight in Ennis. Ennis is the main town of County Clare (pop. 15,000). There will be sightseeing available—a friary and museum--and restaurants and pubs. Ennis is meant to be a quaint town and a center for Irish music. For those arriving early, nearby are an important early monastery, Quin Abbey, Dromoland Castle and the Craggaunowen Project, a recreation of early Irish life. These sights could also keep us occupied when we return to Ennis. Since we’re all arriving at different times, some may want to nap during the day and go out at night and some may prefer to just go to bed.

June 21 – Ennis to Kinvarra on the Clare coast. 24 miles. Accommodation will be in the Burren View Farmhouse with the O’Connor family, 3 miles from Kinvarra village. This will be a very easy day. It may be that some of us will want to sleep ‘til noon after the flight, or may arrive later in the day on June 20 and need some time to regroup. This is a nice ride, and can include some stops, or not, depending on energy levels. Kinvarra as I recall is a very beautiful little village on the coast. Our B&B is actually on the Doorus Peninsula, a particularly scenic location. Doorus is also an important location in the history of the “Irish Revival,” a literary movement headed by the poet Yeats in the early 1900’s. I expect we’ll want an early, quiet night tonight.

June 22 – Burren loop trip. Accommodation at Burren View Farmhouse. Option for dinner at Dungaire Castle medieval banquet. Up to 50 miles. This can be a very full day of sightseeing on the Burren. The Burren is a unique natural limestone landscape. There are ancient stone dolmens from the Iron Age, evocative ancient Christian and castle ruins, unusual plants and flowers. There is an interesting perfumery using Burren plants which would be fun, and an indoor exhibit called “The Burren Exposure” to choose from. There is also a forest park called “Coole Park,” the past home of Lady Gregory. Lady Gregory was a good friend of Yeats, and lots of literary types hung out there. The home is in ruins, but the park is meant to be beautiful. Hopefully we will be well rested and eager for a big day. We’ll be riding along the coast and into the heart of the Burren, and have plenty of food at the banquet later. The banquet entertainment at Dungaire is centered around the Irish Revival period of literature and theatre.

June 23 - Kinvara to Galway City (pop 55,000). 17 miles. If possible, St. Martins B&B, ideal city location with a river running through the back garden. A pretty ride along the Clare coast. We might take in some of the Burren sites we didn’t have time for yesterday. We’ll have all day tomorrow to hang out in Galway City. the last 10-12 miles of the ride into Galway City will be less than pleasant, because we’ll be on a main highway. I think this is about the only unpleasant riding of our entire trip.

June 24 – day in Galway City. Lodgings same as last night. Galway City is meant to be one of the youngest, most vibrant cities in Europe. The robust Irish economy has brought alot of young people here. The old part of the city is very quaint and interesting,, and there should be plenty to see and do, including shopping. We might want to have a fun night pubbing on the town.

June 25 – Galway to Roundstone. About 50 miles. Accommodation in Rushlake House with the Nee family in Roundstone. We’ll ride north past Lough Corrib to Oughterard, passing a few old castles, then turn west. We’ll be going through beautiful mountain scenery, then turning south to Roundstone on the coast. We’ll be in the heart of Connemara country, near the Twelve Ben Mountains. The next few days will be our best opportunity to savor Irish countryside. Parts of Connemara we’ll be traveling through are in the Gaeltacht—where Irish is the main language, and signs will be in Irish only.

June 26 – Roundstone to Leenane. 40 miles. I haven’t booked a place to stay yet in Leenane. Leenane was the location for filming of the movie “The Field,” starring Richard Harris. The day’s riding choices include a loop ride along the coast, taking in a couple fishing villages and Ireland’s most beautiful beach. We might spend some time on a beach if the weather’s good, and either a route through Clifden (capital of Connemara) or a ride through the Inagh Valley past the Twelve Ben Mountains, meant to be totally spectacular. Either way, we may take in Kylemore Abbey, a particularly wonderful abbey among forested hills by a lake. Very beautiful and a major sightseeing destination. Leenane is a very small village, so we’ll probably have a quiet night.

