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Mizen Head to Malin Head

Ireland – Mizen Head To Malin Head – 14 Days


TYPE: Independent Road Cycling
LEVEL: Regular
DATES: April – October
DURATION: 14 days / 13 nights (13 days cycling)
    • 295 £

Ireland – Mizen Head To Malin Head – 14 Days

The Irish ‘End to End’ taking you from Mizen Head in the south to Malin Head in the north. The route takes you from the Mizen Peninsula, around Bantry Bay into County Kerry. After passing through the mountains of the Kilarney National Park you cross over the River Shannon and continue past the Cliffs of Moher and across The Burren. After the lakes of the Upper Shannon Valley the final part of the route takes you across Lough Swilly onto the Inishowen Peninsula to Malin Head. NB – route being updated in 2023 to take in more of the stunning West Coast of Ireland!

Roads & Terrain: The route follows minor paved roads for most of the way, although there are a few sections on main roads. Major conurbations are avoided but the route does pass through some medium sized towns. Traffic is generally light but some sections along the southwest coast can be busy, and the final part of the route onto the Inishowen Peninsula does have some unavoidable traffic. The first part of the route is hilly, as you pass through County Kerry, but the remainder is mostly gently undulating, although there are a few steeper climbs along the way.

**Note this trip is also available over 10 Days as a Fully Supported Holiday. 

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Day 1 – 39 miles
Arrive at Cork. Head south through rolling countryside to the pretty little town of Kinsale, and then turn west, following the coast to Clonakilty.
Day 2 – 43 miles
Continue west, partly following the coast, partly inland. After the busy town of Skibbereen the landscape becomes wilder and more rocky as you follow a beautiful, gently undulating road along the Mizen Peninsula to Toormore Bay.
Day 3 – 43 miles
A short ride in the morning takes you to the spectacularly sited lighthouse at Mizen Head. From here the route takes you along the scenic north coast of the peninsula, ending the day at the famous little town of Bantry.
Day 4 – 30 miles
A lovely days ride that takes you around Bantry Bay to Glengariff, then across the Caha Mountains of the Beara Peninsula into County Kerry, finishing at the typically Irish town of Kenmare.
Day 5 – 40 miles
Another superb days ride that takes you across the mountains of Kerry. You pass through Moll’s Gap and continue along the spectacular Gap of Dunloe, finally leaving the mountains behind as you head towards the busy town of Tralee.
Day 6 – 50 miles
A easier days ride that takes you through rolling farming countryside and then onto the ferry across the Shannon River.
Day 7 – 50 miles
Another excellent ride that takes you along the coast at Liscannor Bay and then past the magnificent Cliffs of Moher. Here the route turns inland to cross the fascinating limestone plateau of The Burren, rejoining the coast to follow the road around Galway Bay.
Day 8 – 48 miles
The route continues north taking you through the heart of Ireland, along some very quiet lanes and through peaceful villages.
Day 9 – 45 miles
The first part of todays ride continues through the ‘typical’ Irish landscape of County Roscommon, before crossing the Shannon River again at the busy town of Carrick-on-Shannon.
Day 10 – 44 miles
A lovely days ride that takes you through the forests and lakes of County Leitrim, on some quite wild roads. You cross briefy into North Ireland as you pass around Lough Melvin, ending the day at the small town of Beleek on the River Erne.
Day 11 – 45 miles
The route takes you back into Eire, passing through the popular town of Donegal, then crossing the Blue Stack Mountains and countinuing through the attractive but hilly countryide on the way to the busy town of Letterkenny.
Day 12 – 44 miles
The final days ride to Malin Head is an attractive one. You take the ferry across Logh Swilly and then continue across the Inishowen Peninsula to Malin Head.
Day 13 – 38 miles
A easy days ride that takes you around the northern coast of the Inishowen Peninsula, across the central hills and then along the shore of Lough Foyle to the attractive city of Londonderry.
Day 14 – Return home
Tour Price includes: 

Route information

Tour Price does not include:

Lunches or evening meals (except as noted above)
Snacks or drinks required during the day
Cost of any optional excursions, entrance fees etc.



Holiday Details:

The Area: Ireland is a predominantly rural country with a varied landscape of mountains and moorland, dotted with quiet peaceful villages and isolated farmhouses. It has a long and ragged coastline and much of this is spectacular, with long sandy beaches, some of the highest cliffs in Europe, and small rocky bays. The country has long been a popular cycling destination. An excellent network of minor roads link the many small towns and villages, and these offer some lovely cycling. Most villages still have at least one pub, and in many areas you can still find traditional evening music sessions taking place. The people are friendly and hospitable and Irish charm is well known around the world. Gaelic is still the first language in some parts of the country.

