Yeats Country Bike Tour (12 day)
Yeats Country Bike Tour (12 day)
Let the salty breezes blown from the wild Atlantic fill your senses, or breathe the air richly perfumed by a multitude of wild flowers. Rediscover a sense of freedom as you cycle along quiet country roads where birdsong and the whisper of the breeze are the only sounds. Stand in the court of a 5,000 year old tomb, built by Ireland’s first settlers. Discover for yourself the area that inspired W. B. Yeats to write his beautiful poetry.
Provider: Seamus Gallagher.
Location (see map below): Sligo.
Duration: 12 Days.
Availability: All year.
Requirements: Includes: bike, B&B, luggage transfers, emergency support, guide booklet and GPS units. See route, highlights and itinerary below.
Restrictions: Select a desired date in the next screen or use your Escape Goats voucher at a later date.
What Next? Click purchase, select a date in the next screen and confirm. We’ll make it happen; all you have to do is have a great time! We’ll send you on all the info you need. We’re happy to answer any questions, see online chat/message in bottom right.
This is an area perfect for exploring by bike, with quiet roads, beautiful countryside and unforgettable hospitality. Cycle past shining lakes and through rolling hills. Strike up conversations with the locals — just as Yeats did a century ago. Spend some time in the lakelands of Northern Ireland, where peace now reigns. Discover its tranquil beauty — hidden for so long.
This tour starts and finishes in Sligo — easily accessible from both Dublin Airport and Ireland West Airport. You can choose the full 12 day (11 night) leisurely tour, or an 8 day shorter option. For those of you looking for something a bit more challenging we also have an option of a 6 day moderate tour. Embark on a journey of discovery in this hidden corner of Ireland. Book online now!
Bike Tour Highlights:
Drumcliffe Church, Graveyard and Monastery
Glencar Valley, Lake and Waterfall
Mullaghmore Beach and Harbour
Lakelands of Leitrim and Fermanagh
Marble Arch Caves
Cycling on quiet country roads
Legendary local hospitality
Day 1: Arrive Sligo
Travel to the lively town of Sligo “Gateway to the North West” and forever associated with poet WB Yeats. Sligo has easy transport connections to Dublin Airport, Dublin City and Ireland West Airport at Knock. Explore the town or go for a short cycle to familiarise yourself with your bicycle.
Day 2: Sligo – Strandhill – Sligo. Approx 25 km (15 miles)
Your tour begins as you make your way to the seaside village of Strandhill, famous for its surfing waves. Cycle under Knocknarea, the mountain that enchanted Yeats. If the view from the top appeals to you, a 45 minute hike will take you to the summit. The mound on top is the legendary burial place of Queen Méabh (Queen Maeve). Pass through lush farmland to one of Europe’s oldest and largest megalithic sites at Carrowmore. Stroll among the structures left behind by the earliest Irish settlers. Return to lively Sligo for the night.
Day 3: Sligo to Mullaghmore. Approx 35 km (21 miles)
Leave Sligo and cycle under Benbulben to the beautiful spot where Yeats is buried at Drumcliffe. The churchyard lies on the site of an old monastery and is well worth a visit for it’s high cross and round tower alone. Further along Drumcliffe Bay you will find impressive Lissadell House where Yeats often stayed. Continue under the mountain to your overnight destination in Mullaghmore — overlooking a pretty harbour and beautiful golden beach.
Day 4: Mullaghmore to Ballyshannon. Approx 25 km (15 miles)
From Mullaghmore you cycle along the coast, where lush pastures run down to the seashore. Admire the magnificent views over Donegal Bay. Turn inland and cycle along quiet back roads through forests and farmlands. Follow roads that are just about perfect for bike touring. Alternatively visit the seaside resort of Bundoran. Continue to your overnight stop in the pleasant town of Ballyshannon.