June 27 – Leenane to Westport (pop. 4,250). 30 miles. Lodging in Cedar Lodge with Maureen and Peter Flynn, Westport. Today’s ride will cover one of Ireland’s most scenic roads, from Leenane via Lough Doo and Delphi to Louisberg and Westport. We’ll pass Croagh Patrick, Ireland’s highest mountain, and a pilgrimage destination for devout Catholics. Westport is West Ireland’s only planned town, laid out in a grid in the English style. It should be lively at night.

June 28 – Westport to Cong (pop 200). 38 miles. Lodging in Hazel Grove, Cong with Anne Coakley. Today’s ride will be on the east side of Lough Mask, a more fertile, gentle region compared to Connemara in Western Mayo and Galway. Cong is a quaint village on the edge of the lough. John Wayne’s movie “The Quiet Man” was filmed here, and a fair bit of tourism revolves around that. Sightseeing includes Cong Abbey, the exterior of Ashleigh Castle (now a fancy hotel off-limits to non-guests), a trip on the lake, and various ancient monuments. Cong is situated between Lough Mask and Lough Corrib, a beautiful location.

June 29 – Cong to Rossaveal. 32 miles. Ferry to Inishmaan. Accommodations at An Dun with the Teresa O’Flaherty family on Inishmman. A sauna will be available. This will be our last opportunity to see Connemara. I believe a ferry leaves Rossaveal at about 6:00 pm, so we should have plenty of time to get there. We’ll take a 40 minute ferry to the island of Inishmaan. Inishmaan is likely to be pretty quiet at night. The Arans are in the Gaeltacht (Irish language is main language).

June 30 – Day on Aran Islands. One more night on Inishmaan at An Dun. Options for today include walking on Inishmaan, hopping between the islands for a quick view of each, or riding on Inishmaan, Inishmore or both. Inishmaan is only 5k long and 3k wide. The main sight is a huge stone fort from the Iron Age. I hope you will find the barren beauty and serenity of the islands as intriguing as I do. My plan is for us to bring our cycles to the island, although we may end up walking more than cycling because the roads may be quite rough. I don’t think the ferries take cars, so we’ll have to leave it for Ellen to return to Rossaveal and pick up.

July 1 - Ferry to Doolin, ride to Miltown Malbay. 25 miles. Lodging at An Gleann with Mary Hughes family in Miltown Malbay. We’ll ferry over to Doolin (about 30 minutes). I think a ferry leaves at 10:00, and there should be several during the day. Ellen will have a drive of approximately 1.5 hours. I’d like for her to meet us at Doolin or Cliffs of Moher. There is excellent opportunity for walking exploration around Doolin and the Cliffs. Cliffs of Moher are Europe’s highest cliffs and a major tourist draw. Miltown Malbay is on the coast, and we should have a scenic ride with good opportunities for pubs and music in Miltown if desired.

July 2 – return to Ennis. We can do more sightseeing in Clare, or ride directly to Ennis. There is alot to see in the area, and I think we need to return to Ennis 1 day before anyone needs to leave. Last minute shopping could be done in Ennis as well and we’ll have our last opportunities for evening entertainment. Ennis offers some special Irish entertainment in a venue called Glor, which is supposed to be good, or we may prefer pubbing. If someone needs to depart Shannon early on July 3, there should be time to pack up.

July 3 – Prepare to leave. Pack bikes, etc. I think there are enough opportunities for activities in and around Ennis that we will find plenty to do if we have extra time.

July 4 – Goodbye to Ireland.




Michele Erdvig
Administrator
Posts: 3204
(6/23/05 3:45 pm)

Excellent Biking Tour Info


Andi,

Thanks so much for sharing all that valuable info with boobyis. I'm sure it will be of great benefit as he plans his trip.

