Geoff Bates rode our 12-Day Ireland End-to-End Tour in July 2019…turns out he writes as good as he talks! Many thanks Geoff - delighted you enjoyed the ride and thanks for taking the time to write about it!

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Take 25 riders from as far apart as Melbourne, Manchester, Boston, Buffalo, Bungay and Bridport introduce them briefly at the Airport Hotel in Cork, sort out their myriad equipment requirements with patience and laughter, feed them, bus them to Mizen Head the following day, point them North and send them on their way.

Sounds like a hoot!

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Remember, you have no idea how this crew will gel and what range of cycling abilities are represented across the group

But that’s what PKool and Brian the Vane are for - so fear not fortunate traveller because you are just about to embark on one of the rides of your life!

And so it turned out …

The daily tracks were designed to allow as many reduced traffic routes as possible, hugging the coastline, turning inland to isolated valleys, soaring over the ridges and taking in the spectacular, soft beauty of the West of Ireland – where everybody’s ancestors hail from – forget that stuff about the Rift Valley the Olduvai Gorge and Lake Turkana!

You can ride the Black Valley, the Gap of Dunloe, the Shannon, Lough Corrib and Killary Fjord, Lough Mask and the Burren, the Sligo wetlands, Croagh Patrick and the Donegal moorlands, each with contrasting but magnificent scenery. Even better, every day after 50 miles or so, you arrive at an excellent hotel for rest, recreation and sustenance, in or out, including Irish Stew, Colcannon, Champ, Boiled bacon and cabbage, Boxty, Soda bread, Barmbrack, and every variety of orthopod, mollusc and crustacean you could name. Accompanied if so inclined, by copious quantities of the Nation’s finest Guinness or Murphy’s. A good many of the restaurants have most excellent wine lists, but over-indulgence may come back to haunt you

Or … you could indulge away and just have half a day in the van citing an ingrowing toenail or some such to elicit sympathy, nobody minds, nobody judges and you can’t do better than your best eh ….

On-the-road brew stops and picnic lunches are a welcome daily sight usually after 15/20 and 30/40 miles depending on terrain and are consistently well catered, sometimes too well, as an image of cream filled, jam topped, zero cal, doughnuts comes to mind

Your humble correspondent has ridden over 15,000 cycle touring miles on 3 continents in the past 4 years and can honestly recommend Wild Atlantic Cycling as being in the top 10% of those companies patronised, all of which were pretty good

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Many thanks Paul, Brian and Julie – I’ll be back next year for the Northern edition.

You know it’s out there, so get on your bike and ride it!

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