Day 5: Ballyshannon. 42/25/20 km (26/15/12 miles)
Choose from a range of options, or simply relax. Cycle to Belleek and explore “The Pullans” an area of bogs and lakes. (Approx 42 km) Alternatively visit Belleek and take a leisurely cycle back to Ballyshannon along the north shore of Lough Melvin (Approx 25 km). If the beautiful beach at Mullaghmore left you longing for more, you can cycle along Donegal Bay to Rossnowlagh’s magnificent stretch of golden sand. (Approx 20 km)
Day 6: Ballyshannon to Garrison. Approx 26 km (16 miles)
Take a lovely leisurely cycle along the south shore of Lough Melvin to the tiny border village of Garrison. However, if you prefer something slightly more challenging you can take an alternative parallel route where you cycle high above the lake. The views will more than reward you for your efforts. If you fancy leaving the bike for a while, a walk through the woods along Fowleys Falls is a real treat. You can visit the organic centre where a tour will teach you some of the skills and benefits of using locally grown organic food.
Day 7: Garrison to Blacklion/Belcoo. Approx 27 km (16 miles)
Follow the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic as you continue through more peaceful lakelands. Visit Prince Connel’s Grave dating from 2000 BC, but not quite fitting the pattern of the other monuments from the era. Cycle through Glenfarne Wood, where the lapping of the water along the shore and the whisper of the wind in the trees will be the only sounds. Spend the night in the twin villages of Blacklion/Belcoo, one on each side of the border. Here the upper and lower sections of the lake meet.
Day 8: Blacklion/Belcoo. Approx 30/10 km (18/6 miles)
Today you can choose from a number of options. A 30 km loop will let you visit the famous Marble Arch Caves and Florencecourt House. This bike route also affords you great views over Lower Lough McNean and the Cuilceagh Mountains. A shorter but very interesting cycle will take you to the Cavan Burren. Perhaps not as well known as the Burren in County Clare this prehistoric landscape still holds many geological and archaeological surprises.
Day 9: Blacklion/Belcoo to Manorhamilton. Approx 25 km (15 miles)
Time to leave the border area as you follow the North West cycle trail, taking you through forests and farmland along a network of tiny roads. North Leitrim is one of the least populated areas in Ireland, making it the perfect area for touring by bike. A huge variety of wild flowers bloom along the roadsides, the scent will vary depending on what time of year you are here. Wonderful views of the Glencar Valley open up in the second half of today’s cycle. Your overnight stop is in Manorhamilton, overlooked by Hamilton’s Castle from where the town got it’s name.
Day 10: M’hamilton – Dromahair – M’hamilton. Approx 36 km (23 miles)
You are back in the land that influenced the writings of Yeats again. Visit the pleasant village of Dromahair and stroll around the impressive ruins of 16th century Creevlea Abbey. Follow the lake shore to Parke’s Castle where a boat trip on the “Rose of Innisfree” will allow you to enjoy the beauty of the lake and see the famous “Lake Isle of Innisfree”. Take in the stunning views as you climb high above the lake. Enjoy the fruits of your efforts with a long free-wheel downhill as you make your way back to Manorhamilton for the night.
Day 11: Manorhamilton – Sligo. Approx 26 km (16 miles)
Glencar Valley, Lake and Waterfall are rightly renowned for their beauty. Cycle from Manorhamilton through the valley. Stop at the waterfall immortalised by Yeats in his poem The Stolen Child; “Where the wandering water gushes/ From the hills above Glencar/ In pools among the rushes/ That scarce could bathe a star,” Glencar waterfall is just about the perfect place for a picnic. Continue along the lake taking in the beautiful views, as you make your way back to Sligo Town.
Day 12: Departure
After breakfast it’s time to depart taking only memories, photos and friendships, leaving only tyre tracks and footprints.
Self-Guided bike tour price includes:
Bed and breakfast accommodation in carefully selected guest houses and B&B’s
Quality, 24 speed, hybrid bicycle hire (E-bike available- supplement applies)
Welcome meeting on arrival
Daily luggage transfers
Comprehensive guide booklet
GPS units (one unit per group), maps and guide notes
Not included in price:
Travel to and from start/finish of tour (Sligo)
Meals other than breakfast
Admission to sites and attractions along the route
Tours Available: 28 March 2015 – 25 October 2015
Peak Season: Tours starting 19 June 2015 – 25 August 2015