The countdown has begun!
2017 CROSS ATLANTIC CYCLE, NOW IN ITS 6TH YEAR AND VOTED BY THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 5 “MUST DO” CYCLES IN IRELAND.
This Cross Atlantic Cycle, sometimes referred to as the Rugby Legends Cycle, will start in Sneem, Co. Kerry on Sunday 3rd Sept and after 540km along Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way, finish in Galway on Thursday 7th Sept.
The route for this years tour is over 5 stages and will reach deep into the remote and spectacularly beautiful Wild Atlantic Way.
Some highlights for this year’s tour will be the famous Ring of Kerry, and the Skellig Ring. Lonely Planet named the Skellig Ring as a top 10 worldwide destination for 2017 (https://www.lonelyplanet.com/ireland/skellig-ring) – the Dingle Peninsula, Slea Head and the Conor Pass, and all this before we even leave Kerry!
Next our route takes us up through North Kerry to Tarbert, where we take the Ferry Crossing to Co Clare, and from here we will hug the Atlantic Coastline along Spanish Point, Lahinch, Cliffs of Moher, The Burren and Blackhead before arriving in Co Galway. From here we will head through Ballyvaughan, Kinvara and on to Galway, the 2020 European City of Culture.
Sneem Loop via Molls Gap, Ring of Kerry to Kenmare, Kenmare Bay and returning to Sneem.
This is a perfect warm up stage for the start of the tour. From Sneem we take the direct route to Molls Gap. This road is more of a gradual climb and offers some amzing views across Kenmare Bay. Molls Gap has featured on a number of our previous tours and is from here that we join up with the Ring of Kerry. The long descent from Molls Gap to Kenmare is a classic and must be enjoyed, so sit back and let the bike do the work!
The beautiful, scenic and lively town of Kenmare has is always a favourite on our tours, and from here we take the Ring of Kerry coast road to Sneem with its panaramic views across Kenmare Bay to the Beara Peninsula
Arriving back into Sneem we overnight at the Sneem Hotel
Sneem to Dingle via, Ring of Kerry, Skellig Ring, Valentia Island, Rossbeigh, Inch, arriving in Dingle.
This is a stage of a life time, Two Classic Rings , The Ring of Kerry and the Skellig Ring, and if that wasn't enough we overnight in the beautiful town of Dingle. We cycle the best sections of the Ring of Kerry, from Sneem to Waterville, followed later in the day by beautiful Rossbeigh. Before we get to Rossbeigh we turn left outside Waterville and join the stunning Skellig Ring.
There is good reason why Lonely Planet voted the Skellig Ring into its Top 10 destinations for 2017.
The Skellig Ring is 18km linking Ballinskellig to Portmagee and Valentia Island. This area is wild and beautiful, with the ragged outline of Skellig Michael never far from view. This dramatic island housed a remote monastery between the 6th and 12th centuries and is now an important site for puffins, gannets and guillemots. Its appearance as a location in Star Wars: 'The Force Awakens' means it hogs the limelight, but elsewhere on the Skellig Ring you'll find a landscape that is barely touched by man, except for some colourful houses and small villages.
The Skellig Ring has a few challenges with the Coomanaspic Pass arriving just before a well-deserved lunch on Valentia Island. After lunch in Knightstown on Valentia Island, we take the short ferry crossing to Renard Point near Cahersiveen.
From Cahersiveen we rejoin the Ring of Kerry taking us around the coast via Rossbeigh, Inch and onto Dingle, where we overnight at the Dingle Skellig Hotel.
Dingle to Tralee via Dingle Peninsula, Slea Head, Dingle, Conor Pass, Blennerville and Tralee.
Ok, today's stage is really special, the first 60km are on the Dingle Peninsula and Slea Head loop. We did this section in the 2016 tour and the feedback included comments such as 'Just Amazing', 'Slea Head is Stunning'. It's just you, the bike and the ocean, so enjoy!
The Dingle Peninsula, Slea Head loop takes us back to Dingle where we will have lunch, before taking on the Conor Pass, our longest and highest climb on the 2017 tour. The approach to the Conor Pass from the Dingle side is a gradual 8km climb, but the descent from the top of the Conor Pass can be a little trickey and tecnical, Our motorbike marshals will be in place to highlight these danger areas.
Once we descend from the Conor Pass we take the coast road to Tralee, with views across Tralee Bay to Fenit and Ballyheigue.
We'll overnight in Tralee, it has been three years since the tour stayed over in Tralee, so we are all looking forward to meeting up with old friends! The Brandon Hotel is our destination in Tralee.
Dingle to Lahinch vie Ballyduff, Tarbert, Kilrush, Kilkee, Doonbeg, Spanish Point and Lahinch.
Today we leave Trelee and take the coast road up through North Kerry. This stage will see a change in the landscape from the wild rugged scenery of West Kerry, to a rolling hills landscape of North Kerry similar to what we will experience when we arrive in Co Clare. Our route now takes us to Tarbert, where we catch the ferry to Killimer in Co Clare.
Our route from South Clare will take us into the lovely village of Kilrush and onto Kilkee for a leisurely lunch.
From Kilkee we take the coast road via Doonbeg and Spanish Point to our overnight stop in Lahinch.
The scenery in this part of Clare is panoramic, with beautiful Atlantic views, so let's hope we have a tail wind otherwise it can be a long ride to Lahinch!
Lahinch to Galway via, Cliffs of Moher (Official Stop) Doolin, The Burren, Blackhead, Ballyvaughan, Kinvara and Galway.
Our final stage of the 2017 tour; we have done this stage for the last 3 years and it never disappoints, it really is stunning!
Leaving Lahinch we take the short ride to the Cliffs of Moher where we are hosted by Katherine and the team at the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre. This is the nearest you will get to a private viewing of the Cliffs, and weather permitting you will see why it is the top visitor attraction on the Wild Atlantic Way.
After our Cliffs of Moher visit we head for the beautiful village of Doolin and along the small coast road to the Burren and Black Head. We love this section, with its breathtaking views across Galway Bay to the Aran Islands, to our left, and the beautiful lunar landscape of the Burren to our right.
Lunch will be on the harbour in Kinvara, just leaving us a short 30km ride to Galway.
We plan to be in Galway for 4:30pm and one last highlight of the 2017 Cross Atlantic Cycle will be the 'Legends Night', which will be hosted in the Tour Hotel at Radisson Blu Galway.