Explore the West of Ireland on bike with this scenic, 10-day tour of coastal counties Clare, Galway, and Mayo. Cycle along the Shannon Estuary and up the coast to the Cliffs of Moher, where you'll stop for traditional music in Doolin and explore the famous Burren region. Transfer to the Aran Islands by ferry and cycle through this remote and traditional landscape, returning to the mainland via the bustling foodie city of Galway. End the trip in Northern Mayo by cycling through Neolithic fields, visiting a 19th-century castle, and tasting whiskey at Connacht Whiskey Company.

Highlights

  • Enjoy the views across the Atlantic on the Cliffs of Moher
  • Tap your toes to traditional music in the famous town of Doolin
  • Cycle through the traditional sites on the Aran Islands
  • Explore Neolithic fields and castles in Mayo
  • Discover the foodie scene in colorful Galway

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Ennis - Cycle to Knappogue Castle Ennis
Day 2 Cycle Ennis to Kilrush via the Shannon Estuary Kilrush
Day 3 Follow the Famous Loop Head Trail to Kilkee Killkee
Day 4 Traditional County Clare From Kilkee to Lahinch Lahinch
Day 5 Lahinch to Doolin via the Cliffs of Moher Doolin
Day 6 Doolin Loop Through the Burren Doolin
Day 7 Ferry and Cycle to the Aran Islands Inis Mór
Day 8 Explore the Bustle of Galway City Galway
Day 9 Cycle the Ancient Céide Fields in Ballina Ballina
Day 10 Transfer to Sligo - Goodbye!  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Ennis - Cycle to Knappogue Castle

Castle near Ennis, Ireland

Welcome to Ireland! After arriving at Dublin or Shannon airports, make your way to the transport hub of Ennis, the perfect starting point for your cycling adventure in the West of Ireland. There are many ways to get from either airport to Ennis, including buses, trains, and private transfers. 

Settle into your B&B and get acquainted with your bicycle, your mode of transport for the next nine days. You'll also collect your information pack with route descriptions and maps. If you have time, a great way to combat jet lag is with a little exercise. You can enjoy a short circular cycle to Quin and Knappogue Castle, returning to Ennis for your overnight stay.

In the evening, you can explore the city of Ennis. Meander the colorful downtown and pop into a pub for a pint and a bit of traditional music.

Daily Cycling Distance: 19 miles (30 km)

Day 2: Cycle Ennis to Kilrush via the Shannon Estuary

Cycling the West of Ireland

Head out on your first big cycle of the trip, departing Ennis for the town of Kilrush. The route is quite scenic as you cycle along the north shore of the Shannon River Estuary. You'll catch beautiful views over North Kerry and Scattery Island along the way. Don't forget to stop for some photos.

After settling into your accommodation for the night, take time to explore the town of Kilrush, which has a wonderful marina and offers the opportunity to enjoy a boat trip to the famous Scattery Island. There you'll find a wonderful monastic settlement dating back to the time of Saint Senan who lived in the area during the 6th century.

Daily Cycling Distance: 36 miles (58 km)

Day 3: Follow the Famous Loop Head Trail to Kilkee

Cycling along the Wild Atlantic Way

Today’s cycle takes you on one of the region's favorite routes: the beautiful Loop Head along the Wild Atlantic Way. As you leave Kilrush, you'll make your way to Carrigaholt, a quaint fishing village with stunning views of the seaside. Stop here for some photos of the castle along the cliffs.

As you continue along Loop Head, you'll enjoy the views of Shannon Estuary to the east and County Kerry to the south. The route eventually turns north and offers views towards the Cliffs of Moher.

Completing your circuit, you'll end your day in the seaside town of Kilkee which is famous for its long, sandy beach. Grab some fish and chips at the local chipper, and then warm up with a drink in one of the pubs.

Daily Cycle Distance: 27 miles (44 km)

Day 4: Traditional County Clare From Kilkee to Lahinch

Beautiful County Clare, Ireland

From Kilkee, your route takes you along the scenic shores of County Clare. You'll first cycle north through the seaside village of Spanish Point, which takes its name from the stories of Spanish Armada ships washing up on the coastline. Many Spanish sailors who survived the shipwrecks lost their lives ashore to the local chieftain.

This region of Clare is very special for locals and tourists alike. Aside from the stellar coastal scenery, the culture is quite traditional with many of the residents still speaking the Irish language. It's a great place to meet the locals, as many people across Ireland come here for vacation.

