Explore the most scenic roads of Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way on this self-guided cycling tour. Meet friendly locals and take time to immerse yourself in Irish culture. On this excursion, you will discover breathtaking beaches, rugged cliff-lined coastlines, and majestic mountains. Spend your evenings in the homes of traditional Irish hosts, where you will learn the local, Irish way of life and be treated to warm hospitality!

Highlights

  • Discover the golden beaches and rugged coastline of Achill Island
  • Ride the open coast to the oldest Neolith, 5,000-year-old Ceide Fields
  • Enjoy the views and local wildlife at Ballycroy National Park
  • Take in the stunning sunrise over Clare Island

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Ballina Ballina
Day 2 Ride to Ballycastle Ballycastle
Day 3 Ride to Kilcummin Kilcummin
Day 4 Ride to Blacksod Blacksod
Day 5 Ride to Bangor Erris Bangor Erris
Day 6 Ride to Achill Island Achill
Day 7 Tour Achill Island and Travel Back to Ballina Ballina
Day 8 Depart from Ballina  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Ballina

Ballina
Ballina

Welcome to Ireland! Your local guide will be waiting for you at the bus station in Ballina. Your guide will drive you to the family-owned Brigown Bed & Breakfast, which will be your home for the night. Here, you can capture stunning views overlooking the River Moy and Belleek woods. Expect warm hospitality from your host family, who will get you settled with tea and fresh-baked treats.

In the evening, you can participate in a Whiskey Appreciation Session along with your guide, where you will learn about the craft of Irish whiskey and have your first taste the unique, native styles. You can also head down to a nearby local pub for a pint.

For dinner, you have your pick of restaurants, from local favorites to award-winning eateries. Some ideas to choose from include the Downhill Inn Restaurant & Hotel, Bistro at Hotel Ballina, and the Kitchen Restaurant at Mount Falcon Country House.

Make sure to fuel up. Your cycling journey begins tomorrow!

Day 2: Ride to Ballycastle

Ballycastle
Ballycastle Beach

Good Morning! Today, your host will cook up a delicious, wholesome breakfast with a view.

When you are ready to ride, you can begin your biking journey from Brigown Bed & Breakfast to Ballycastle. Follow the path along the famous River Moy and watch the salmon jump! Your first stop is at the Connacht Whiskey Distillery, where you can experience a distillery tour and learn about the craft of Irish whiskey making, and of course, sip a taste of the hometown spirit. 

Next, warm your legs back up by cycling along the Greenway through the Belleek woods and exploring the monasteries of the Moy, Rosserk Friary, and Moyne Abbey. Then, you will arrive in the historic fishing town of Killala.

After stopping off for a must-have Irish coffee paired with a scone at On the Way Café, travel along the Wild Atlantic Way, passing the golden sandy beaches of Lacken Strand and Dun Briste, which are the iconic sea stack and cliffs of Downpatrick Head. 

Enjoy a calm evening and a warm Irish welcome in a family-run guesthouse in an idyllic coastal setting. For dinner, savor a typical Irish meal at ‘home,’ or you can take a stroll into the country town of Ballycastle to experience the Irish country pub life. Some of the town’s most notable pubs include Harbour Bar, Anglers Arm, and the Glenshesk Bar.

Cycling Distance: 24.5 miles

Day 3: Ride to Kilcummin

Coastline
The rugged coastline of Mayo

Today, you will follow along the open coastline and clifftops, where you will discover the Ceide Fields, a 5,000-year-old settlement, making it the world’s oldest Neolith. Look back over the cliffs where the green grass drops off into the Atlantic Ocean. Be at one with nature, where the only traffic is made up of sheep wandering on the roads. Stretch out your legs on one of Ireland’s most breathtaking coastal trails.

In Killcummin, you will learn of the regular fishing culture, as well as the local artisans. Glassblowing is a known art, and you can visit various shops while you are in town.

Finish off your day in a country lodge out in the wilds of north Mayo. Put your feet up by an open turf fire, savor a drop of whiskey, and enjoy the fresh air.

Cycling Distance: 31 miles

Day 4: Ride to Blacksod

Wild
Wild Atlantic Coast

On the halfway point of your journey, you will find the most gorgeous hidden gems in Blacksod. Cycle along the meandering coastal sheep tracks and explore an area dotted with pristine beaches, where the land meets the ocean.

You can also make a pitstop to stock up on any needed reserves in the bustling country village of Belmullet before heading back into the wilderness. Take a wander into one of the many pubs and learn the craft of pulling a pint of Guinness while hearing tales from the local farmers.

