Ireland • Cycling the Emerald Isle

At Tiplr we spend a lot of time researching things a little out of the ordinary and try to create unique experiences that most run-of-the-mill guidebooks won’t tell you about. Instead of giving you information city by city, most of which you can probably find yourself on the web,  we’ve opted to put together something that we think has a bit more personality and panache! So here’s our first experience and it all starts in a fair city called Dublin.

Let’s set the scene by taking Ireland in the springtime: the countryside is blossoming, nature is in full flourish and the weather is warming up, well, as far as Northern Europe is concerned we think it starts to feel a tad less chilly at least! With the landscape shaping up nicely we think this is the best time to visit and so here is our guide to 10 days in Ireland done Tiplr style.  Most avid travellers land in Dublin spending the first few days spying all the top attractions and rightly so, it’s a must-see city. However, to get you up and running, we’ve suggested a couple of alternative things to fill your agenda. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Ireland this Spring 2016 you’ve really hit the jackpot as Easter Rising Centenary celebrations are about to get well underway. Check out details of the Irish Independence event in our tip, Dublin – Easter Rising! to ensure you secure yourself a front seat at one of the many patriotic parades.

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Dublin – Easter Rising!

After all the excitement in Dublin, Day 2 of our experience takes you just outside of the capital to a pretty seaside village named Howth, it’s popular amongst locals escaping the city and reading Dublin – A Quintessential Experience in Howth, you’ll see just why. Highlights include spectacular seafood and beautiful views across the harbour, a true way to spend the day relaxing and soaking up your first dose of quintessential country in Ireland.

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Dublin – A Quintessential Experience in Howth

Now you’ve seen lots of the capital city and surroundings it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and get on the road. Our tip Dublin – On Your Bike! introduces our favourite bicycle rental centre situated in the suburbs of the city, where experts are armed with everything you need to get stuck in and experience Ireland in the flesh instead of through a car window. It’s a cheap way to travel too and once you check out the stunning images in this tip you’ll be easily swayed!

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Dublin – On Your Bike!

On Day 3, your first direction will be to head west on the R445 towards the site of our next tip, Coolrain, Ireland – Slieve Bloom Mountain Magic. The tip describes the excitingly explorable mountains nearest the village of Coolrain, but there are a number of other villages around the range that are equally worthy of a sleepover whilst you explore the area, such as Portlaoise. In addition, if you’re daunted by the 5-hour cycle, why not stopover in the towns of Naas or Newbridge halfway and replenish you energy supplies.

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Coolrain, Ireland – Slieve Bloom Mountain Magic

After a long stint in the mountains and a relaxing nights stay in one of the area’s traditional thatched inn’s (we recommend spending Day 4 here for a proper exploration and to get yourself feeling at one with nature) our nearby suggestion is detailed in Coolderry, Ireland – Haunt Yourself Out,  a visit to the scary site of Leap Castle at the foot of Slieve Bloom. Spooky and spiritual, the most haunted building in Europe draws in hundreds of visitors and is sure to give you something to talk about for years to come…we’ll leave it to the imagination and let you read this tip for all the gory details!

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Coolderry, Ireland – Haunt Yourself Out

Hopefully Leap Castle doesn’t leave you running for the hills as there’s a 3-hour cycle to the next pit stop on Day 5.  Clonmacnoise, Ireland – Not One Ruin but Seven, and a Cathedral! is our top pick for history lovers, boasting an astonishing selection of 6th century church and monastery ruins, all conveniently placed on the banks of River Shannon. You’ll enjoy the afternoon there with a picnic in hand and reflect on the last few action packed days in central Ireland before heading on to Galway on the most picturesque route so far. On Day 6 The R348 will lead you towards the city, winding down country roads and past pretty country dwellings in around a 4-hour trip…

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Clonmacnoise, Ireland – Not One Ruin but Seven, and a Cathedral!

Don’t worry though, if you’ve built up an appetite by the time you arrive, Galway – Anything but Boring Cuisine has food covered. From pop-up pizza to fine wine and cheese, we’ve got the best selection of alternative eats on offer.

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Galway – Anything but Boring Cuisine

Chances are you’ll be charmed by Galway so a few nights can be spent resting up in the city after all that cycling. But after plenty of time spent out in the open…we bet you’ll be looking for some buzzing nightlife on Day 7.  Our tip, Galway – The Key Street is Quay Street is the ideal way to spend an evening whether you’re the type to party until 2am, or looking for a laid-back and lazy evening with your company. This street really has it all. Make sure you get some sleep though…tomorrow you’ll be hopping across to the Aran Islands for the final part of your trip.

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Galway – The Key Street is Quay Street

Set off early on the city centre shuttle bus (or cycle if you’re feeling up to it) to Rosaveel and hop on a short ferry ride across to Inis Meáin on Day 8. The quietest of all 3 islands, you’re in for a real treat here at the Inis Meáin Suites. Think complete and utter solace and the ultimate in luxury relaxation.  The Aran Islands – A Mean Suite describes the accommodation experience you’re about to enjoy in all it’s glory, and such a hidden gem, this is a remote island tip we probably shouldn’t be giving away! You’ll probably indulge in this part of your trip the most, becoming at one with the elements, and why not, you deserve it.

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The Aran Islands – A Mean Suite

If you can bring yourself to leave the Aran Islands on Day 9 our final tip reminds you to take something with you as a souvenir, but not just any old tacky merchandise. Read The Aran Islands – Cozy Fashion Fit For a Fisherman and wrap yourself up in Aran wool. Then head back towards Dublin to end your trip with a wearable piece of Ireland’s history because now, you’re an expert!

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The Aran Islands – Cozy Fashion Fit For a Fisherman

Ireland • Cycling the Emerald Isle Tips’s List

Dublin – Easter Rising! • Dublin – A Quintessential Experience in Howth • Dublin – On Your Bike! • Coolderry, Ireland – Haunt Yourself Out • Clonmacnoise, Ireland – Not One Ruin but Seven, and a Cathedral! • Galway – Anything but Boring Cuisine •  Galway – The Key Street is Quay Street • The Aran Islands – A Mean Suite •  The Aran Islands – Cozy Fashion Fit For a Fisherman 

Some useful info for your trip:

  • Costs per day: $250, considering lodging, 2 meals and a little extra for shopping or travel expenses
  • Total length of our itineary: 261 miles on routes suitable for bikes
  • Ireland’s Average Temperature in May: 56 F
  • Flight to Dublin from New York is a 6 hours flight for $500-600 roundtrip with AerLingus and major airlines, from Europe destinations there are several low cost flight for less than $100 roundtrip, check Ryanair or Easyjet.

Oh, and don’t forget to return your bike!!

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Photo Credits:  Metro Website / The Irish Times / Holidayezine / Manfred Stromberg / Michael Foley / Martin Maher / Leap Castle Website / Thirteen.org / The Dough Bros Website /  Kinvara Inn / Inis Meáin Suites / Aran Sweater Market

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