Michele



boobyis
Registered User
Posts: 1
(6/24/05 3:36 am)

thanks! keep the info comin'


Thanks for the info so far!

I'm planning on being in Ireland for about 4 weeks, starting and finishing in Dublin. I was planning on staying in b&b's, but noticed while surfing the net that a lot of hostels offer private rooms. I'm a 34 year old woman, and spent my time in the dorms throughout australia and europe in my 20's!

I've got some books on order at the library, one on cycling through ireland, another on b&b's, and 2 on sacred and ancient "not so well known" sites to see (right up my alley!)

Thanks Andi for the itinerary you ladies did, it's a great guideline for me to consider, not to mention all the great sites you talked about.

Michele, I'll definitely check out your links to accomodations.

Thanks again everyone!



Andi
Unregistered User
(6/24/05 10:47 am)

cycling


My first cycling trip to Ireland was a solo trip in 1990, when I was about 35. One thing I learned then is that the Irish schedule is a little different from what I'm used to. Typically, people don't start out very early, and breakfast at B&B's will be at around 9:00. Things don't start happening in the pubs until about 9:00 p.m. or even later. So, if you plan to socialize or hear music, it's better to get a late start, continue riding until into the evening, and then go out later. On my first trip, I finished my day by 4-5:00 p.m. and found it a bit lonely during those interim hours. The second time I went solo, I often rode until 8:00 p.m. Evening is a lovely time to ride. I would stop and visit places throughout the day, and just finish the ride later. That way, I could have dinner and go to bed, or go out to a pub, and not get started until a little later the following day. Occasionally, it can be hard to find a B&B later in the day, but I always found something. If you can call ahead early in the day or the day before, you don't have to worry about finding somewhere at the end of a long day.



Michele Erdvig
Administrator
Posts: 3208
(6/24/05 5:22 pm)

Re: cycling trip to ireland advice


boobyis,

Woops! Sorry I thought you were a man. :o I guess it was the user name. Hostels might suit you if you can get the single rooms. I do understand that the individual hostel rooms can fill up in popular areas but in October it shouldn't be that crowded (unless you run into some festival or the Dublin Marathon!). You could always do a mix of hostels and B&Bs. That might be fun.

BTW, I highly recommend The Complete Road Atlas of Ireland by Ordnance Survey. However, if you plan on going in search of really obscure monuments you might want to get the more highly detailed Ordnance Survey maps of each area as you travel around Ireland. They are readily available in most shops.

Let us know how the planning goes. We are always hanging around here ready to dole out advice.

Michele






Andi
Unregistered User
(6/27/05 4:20 pm)

cycling


I also didn't read your post closely enough. Since you're going in October, you won't have the long daylight hours I described.

Also, if you're cycling on the west coast, you definitely want to be coming north to take advantage of prevailing winds, which can be very strong.



boobyis
Registered User
Posts: 2
(8/10/05 8:56 pm)

cycling in ireland


Thanks for all the advice given before! It's officially booked now. I leave for London October 2nd, and will probably get to Ireland about 5 days later (visiting a good friend in southeast england first), and return to Vancouver Nov 8th!

I've bought my bike and my digital camera, and I've emailed tons of companies for samples so I don't need to take full size cosmetic and skin care bottles with me! It seems like every day is Christmas with new samples coming in! I recommend this to anyone. There's a lot of companies out there that will do this for you.

I'm pretty sure I'll be flying into Dublin, and heading clockwise around the country. I think I'll be staying in mainly hostels, as I'm getting laid off in a month, and haven't started selling my silver jewelry yet! Maybe I'll bring some with me for when I need another pint of Guinness in the pubs!!

I've been reading guide books from the library, and instead of doing the loops like ring of kerry , beara peninsula, etc, I thought I'd go in one continuous line, so I'm not going over the same territory twice (does that make sense, and does that sound like a good plan?)

