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Yeats Country And Lakelands

Vacances à vélo en Irlande

12 Day/ 11 Night Self-Guided Bike Tour

Difficulty Rating: 2/5  Daily Distance:  25 – 35 km  Terrain: Some Hills

Tour Overview

Drumcliffe high cross on bike tour of SligoIf you were to pick one area in Ireland that is ready made for the perfect cycling holiday, it would be hard to find better than the area around Sligo and the Northern Ireland border. 

With quiet roads, beautiful countryside and unforgettable hospitality, this is an area that is perfect for exploring by bike.  Here you can rediscover a sense of freedom — where birdsong and the whisper of the breeze are the only sounds. Breathe the air richly perfumed by a multitude of wild flowers. Stand in the court of a 5,000 year old tomb, built by Ireland’s first settlers. Cycle past golden beaches, shining lakes and through rolling hills. Strike up conversations with the locals — just as Yeats did a century ago. Spend some time in the lakelands of Northern Ireland, where peace now reigns. Discover its tranquil beauty — hidden for so long. See for yourself what inspired W. B. Yeats to write his beautiful poetry.

This tour starts and finishes in Sligo — easily accessible from both Dublin and Ireland West Airports.  You can choose the full 12 day leisurely tour, or an 8 day shorter option.  For those of you looking for something a bit more challenging, we also have an option of a 6 day moderate tour.

It’s time to embark on a journey of discovery in this hidden corner of Ireland.


Bike Tour HighlightsSelf guided bike tour, Yeats Country and Lakelands Map

  • Drumcliffe Church, Graveyard and Monastery
  • Glencar Valley, Lake and Waterfall
  • Mullaghmore Beach and Harbour
  • Lakelands of Leitrim and Fermanagh
  • Marble Arch Caves
  • Cycling on quiet country roads
  • Legendary local hospitality

Book online

12 Day/ 11 Night Self-Guided Bike Tour

Difficulty Rating: 2/5 Daily Distance: 25 – 35 km Terrain: Some Hills

Tour Itinerary

Self-guided bike tour - Benbulben Co. Sligo IrelandDay 1: Arrive Sligo
Travel to the lively town of Sligo “Gateway to the North West” and forever associated with poet W. B. Yeats. Sligo has easy transport connections to Dublin Airport, Dublin City and Ireland West Airport at Knock. Explore the town with its many pubs and restaurants.  Here you will also find a great choice of music venues.




Carrownmore Cemetry Co.Sligo. Self-guided bike tour Yeats country and Lakelands.

Day 2: Sligo – Strandhill – Sligo. Approx 25 km (15 miles)
Your first day of cycling takes your from Sligo to the seaside village of Strandhill, famous for its surfing waves. Cycle under Knocknarea, the mountain that enchanted Yeats. If the view from the top appeals to you, a 45 minute hike will take you to the summit. The mound on top is the legendary burial place of Queen Méabh (Queen Maeve). Pass through lush farmland to one of Europe’s oldest and largest megalithic sites at Carrowmore. Stroll among the structures left behind by the earliest Irish settlers. Return to lively Sligo for the night.



Self guided bike tour YCL Mullaghmore BeachDay 3: Sligo to Mullaghmore. Approx 35 km (21 miles)
Leave Sligo and cycle under Benbulben to the beautiful spot where Yeats is buried at Drumcliffe. The churchyard lies on the site of an old monastery and is well worth a visit for it’s high cross and round tower alone. Further along Drumcliffe Bay you will find impressive Lissadell House, where Yeats often stayed. Continue under the mountain to your overnight destination in Mullaghmore — overlooking a pretty harbour and beautiful golden beach.



Self guided bike tour YCL MuallaghmoreDay 4: Mullaghmore to Ballyshannon. Approx 25 km (15 miles)
From Mullaghmore, you cycle along the coast, where lush pastures run down to the seashore. Admire the magnificent views over Donegal Bay. Turn inland and cycle along quiet back roads through forests and farmlands. Follow roads that are just about perfect for bike touring. Alternatively visit the seaside resort of Bundoran, where you can enjoy an invigorating swim in the Atlantic. Continue to your overnight stop in the pleasant town of Ballyshannon.


