Ireland is a mystical place that takes you away from everything you’re used to. In Ireland, you’ll find yourself surrounded by velvety pastures speckled with flocks of grazing sheep, by glacier-carved Glencar Valley and the peaks of the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks mountain range, and by the local charm and warmth of traditional Irish pubs. The island’s breathtaking coastline extends for miles and miles, and the culinary scene is more than the fresh, local food – it’s about the tradition of sharing a meal over a good story. We love Ireland for hundreds of reasons, and here are our top 5 attractions we’ll share with you on our bike tour.
1. Stay at the Ard na Sidhe Country House
Built by Lady Gordon in 1913, this luxury country manor house is beautifully situated on the shores of Caragh Lake on the scenic Ring of Kerry. Graceful elegance is combined with the luxury of modern comforts, gorgeous grounds, a cozy lounge and plentiful pints. Trek Travel groups are welcomed like old friends year after year to this delightful hotel and it is a highlight of our Ireland vacation.
2. Ride the Ring of Beara and Healy Pass
Pedal through the vast countryside along the Beara Peninsula, along the Atlantic Ocean coastline. Wild, and relatively unexplored, the Ring of Beara is less known to tourists than the Ring of Kerry. The winding roads with weathered stone walls, quiet bays, and the dramatic coastline will take your breath away. Take an optional stop in Castletownbere for lunch including some of the freshest seafood imaginable. Then, tackle Healy Pass, where the high country will lead you to rocky peaks and gorgeous lakes, offering spectacular views of the Bantry Bay.
3. Tour with our friend Donal
The Irish have their own term for having fun—Craic. And our walking tour of Kenmare with our longtime friend Donal will be full of this particular variety of fun. Stroll through the historic village and then enjoy a fresh pint of Guinness in the pub afterward. His songs and stories will excite even the most seasoned traveler and connect you to Ireland’s most precious resource: its people.
4. Ride the Gap of Dunloe
The stunning views of Glencar Valley will lead you to the Gap of Dunloe, the most famous and picturesque pass in the Ring of Kerry. Enjoy lunch at the gourmet Heather Cafe before you ascend the pass by bike, or perhaps choose to take a “jaunty car” powered by sure-footed horses for an old-fashioned Irish experience. Either way, be sure to capture the unforgettable panorama of Macgillycuddy’s Reeks before enjoying a well-earned descent.
5. Taste Irish Whiskey
The final evening of the trip would not be complete without a tasting of traditional Irish Whiskey, historically known as the ‘water of life’. Irish whiskey was once the most popular spirit in the world and has seen a major bump in popularity as the fastest growing spirit in the world every year since 1990. Our friend Colin will offer several varieties to taste and you’ll have the opportunity to finish your vacation as you savor the final sips and watch a slideshow of your trip photos with your guides.