I want to hit mainly the smaller towns, so long as there's a bed to lie in, and a pub to drink in, I'll be happy!

I'm no longer planning on doing the marathon. Can you think of any fun places to see or do for Halloween? Anything mystical is more up my alley than a halloween party of some sort in a bar.

I found out recently that I'm missing the matchmaker's festival in Lisdoonvarna by only a couple of weeks. Dang, now I'll have to find me my own man!!

Thanks again for all the advice, and any more you can think of would be fantastic, especially now that it's getting nearer, and I'm trying to organize my plans a little bit! :D



Michele Erdvig
Administrator
Posts: 3328
(8/11/05 1:16 am)

Re: cycling in ireland


boobyis,

Great to hear you have your airfare. That makes the trip much more of a reality, doesn't it? What a wonderful idea to get cosmetic samples sent to you. You will leave a trail behind you in Ireland!

Are you going into Northern Ireland? I highly recommend it. I really like the Ards Peninsula and there will be hardly any traffic out there.

Actually, the various "rings" really don't cover the same territory. If you look at a map on most of them you are going in a circle or oval and would rarely cover the same roads.

Do bring some of your jewelry with you. There are plenty of "buskers" as they call them in Ireland that sell things or play music on the streets or at places like the Cliffs of Moher. You might start your career as a jewelry-maker in Ireland. That would be cool.

Off hand I don't know of any festivals going on for Halloween. However, when you are in Ireland just ask around a bit and the locals will point you in the right direction.

It sounds like a grand adventure. If you have any specific questions fire away.

Michele




boobyis
Registered User
Posts: 3
(8/11/05 6:53 pm)

Re: cycling in ireland


thanks again. the only thing i meant about going over the same territory for the rings, is that once you've done the circle, which is all different, you've got to get to the next place, which means you'd be doing part of the circle again, in order to get to the next circle. So it would be like doing a lap, then part of the lap again, to get to the next place! Ooh, this is starting to confuse me...I think I'm getting a headache!!
as for Northern Ireland, I'd really like to get up there. I had no plans to in the beginning, but the ireland episode of pilot guides was on a couple of weeks ago, and the north was gorgeous. So hopefully I'll get up there. I have no set in stone agenda, just clockwise, so the wind is at my back once i hit the west coast!! I'll just make sure I leave a set of keys with a friend here in Vancouver so someone can pack my apartment up for me, and send me my tools and blowtorch so I can make more jewelry!!!



Michele Erdvig
Administrator
Posts: 3334
(8/12/05 2:30 am)

Re: cycling in ireland


boobyis,

I'm a bit confused myself. For instance if you started in Killarney and did part of the Ring of Kerry, stopping for the night in Waterville or Cahirciveen and then continued on the next day back to Killarney you would not be going over even an inch of previously traveled road.

It's late. Maybe I need a drawing. |I

Michele



boobyis
Registered User
Posts: 4
(8/12/05 3:17 am)

Re: cycling in ireland


Ok, right, that part makes sense to me too. But once I wanted to move on to the next part of Ireland, say, leaving the ring of kerry, wouldn't I have to retrace my steps from say, Killarney to the beginning of the next cycle loop? Ok, maybe I need to go to bed, it's almost 2am! I'm seeing cycle loops in my head now. :rollin



Michele Erdvig
Administrator
Posts: 3336
(8/12/05 6:37 pm)

Re: cycling in ireland


boobyis,

If you actually circled back into Killarney for an overnight stay and then proceeded on to Dingle you might cover some of the same road. However, instead of going back to Killarney you could continue on toward the Dingle Peninsula. That way you don't cover the same territory twice. I think you need a really good map.

Michele



boobyis
Registered User
Posts: 7
(8/12/05 7:55 pm)

Re: cycling in ireland


Yup, I think a good map is definitely needed for me!

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