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CycleWest Ireland
Gortnahowen
Athenry
Co Galway
IRELAND

Office: +353 91 877323
IRELAND

Office Hours: 9.30am to 5.00pm Mon to Fri (GMT)  

 

 



TESTIMONIALS:
Read what is bringing our guests back to CycleWest Ireland for more...

Greet the People, Meet the Land!

''My wife and I were used to biking in Vermont, but this was our first guided tour. And a wonderful tour it was indeed. This tour celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary, so Virginia was very careful in evaluating all the possible tour offerings for the West Coast of Ireland.

After much research and some very personal correspondence with a number of companies, we selected CycleWest as the company most likely to provide a breathtaking biking experience, and we were not disappointed.

Fidelma, who runs the company as well, could not have been a more gracious or attentive host. She went well beyond our expectations in personalizing our experience so that sometimes we had the feeling we were the
only ones on the tour. ..she went to remarkable lengths to make our special trip unforgettable.

The biking itself was magnificent, starting in the Burren and riding north via the Aran Islands to Connemara and finally Westport. Coming from Vermont, we were used to cycling among beautiful mountains and lakes, but I must say one day in Connemara stands out as the best biking day  I've ever experienced.

We began at the Lodge at Delphi and went down the valley  with the famine memorial, then along the coast to Westport. Fidelma and her vehicle support were never far away, and she would sometimes stop us to give a guided tour of something important, like Pearse's Cottage (Pearse worked tirelessly to preserve the Gaelic language and was executed
at a young age for his participation in the Easter Rebellion, one early step in Irish independence.), or the site of the (crash) landing of the first transatlantic flight.

 We only had one day of rain in about 12 we spent in Ireland, so we biked every planned day but one. June is a great month to bike in Ireland (is there a bad month?). And on that day Fidelma took us by van to see the key sights.

The food was exceptional, as were our inns. All the people we met were gracious and welcoming. The equipment was excellent, and the biking was extremely safe because of the ingenious routes that Fidelma's father charted years ago.

We think that Fidelma's obvious pride in her company and its growing international reputation made a major contribution to our enjoyment. Coming from Vermont, we realize the importance of living in a stunningly beautiful part of the world.

The Irish people who live on the West Coast are  similarly blessed, and it was a joy to ride through their land and to meet these wonderful and warm people''

Richard & Virgina Munkelwitz, Burlington, VT.


Irish Ayes

An Irish Cycling Adventure, written by Dave White.


The following is a travelogue of an invigorating tandem tour in Connemara with
CycleWest Ireland, by Dave White, San Diego.


Like our previous overseas travel, no doubt of the enrichment factor provided by the core cycling tour around which the trip was planned.   Once again, we opted for a high-end experienced outfit with inclusive package tours and individual options (including self-guided with luggage transfer).  We chose CycleWest Ireland (www.cyclewest.com) operated by Fidelma Ray, who combines a passion of Ireland and biking with a caring touch for individual attention and a desire to bathe her guests in the regional jewels of her homeland.

Our cycling guide Patsy (short for Patrick) was both informative and entertaining, with a bike racing background and magnetic personality.  Part of the entertainment was “translating” Patsy’s Northern Irish accent and unfamiliar phrasing of the English language - Stoker and I would often team up to pick out key words and conversationally repeat back the information.    Patsy has the rare combination in guiding - taking time and energy to encourage and assist less-experienced cyclists along the way, while picking other opportunities to stir the juices in more advanced participants, leading us on optional excursions with bonus rewards.  We shared the group experience with three other engaging couples, one with a 19-year-old son with junior racing background.  All were pleasant and supportive travel companions on and off the road.

The Cannondale Mountain Tandem was selected by Fidelma to complement her fleet of Gary Fisher hybrids, all perfectly suited for the mostly backroad routes.  The roads service all varieties of two-way traffic and vary in width of pavement and buffering foliage.   We encountered everything from super-sized tour coaches to minicars, farm equipment to flocks of sheep, Harleys to pedestrians - all encounters were friendly and safe - although Stoker will admit to a few white knuckles in our travels in a midget Mercedes car for hire, when the sum of the widths of our car and the approaching coach was calculated to exceed the total width of roadway.  Our cycling roads were generally much less traveled than the roads we drove, and all our travels benefited from avoiding peak tourist season (June - August).

 
Irish Ayes (cont'd)

Back to the amazing bike - stock aluminum Cannondale Mountain Tandem with 26” wheels, knobbie tires swapped out for low-profile tread (2.25 inch).  Otherwise stock setup with front/rear disc brakes (great), Shimano triple (22/32/44) 9 speed (11-34), finger/thumb trigger shifters, stoker suspension seatpost, and accessorized with front bar mount and rear rack mount gear bags and stoker map holder.  We added a stoker signaling bell.  We adjusted very quickly to the bike, affixing our SPD pedals and stoker saddle - and constantly enjoyed the nimble performance, bonus standover clearance, and reserve traction for occasional spotty gravel.  Our mirrors were useful, but cycling (and driving) on the left was never an issue.