As you reach your overnight destination of Lahinch, enjoy the seaside views while chatting with residents in the local pubs.

Daily Cycling Distance: 49 miles (63 km)

Day 5: Lahinch to Doolin via the Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

After fueling up at breakfast, you'll continue your cycle north through the famous Lahinch Golf Course. People travel from all over the world to play golf in this stunning setting, which is complete with a 14th-century castle. You'll also pass through the coastal town of Liscannor, which is famous for its stone work.

Continuing on to the Cliffs of Moher, we encourage you to stop here, lock your bicycles in the secured lot, and enjoy a walk out to these impressive cliffs. On a clear day, you'll be impressed with wonderful views across to the Aran Islands; but you'll find the cliffs just as special even on cloudy or rainy days.

You'll eventually reach your accommodation in the small town of Doolin, a regional staple famous for its amazing traditional Irish music. After settling in, head out to McGann's Pub which features local musicians nearly every night of the year.

Daily Cycling Distance: 23 miles (37 km)

Day 6: Doolin Loop Through the Burren

Exploring the Burren in Couny Clare, Ireland

Today, as you cycle through Northern Clare, you'll experience one of the most spectacular regions of Ireland, The Burren. The landscape is filled with limestone "slabs", rocky hillsides, and a variety of ancient rock formations. You'll have the freedom to park your bike and walk across sections of these “paving slabs” and explore the amazing flora hidden in the cracks & crevices.

The quaint, arts-centric village of Ballyvaughan is a beautiful place to refresh and enjoy some local food. Take a walk out to Ballyvaughan Pier to enjoy views of Galway Bay before returning to Doolin.

Daily Cycling Distance: 35 miles (56 km)

Day 7: Ferry and Cycle to the Aran Islands

Traditional homes on the Aran Islands in Western Ireland

Today you will travel by ferry to Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands. The Aran Islands are a bastion of Irish culture. Irish is still the everyday language of most islanders, making it the strongest Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking region) in the country. Many traditions that have been lost on the mainland have been maintained here. It also has a wealth of archaeological and historical remains, notably its prehistoric stone forts and Early Christian sites.

The Aran Islands have been a mecca for scholars and discerning travelers ever since Millington Synge depicted the islanders’ life in his controversial play, The Playboy of the Western World. People flock from all over the world to experience the historic and traditional island life.

After you enjoy a wonderful cycle around the island, settle into your overnight accommodation on the island. Without light or noise pollution, you'll sleep soundly to the natural tone of the islands.

Daily Cycling Distance: 29 miles (35 km)

Day 8: Explore the Bustle of Galway City

Galway City by Night

Today you'll depart Inishmore via a different ferry route and arrive at the port in Rossaveel. From here, a shuttle bus will transfer you to the wonderful and vibrant artsy city of Galway. Spend the day exploring the colorful streets of this bustling town.

Walk along the quaint pedestrian street and stop into the many locally-owned shops, grab a coffee or tea, or snuggle into a cozy pub. Galway is known for its emerging foodie scene, so take advantage of your time here by trying different cafes and restaurants. You can find excellent seafood at Hooked or try healthy Irish comfort food in Ard Bia at Nimmos. If you're here on the weekend, you can meander the farmers market and taste the local delicacies.

In the evening, pop into a pub for some traditional music. Some of the best venues include the Crane Bar, Tig Coili, and Tigh Neachtain. But if there's no music on in those pubs, you'll find something every night in Taaffes Bar, a favorite amongst tourists.

Day 9: Cycle the Ancient Céide Fields in Ballina

Sea Stacks at Downpatrick Head, County Mayo

Today you'll take the bus from Galway City to the town of Ballina in Country Mayo, which sits just south of Sligo. Enjoy your final cycle in the rugged countryside of Northern Mayo with a visit to the Neolithic site of Céide Fields, an ancient grassy hill with some the oldest known field systems in the entire world. You'll also visit the iconic sea stack at Downpatrick Head.

In the afternoon, you can visit the Connacht Whiskey Company for a tour and taste, as well as a tour of the 19th-century Belleek castle. Settle into your accommodation in Ballina before an evening exploration of the small city.

Day 10: Transfer to Sligo - Goodbye!

Goodbye, Ireland!

After a final Irish breakfast, a short transfer will take you to the transport hub of Sligo where you can continue on your journey independently or return to the airport for your flight home.