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Karen in NY
08-26-2001, 06:23 AM
Ireland is a wonderful place to go on a cylcling trip. The West coast is especially interesting, with challenging routes and nice little towns to stop in, beautiful, dramatic scenery, warm friendly people to meet along the way. In a week I will be doing my 5th tour there as a matter of fact! I will be in the SW - the Ring of Kerry. It's very hilly but the scenery is worth it. I am a 'hill slug' for sure but I don't care ;-)

One day in 1997 while surfing I found a great tour company called Irish Cycling Safaris. They are a small company in Dublin.

They offer 9 trips in Ireland and have added other countries now also. (the other countries cost a bit more though but they are still a bargain compared to what American tour companies charge - almost $1,000 less!)

The trips are all 1 week long (Saturday to Saturday). The price is 385 Irish punts. Right now the exchange rate is pretty good so its like $425 US.

And they might even have some openings for the late Sept. routes - and airlines are having sales now too - so you might be able to get away for some adventures!! September is a great month in Ireland, that's why I like to go in September.

That price includes: all B&B/ hotels; 1 tour guide / SAG wagon, maps & other info about the area, water bottle, use of a 21 speed Trek hybrid bike. You need $$ for lunches and dinners, any train or bus travel to get to the starting point / airport; and you need to get your own plane ticket over there.

There is 1 guide per group. This isn't like some tour companies that have the guides filling your water bottles and cycling along side the group. It's a little more laid back and casual. It's fun and sociable without having someone hovering over you. The guide carries the luggage and makes dinner reservations and then sweeps back along the route to see if anyone is stranded with a puncture or is too tired. etc.

You usually cover 35 - 40 miles in a day. Sounds easy? Well some times you are going up a mountain! And sometimes there are things to stop and see along the way - old castles, cultural centers, stone forts, shops, beaches, etc.

One of the greatest thing about ICS is, the groups consist of people from many countries so you get to meet interesting people. The group size is around 16 as an average. Singles are welcome, I did 2 as a single and had a great time. They fix you up with a same sex roomie but you might get your own room if there are an uneven amount of gals / guys.

The web site is www.cyclingsafaris.com
Tell them Karen in NY sent you. They have a message board also.