Self guided bike tour YCL BallyshannonDay 5: Ballyshannon. 42/25/20 km (26/15/12 miles)
Choose from a range of options, or simply relax. Cycle to Belleek and explore “The Pullans” —  an area of bogs and lakes. (Approx 42 km).  Alternatively, visit Belleek and take a leisurely cycle back to Ballyshannon along the north shore of Lough Melvin (Approx 25 km). If the beautiful beach at Mullaghmore left you longing for more, you can cycle along Donegal Bay to Rossnowlagh’s magnificent stretch of golden sand. (Approx 20 km)


Self guided bike tour YCL Near Lough MelvinDay 6: Ballyshannon to Garrison. Approx 26 km (16 miles)
Take a lovely leisurely cycle along the south shore of Lough Melvin to the tiny border village of Garrison. However, if you prefer something slightly more challenging, you can take an alternative parallel route where you cycle high above the lake. The views will more than reward you for your efforts. If you fancy leaving the bike for a while, a walk through the woods along Fowley’s Falls is a real treat. You can visit the award winning Organic Centre, where a tour will teach you some of the skills and benefits of using locally grown organic food.


Glenfarne Wood. Self guided bike tour YCLDay 7: Garrison to Blacklion/Belcoo. Approx 27 km (16 miles)
Follow the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic as you continue through more peaceful lakelands. Visit Prince Connel’s Grave dating from 2000 BC, but not quite fitting the pattern of the other monuments from the era. Cycle through Glenfarne Wood, where the lapping of the water along the shore and the whisper of the wind in the trees will be the only sounds. Spend the night in the twin villages of Blacklion/Belcoo, one on each side of the border. Here the upper and lower sections of the lake meet.


Self guided bike tour YCL Florencecourt HouseDay 8: Blacklion/Belcoo. Approx 30/10 km (18/6 miles)
Today you can choose from a number of options.  A 30 km loop will let you visit the famous Marble Arch Caves and Florencecourt House. This bike route also affords you great views over Lower Lough McNean and the Cuilceagh Mountains. A shorter but very interesting cycle will take you to the Cavan Burren. Perhaps not as well known as the Burren in County Clare, this prehistoric landscape still holds many geological and archaeological surprises.


Self guided bike tour YCL Near ManorhamiltonDay 9: Blacklion/Belcoo to Manorhamilton. Approx 25 km (15 miles)
Time to leave the border area as you follow the North West Cycle Trail, taking you through forests and farmland along a network of tiny roads. North Leitrim is one of the least populated areas in Ireland, making it the perfect area for touring by bike. A huge variety of wild flowers bloom along the roadsides, the scent will vary depending on what time of year you are here. Wonderful views of the Glencar Valley open up in the second half of today’s cycle. Your overnight stop is in Manorhamilton, overlooked by Hamilton’s Castle from which the town got it’s name.


Self guided bike tour YCL Lough GillDay 10: M’hamilton – Dromahair – M’hamilton. Approx 36 km (23 miles)
You are back in the land that influenced the writings of Yeats again. Visit the pleasant village of Dromahair and stroll around the impressive ruins of 16th century Creevlea Abbey. Follow the lake shore to Parke’s Castle, where a boat trip on the “Rose of Innisfree” will allow you to enjoy the beauty of the lake and see the famous “Lake Isle of Innisfree”. Take in the stunning views as you climb high above the lake. Enjoy the fruits of your efforts with a long free-wheel downhill as you make your way back to Manorhamilton for the night.


Ulrike at Glencar. Self- guided bike tour YCL.Day 11: Manorhamilton – Sligo. Approx 26 km (16 miles)
Glencar Valley, Lake and Waterfall are rightly renowned for their beauty. Cycle from Manorhamilton through the valley. Stop at the waterfall immortalised by Yeats in his poem, The Stolen Child; “Where the wandering water gushes/ From the hills above Glencar/ In pools among the rushes/ That scarce could bathe a star,” .  Glencar waterfall is just about the perfect place for a picnic. Continue along the lake taking in the beautiful views, as you make your way back to Sligo Town.


Cycling Holiday in Sligo, WB YeatsDay 12: Departure after Breakfast.
Time to say goodbye to this beautiful region. We are sure that you will have enjoyed your time cycling along the beautiful quiet roads and friendly villages.

8 Day/ 7 Night Shorter Option

Difficulty Rating: 2/5 Daily Distance: 25 – 35 km Terrain: Some Hills

If you cannot take the time to follow the full 12 day itinerary for this bike tour, this option allows you to do a shorter 8 Day/7 night trip.  You will visit most of the highlights listed in the itinerary of the longer tour.

This shorter version of the tour follows roughly the same route but skips most of the loops on the way.

The itinerary is:Yeats Country and Lakelands 8 day leisurely tour

Day 1: Arrive Sligo
Day 2: Sligo to Mullaghmore
Day 3: Mullaghmore to Ballyshannon
Day 4: Ballyshannon to Garrison
Day 5: Garrison to Blacklion/Belcoo
Day 6: Blacklion/Belcoo to Manorhamilton
Day 7: Manorhamilton to Sligo
Day 8: Depart

For more information about each day. click on the ITINERARY tab at the top of this section.

To see the prices click on the PRICES tab at the top of this page.

6 Day/ 5 Night Self-Guided Bike Tour

Difficulty Rating: 3.5/5  Daily Distance:  50 – 60 km  Terrain: Some Hills

Tour Overview

6 Day/5 night Moderate Tour.

If the prospect of doing this bike tour appeals to you but you would like to do more cycling each day, then this moderately difficult option will suit you. This tour covers much of the same route, but you will cycle a minimum of 50 to 60 km per day.

The itinerary is:

Day 1: Arrive Sligo6 day moderate self guided bike tour.
Day 2: Cycle around Knocknarea and Lough Gill, return to Sligo
Day 3: Sligo to Ballyshannon
Day 4: Ballyshannon to Blacklion/Belcoo
Day 5: Blacklion/Belcoo to Sligo
Day 6: Depart

For more information about each day, click on the ITINERARY tab at the top of this section.

To see the prices click on the PRICES tab at the top of this page.

2017 Tour Prices

12 Day/ 11 Night Self-Guided Bike Tour

Difficulty Rating: 2/5  Daily Distance:  25 – 35 km  Terrain: Some Hills

      Off Peak               Peak          Single Supplement   Electric Bike  
   12 Day/11 Night €1,180 €1,280 €230 €155

8 Day/ 7 Night Self-Guided Bike Tour

Difficulty Rating: 2/5  Daily Distance:  25 – 35 km  Terrain: Some Hills

      Off Peak               Peak         Single Supplement   Electric Bike  
   8 Day/7 Night €770 €820 €130 €95

6 Day/ 5 Night Moderate Self-Guided Bike Tour

Difficulty Rating: 3.5/5  Daily Distance:  50 – 60 km  Terrain: Some Hills

      Off Peak               Peak         Single Supplement   Electric Bike  
  6 Day/5 Night €640 €690 €90 €65

Self-Guided bike tour price includes:

•   Bed and breakfast accommodation in carefully selected guest houses and B&B’s
•   Quality, 24 speed, hybrid bicycle hire (E-bike available- supplement applies)
•   Welcome meeting on arrival
•   Daily luggage transfers
•   Emergency support
•   Comprehensive guide booklet
•   GPS units (one unit per group), maps and guide notes

Not included in price:

  • Travel to and from start/finish of tour (Sligo)
  • Meals other than breakfast
  • Admission to sites and attractions along the route


Tours Available: 01 April 2017 – 15 October 2017
Peak Season: Tours starting 18 June 2017 – 26 August 2017

Getting Here

This cycling tour starts and finshes in Sligo. It is easily accessable from Dublin, Ireland West and Belfast airports. Use the links below to check the bus and rail timetables.

If you are arriving in Ireland at a different location to those listed below and would like advice on how to get here, let us know and we will help you to plan your journey.

From Dublin Airport

By Bus: Direct buses (Route Number 23) run to Sligo from Dublin Airport. Timetable 

From Dublin City

By Bus: Direct buses (Route Number 23) Timetable

By Train: From Connolly Station, Dublin Timetable

From Ireland West (Knock) Airport

By Bus: Frequent buses (Route Number 64) run to Sligo direct from the Airport. Timetable

From Belfast City and Airports

By Bus: To Enniskillen (Route No. 261)  Timetable and then change for Sligo (Route No. 458) Timetable



Booking Online

To book this self-guided cycling holiday online, please go to our booking page.  Once you have filled out the booking form you will then be asked to pay a deposit of €100 per person using PayPal.  If you would like to pay using an alternative method, contact us and we will gladly make alternative arrangements. Once you have paid the deposit your booking is secure.  We will respond to your booking within 2 working days.

Terms and Conditions.