The Tour: This trip is designed to offer you the challenge of riding the length of Ireland. The trip actually starts at Cork and finishes at Londonderry as these towns have the closest airports to Mizen Head and Malin Head respectively – it takes two days to ride from Cork to Mizen Head and a day to get from Malin Head to Londonderry and these have been included in the holiday. If you are an inexperienced cyclist you should be aware that there are some hilly sections, particularly on the first couple of days, and you need to be prepared for this. The hardest part of the trip are days 4 and 5 as you pass through the mountains of Kerry. There are some short steep climbs here, as well as some long, but more gradual, uphill sections. The remainder of the trip mostly takes you through gently undulating terrain, with a few hills along the way. Most people do find that they get fitter during the tour, but you should ensure that the holiday is within your capabilities based on the information provided. You are responsible for ensuring that you reach the accommodation at the end of the day, and no refunds will be given should you fail to complete a day’s ride. The the first couple of days are a fairly easy ride from Cork along the coast to Mizen Head (although there are a couple of steep hills on the way). From the lighthouse at Mizen Head you head north, still mostly following the coast, around Dunmanus Bay and Bantry Bay, to the attractive little town of Glengarriff. From here you cross into County Kerry, crossing the Inveragh Peninsula and passing through the beautiful mountains of the Killarney National Park. The cycling becomes easier as the route takes you across the Shannon River, rejoining the coast to visit the spectacular Cliffs of Moher. You then turn inland to cross the famous ‘Burren’, pass around famous Galway Bay, and continue through a typical ‘Irish’ landscape of moorland and small pretty villages. You cross the River Shannon again at the busy little town of Carrick-on-Shannon and then continue through the lakes that dot the northern part of Ireland. The final part of the route takes you across Lough Swilly and onto the Inishwen Peninsula for the final few miles to lonely Malin Head.

Accommodation & Food: Accommodation is in small hotels, guest houses and B&B’s. All the accommodation is privately owned and run, and as such does vary. Some are in the centre of towns or villages, others are in small hamlets with few local amenities. We have tried where possible to mix types of accommodation so that you will get to try various different styles on each trip. Note: If you are booking a trip by yourself, or are part of a group but have requested a single room each night, there is an additional supplement of £20.00 per night. In most establishments en-suite facilities are standard and we include these where possible, but this cannot be guaranteed. Breakfast is included at all the accommodation. Most establishments offer a full ‘Irish’ breakfast, but will be happy to adapt this to suit you. No other meals or drinks are included in the cost of the trip. The accommodation has been chosen so that there will be somewhere nearby for a meal in the evening. While riding there are frequent small villages in most areas and so finding somewhere to stop for a drink or some food is not usually a problem, although in some parts of the country settlements can be quite a long way apart.

The Start: The trip starts at Cork airport. Flights are available to Cork from a number of regional UK airports (although some do not operate a flight every day). (NOTE: In previous years another option was to take the overnight ferry from Swansea to Cork. This service no longer runs, although there are campaigns to get it restarted.) The itinerary below shows a fairly long first day. It assumes that you will be arriving on an early flight into Cork. If you are not arriving until later in the day we can change the itinerary if required.

The Finish: After reaching Malin Head the route continues to take you around the peninsula to Londonderry. The holiday finishes here. Flights are available from Londonderry to East Midlands, Liverpool and Stansted airports on the UK mainland. It is also possible to take a train or taxi from Londonderry to Belfast, from where there are flights to most UK airports. Note: The cost of the flight/ferry to Cork and the flight from Londonderry is not included in the cost of the holiday.

Documents: Although British Nationals do not require a passport to visit either the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, you do need to ensure that you carry official photo ID, and for most people a passport is the easiest form of ID. Nationals of most other countries only need a passport. You are also required to have travel insurance for the duration of the holiday, although British passport holders do not require insurance to visit the North. If you do not purchase insurance from us you will be required to provide evidence of a suitable alternative policy.

Bikes: The type of bicycle that you bring for this tour is entirely up to you. Some people take mountain bikes, others touring machines. Both types of cycle are suitable for the trip. The most important thing is that the bike functions properly and that you are comfortable riding it. However you should make sure that your bike has suitable gears as there are some steep hills on parts of the route. Most people will require a cycle with a triple chainset. If you are riding a mountain bike then you should fit it with narrow ‘slick’ tyres. You should also make sure that you are able to carry some spare food and clothing with you on the bike. The route does cross some wild exposed areas with little in the way of shelter and no services, and you can get very cold and wet if the weather is bad.

Weather: The weather in Ireland is notoriously varied. Average summer temperatures are usually around 20°C when the sun is shining, although you should always be prepared for the odd shower. However it is often the case that a wet morning has cleared up by lunchtime, and the afternoon is delightfully warm. The weather in May and June is (statistically at least!) the most reliable, and this is also usually the driest time of the year. Unfortunately this cannot be guaranteed and you should be prepared for wet weather whenever you go.


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