If you are interested in a round of golf, Carne Gold Links offers a challenging round. In addition, you can fish the waters of Belmullet, which are rich with nearly 40 native species!

The evening finishes at the tip of Mayo, among the Irish-speaking locals. Relax by the fire and take a load off with a quiet evening, before you embark on your next leg of the trip.

Cycling Distance: 32 miles 

Day 5: Ride to Bangor Erris

Mullet
Mullet Peninsula

After a big, hearty Irish breakfast in Blacksod, you will set up for the day! You will ride inland today, where you can explore the countryside and explore the region of Bangor Erris, which has been voted as “Ireland’s Best Place to Go Wild.”

If you are ready for a biking break, there is plenty to see and do in Erris, once you arrive. You can:

  • Go birdwatching and fishing at the Barony of Erris.
  • Swim, sail, or surf in Elly Bay Blue Flag Beach.
  • Do the Erris Head Loop Walk.
  • Visit the Mullet Peninsula lighthouse and beach.

Next, enjoy the late afternoon with a pint of Guinness in your homey Bed & Breakfast that overlooks Clew Bay and Achill Island, or you can relax back on the beach or take a dip in the ocean to refresh your body and muscles.

At nightfall, make your way to the local landmark, the Great National Mulranny Park Hotel. Enjoy a whiskey or pint while overlooking Clew Bay at the Waterfront Bar & Bistro. Then, indulge in a nice dinner overlooking the picture-perfect ocean waters at the Nephin Restaurant. A staple on the property, you can enjoy world-class cuisine in a spectacular oceanview setting.

After dinner, return to your cozy Bed & Breakfast and retire for the evening with a good night of rest.

Cycling Distance: 25 miles 

Day 6: Bangor Erris - Achill Island

Mulranny
Mulranny Beach

Your Bed & Breakfast host in Erris will cook up a typical Irish breakfast, so you can gain plenty of fuel to launch into the day.

Continue your ride into the wild of Mayo, passing through the spectacular Ballycroy National Park. Here, you can stop off for a free heritage tour. You will cross paths with many different animals along the way, including many birds, otter, Irish hare, red deer, badger, and plenty of Atlantic salmon. Although you won’t be camping on this field trip, there are plenty of hiking and walking trails, along with the Claggan Mountain Coastal Trail, which includes a beautiful bay boardwalk route and viewing points.

After you have had your fill of the park, enjoy a refreshing coffee and homemade treat in the Ginger and Wild Café. 

Then, get back on the road to rejoin the rugged coastline of Mayo, where you will arrive in the small, idyllic coastal village of Mulranny. Follow the marked greenway from Mulranny to Achill; it is an old railway line that is now reopened just for cyclists–like you–who want to explore!

Then, prepare to be amazed as you experience what it is like to live on an island off an island! Tour around Achill island, where you will discover the hidden golden beaches, stop off at the old deserted villages and learn about Irish culture.

Make sure to stop in one of the local bars for a traditional Irish stew and a pint of Guinness. Enjoy a chat with the locals while listening to traditional music. You can expect to watch the locals dance–and feel free to join along! When it comes to local pubs, bookmark Amethyst Bar, McLoughlin’s, and Mickey’s Bar.

At the end of the long day, relax back at your friendly guest house, and warm up over a pour of hot whiskey.

Cycling Distance: 28 miles

Day 7: Tour Achill Island and travel back to Ballina

Achill
Achill Island

Your final day of cycling begins with relishing the incredible sunrise over Clare Island and a full breakfast with your host.

After breakfast, you can choose one of the many coastal cycle routes to explore more of the spectacular views where the cliff’s edge falls into the Atlantic Ocean; a cycle down to Keem Beach is not to be missed! However, beware of the curious sheep scattered about, who prefer the ocean views to the fields, too.

After lunch, kick back and enjoy your private, luxury bus ride back to Ballina. The scenic drive will take you through the valleys of the Nephin mountain range and Lough Conn. Your local guide will join you, and will tell you all the tales of the local myths and fairies–with a surprise or two waiting for you!

Then, you will arrive back at the Brigown Bed & Breakfast for an evening by the open fire, where you can share stories of your journey from where it all began.

Day 8: Depart from Ballina

Until
Farewell, Ireland!

This morning, you will indulge in one, final breakfast cooked by your Ballina host. Then, your guide will drive you to the Ballina bus station, where you will take the ride to the Dublin Airport and bid farewell to a memorable, active trip spent conquering the Wild Atlantic Way.

Map

Map of Ireland Self-Guided Cycling Tour: Wild Atlantic Way - 8 Days
Map of Ireland Self-Guided Cycling Tour: Wild Atlantic Way - 8 Days