 Our weather was great, if not entirely typical.  Only full day of rain/drizzle came on a car day after the tour.   Otherwise, occasional overnight precipitation yielded to clearing conditions during breakfast and typical days featured blue skies dotted with puffball clouds pushed by mild breezes and temps in the 60s (F).    Just enough extra weather (spit of rain, dark cloud formations and persistent wind) to add a little flavor. Speaking of flavor, our breakfast and dinner meals (included in package) and service were excellent and accommodations were social and comfortable.   Pubs were most plentiful and contained resources of food, brew, and conversation (or information, if in need).   The Ballynahinch Castle Hotel was idyllic (and yes romantic).

Each day of the tour was filled with Irish treats - encounters in traditional staples of farming and wool production, music making, and medieval forts and castles; and eye-pleasing landscapes like the Cliffs of Moher - punctuated with villages of old-world charm augmented by new-age progress.  Most vivid image of cultural shift was the sight of an elderly Irishman on the “old world” Aran Island, in his horse-drawn cart for hire with cell phone held to ear and conversing to the wind (see photo below).

On the final two riding days, we took options to extend and elevate the route.  We took the Sheefry Pass challenge (popular training and race route) with Patsy and young Riley, and navigated two 700 ft climbs accented with grand views and separated by a descent and valley traverse.    The second climb was Alicante/Fuerte-like, with sections of ever-increasing pitch and legs questioning the decision.  But Stoker delivered and tandem arose to grant more fields of green.  The final day offered more climbing and rollers for tandem delight, as we managed to outrun the ride-ending sweep vehicle, with a final off-route excursion.  With apologies to Fidelma and Patsy (it was entirely unintentional - must have been the Bulmers cider at O’Toole’s) but so was it fun, as was the entire fortnight!

‘This was one of the best vacations
of our lives -
We will definitely be taking more vacations with you’

Greenway West of Ireland.jpg (88582 bytes)

A review by Bicycling Magazine

'This is rebel country, a rugged
landscape of rocky coast
and waterlogged peatlands
that you don't see on the
soft, emerald green wall posters
in travel agencies'.


Read More > (PDF file

JOIN THE CONVERSATION:

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TESTIMONIALS

‘I must say that everything has been excellent. (Five stars*****), even the weather you provided us. Many thanks.’

Mauro and Gabriela Belisario, Roma, Italy

‘This was one of the best vacations of our lives - without all of your timely and thorough assistance, there is no way we would have been able to pull off this trip! We will definitely be taking more vacations with you…’

Barbara and Shane Treadway, Boston,

"Our trip was fabulous!. You really know how to organize a tour for the greatest scenery and    wonderful accommodations. ....the little lanes we spent the majority of our time on were so relaxing and fun to ride on. They also got us into the wilderness and I often felt we were a hundred miles from anywhere!"

Dan Peters & Family, Superior, Colorado

‘Excellent experience. We were thrilled with the first rate tour guide, driver,
support, tailored route//experience to our needs,
historical information….. everything! Ireland was fantastic!

 Kimberley and Darryl Minard, Burlington, ON,

 "My father and I had a wonderful time.  The cycling was adventurous.  I particularly enjoyed cycling on the tiny roads of Connemara---where sheep seem to be the only road traffic in many places.  Your knowledge of the region combined with your dedication to all the details of our trip enabled me to learn about the region, enjoy its beauty and cycle without a worry"

Brian Goldberg, Connecticut,


‘We loved our trip and consider it one of our favourite vacations!  We loved discovering the Connemara region of Ireland…the people and the landscape were wonderful!    Thank you for taking such great care of us too. Thank you Aoife and John for working so hard to give us a fantastic trip. We are still humming our favourite Irish ballads.

Jennifer and Keith Martin, Toronto, ON, 

 

"My favourite day was the cycle from Leenane to Westport, seeing the mountains and fresh water lakes, plus the traffic was very low...."

Michael Lewis, Ohio

"I have decided that Ireland is my favorite place on Earth!  I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the bike tour. It was so beautiful and amazing!  I really want to go again"

 
Kelly Christensen, Colorado

"We appreciate the extra time you spent organising our beautiful Anniversary ceremony. We will remember it for the rest of our lives"

Becky and Dale Utt, Co

"We had such a wonderful time!     It was one of our best family vacations.    It was so nice to be together, and to be outside on bicycles.  The kids would have been bored silly if they were on a tour bus the entire time.   Being on a bicycle is so liberating, and just so much fun.  And Patsy and Elizabeth were just the most amazing guides. Hopefully more families will do this, when they realize just how fantastic it is! "

Kathleen & Patrick Eaton Robb, Connecticut

 







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CycleWest Ireland Ltd   Ph: +353 91 877323
Email: tours@cyclewest.com
Office Hours: Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 5.30pm GMT

Email: tours@cyclewest.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright: 1998 - 201
3  CycleWest Ireland.  All rights reserved.