I often consider how privileged I am to live in Donegal. I moved here in 1986 and was immediately blown away by the beauty of the area, with its magnificent unspoilt landscapes, rich culture and great people. From that time when I first began to discover the area for myself, it became my passion to help others discover it too.
Despite it’s beauty, the area suffers from a lack of employment, and emigration has been a problem for decades. For years I wanted to do something that would contribute to the local economy, while allowing others enjoy the area in a sustainable way.
It was a family cycling holiday in 2009 that finally made me decide to turn my passion into a business. I realised that cycling was the perfect way to explore Donegal; travelling at the perfect pace and allowing time to discover the real hidden gems which are so often missed when travelling in a bus or car. I also recognized the fact that, because of the nature of a cycling holiday, participants would be staying for a number of nights in each village, unlike the many day-trippers who come here.
The following spring I went to our local bike shop and bought 6 bikes. From there Ireland by Bike was born. It was far from plain sailing at first. I was a self-employed tiler at the time. Building the new business, while still working enough hours to put bread on the table was tough. I found myself burning the candle at both ends in order to get Ireland by Bike off the ground. Eventually though, the efforts paid off, and after a few years of juggling two jobs, I was able to focus on the one I was most passionate about. I was fortunate that during these demanding years, my wife, Nóra and sons Dominic and Brian gave me a lot of help and support.
Ireland by Bike has developed over the years, but our aim remains the same; to provide outstanding cycling and walking experiences for our customers, while making a positive contribution to the local economy. Over the years we have met many wonderful people through our tours. We really appreciate the feedback we’ve received from all of our clients and we continue to learn a great deal from their observations. We also continue to develop new tours. We added walking holidays two years ago, and we also plan to develop tours in other parts of Ireland.
We invite you to join us for what we promise will be an unforgettable adventure in one of the most beautiful areas in the world.
Séamus Gallagher, October 2017