Highlands of Donegal
Donegal Ireland: (ZZ-IR-Cycle03)
is one of the undiscovered gems of Ireland. There is a wonderful mix of
coastal cycling, followed by a highland landscape where you can feel
completely away from it all, before returning back to the coast and the
most beautiful beaches in the country. The light is amazing here, with
a landscape full of browns, greens and purples constantly altering
their tone with the changing light. The pace of life is wonderfully
easy going and the people amongst the most welcoming in the country.
We meet up in the town of Donegal. The following day we start our cycle
by heading along the wonderful coastline towards the Slieve League
Marine Cliffs on our way to the first nights stop, the Irish speaking
village of Glencolmcille.
Over the week we keep to quiet backroads passing some of Ireland’s most
wonderful coastal scenery. Dramatic mountains fall into the Atlantic
Ocean interspersed with some of the most unspoilt beaches you are
likely to find. We continue through a rolling landscape of quiet sleepy
villages and stop in Leo’s pub where Enya and Clannad first sang.
Our cycle brings us through Glenveigh, Ireland’s largest National Park
where conservationists work hard to keep the wild rhododendron under
control. Our rest day is in the seaside village of Dunfanaghy before we
continue on our journey to the bustling town of Letterkenny. Our last
days cycle sees us winding our way back towards Donegal town.
Self Guided Option: N/A
Is on a twin sharing basis in a mixture of family run hotels and guest houses with breakfasts included. Upon booking we need to know whether sharing will be on a twin (two beds) or double (one big bed) basis. Due to the isolated nature of several of the places we stay in, we cannot guarantee the availability of single room accommodation. For people coming on their own we will twin share them with another single person on the tour. In exceptional cases we may be able to provide a single room at a supplement for the week.
We can arrange additional accommodation either before or after the tour for you -prices are on request.
Meals: The guide will recommend a lunch stop each day where a snack lunch will cost between €8 and €12. A group evening meal is organised by the guide each night which costs between €20 and €30. One evening meal during the tour is included in the tour price
Day 1 We start in Sligo where you stay in guesthouses close to the center of town.
Day 2 A 10:00 AM bus will transfer the group to Killybegs, the largest fishing port in the country. After being fitted out with your bike you then begin the tour with a wonderful coastline cycle to our lunch stop just outside of the village of Carrick. After lunch we cycle up to a viewing point of the spectacular Slieve League Cliffs, the highest marine-based cliffs in Europe. In the afternoon we head to our night stop in the village of Glencolumcile passing freshly cut peat drying in the surrounding bogs.
Day 3 Today we head up into wild highland country along quiet backraods with a wonderful open landscape. There follows a wonderful descent into the dramatic Glengesh Valley to the beautiful Maghera Beach. The beach is well worth stopping at for a walk across its glorious white sands to explore the caves of Maghera. You can also go for a swim in the lagoon here before heading to the village of Ardara for a pub lunch. In the afternoon we continue along a quiet bog road before heading to the coastal town of Dungloe where again we stay in local guesthouses..
Day 4 We continue through a rolling landscape through quiet sleepy villages and stop in Leo's pub where Enya and Clannad first sang. Later we cycle toward the spectacular Mount Errigal and stop for lunch at the base of this mountain In the afternoon we cycle up to a wonderful view of the Poison Glen and then descend through an empty mountain-scape towards Dunfanaghy. You have the option of visiting Glenveagh National Park on this afternoon
Day 5 The village overlooks Portnablagh Beach and dunes where you can swim, swing a golf club or take a change of saddle, to gallop down the beach
Day 6 The morning cycle takes you through isolated highland country roads with a tea stop in a wonderful country pub. We stop for lunch in Kerrykeel before cycling up into more beautiful highland country before descending to the Rathmullan from where the last Earls of Ireland fled to Europe in 1607, thus ending the last Irish Order. There follows a nice coastal cycle to our guesthouses in the village of Ramelton.
Day 7 In the morning a coach will bring us down to the village of Garrison. We then cycle via the shores of Lough Melvin and through rolling green fields to Manorhamilton where we stop for lunch. In the afternoon we head south and cycle along Lough Gill to Parkes Castle, a 15th-century Norman Tower House which you are welcome to visit. We then head back into Sligo for a farewell night on the town together.
Day 8 After a leisurely breakfast, back to reality!
Distances: The average cycling distance is an easy 30m (45km ) with longer routes being available each day.
Each of the tours start with a meeting of the group at 6.30pm on the Saturday evening in a central hotel close to the local train and bus station. This is only a meeting point, typically the group will be staying in nearby guesthouses. The guide is able to return to the meeting place at 9.30pm again that evening. After an introductory talk the guide will organize an evening meal and direct clients to their first nights bed & breakfast accommodation.
For those arriving unexpectedly late they can phone our office number in Dublin and the guides’ mobile phone number will be on our answering machine.
We supply 21 speed hybrid touring bikes for the tours.
Repair equipment, helmets (for guided tours only) and front handlebar pannier bag are available for each client.
Clients are required to take due care of any rented equipment (includes bike, panniers, tool kits and helmets), we reserve the right to charge for any damages caused due to loss or negligence.
The average cycling distance is an easy 30 – 40 miles (48- 64 km) with longer routes being available most days. The safaris are suitable for adults of all ages and fitness levels but the tours are not suited for children under 13 years of age.
There are a number of hills on the route but you have all day to do the cycling. You will be provided with a more comprehensive route description and map at the start of the tour. There is an option each day for a variety of longer routes. With the exception of the roads in and out of Killarney, the traffic on the route should be quite light. You should however cycle carefully at all times, especially when going downhill.
The Group, Guide and Back-Up Support
The group size varies from 12 to 20 people . Each group is lead by a local guide driving a support van. She/He will sweep during the day to check on cyclists. In the afternoon they will be gone for about two hours to leave the luggage off at your accommodation therefore may not be on hand to give you a lift, but there is no rush; you have all day to complete the ride. As soon as the guide has delivered the luggage to your accommodation they will sweep back to do a final check on cyclists.
Our aim is to allow you feel like an independent traveller, free to cycle each day at your own pace while at the same time having the security of knowing that a support van is nearby just in case you might need it. Most importantly, our guide is there to help in whatever way possible so that all you have to do is leave your worries behind and enjoy the many wonderful experiences that this cycling holiday has to offer.
Rates and Dates for Highlands of Donegal
7 nights Bed & Breakfast accommodation ( a mixture of hotels and guesthouse) , 1 dinner, bicycle hire , tour guide who drives the luggage van and looks after the tour , maps and all necessary equipment. The tour price includes coach transfers when required during the week, but does not include the optional ferry journeys.
Transfer and Other Options:
Transfer from Donegal Town included
Rates do not include:
Insurance coverage is mandatory. If you do not have trip insurance, you can get coverage locally.
Meeting: Donegal Town
Airport: Donegal, Sligo, Dublin
Transfer: Donegal Town
What To Bring: