Celtic Rider has designed this self-guided tour by compiling a selection of award-winning routes. You will follow the routes programmed on a Garmin Zumo 590 LM GPS without the hassle of getting lost. the landscape, both coastal and inland, the roads, as well as the accommodation are carefully chosen. Have a new sensation of adventure in Ireland and Scotland with Celtic Rider self-guided tour.
You will be staying for 20 nights as mentioned on the itinerary. Your accommodation providers are hotels and Irish owned B&B guesthouses of a very high standard and have been personally hand selected by Paul Rawlins, the founder and owner of Celtic Rider. You will be staying for 8 nights in quality Irish 4-star hotels, 4 nights in Irish owned B&B guesthouses of a very high standard., and the rest of the nights' accommodation have been organized by Celtic Rider.
On the first day, you will start a great day ride. After your transfer to collect bikes, you will then enjoy the safety orientation course. This safety orientation course is specifically designed for riders from countries that ride on the opposite side of the road which is guaranteed to enhance your overall riding experience. After that, you will follow the pre-programmed route to Kilkenny city via the rugged Wicklow Mountains National Park. You will visit Glendalough 5th century monastic site and have lunch at the hotel. Then, you will continue Garmin instruction to Kilkenny medieval city. Next, you will check into Kilkenny accommodation. There, you will also have the opportunity to visit the magnificent Kilkenny Castle and St. Canices Cathedral and round tower.
Enjoy your breakfast before departing Kilkenny. Today’s ride will be the day of the Great Castles. It will take you to the beautiful coastal gourmet town of Kinsale, the official start of Celtic Rider’s Wild Atlantic Way tour. The first optional visit is Kilkenny Castle itself which is open from 10:00 and has a magnificent history. You’ll continue to Lismore and visit another great castle, Lismore Castle. It is not open to the public but the castle’s gardens are well worth visiting. Lismore hotel is quite nice for food. It is the first hotel built in Ireland. You will continue to the popular mountain pass, The Vee Pass with great views across 4 counties of lush Irish countryside.
After that, you will continue to Midleton and an optional stop at the Old Midleton Whiskey Distillery. Your next stop will be the enchanting Blarney Castle, just outside Cork. There, you can kiss the Blarney stone at the parapet of this great castle, the gift of eloquence bequeaths to all who kiss this mystical stone. You’ll continue to the exciting coastal town of Kinsale with its abundance of great restaurants. Also, the point of interest is Desmond’s Castle in the town, which is now a wine museum, and the great Charles Fort (Garmin favorite). Last, you will check into your accommodation.
After enjoying your breakfast, you will depart from Kinsale for Killarney, affectionately known as the ‘Jewel of the South West’ today’s ride will be very interesting. Today’s first stop is Drumbeg stone circle, also known as Druids Altar, this site is 3.200 years old. You will go onwards to Baltimore and Baltimore Beacon with great views over Baltimore Bay. Enjoy a short walk to the Beacon from the car park, be careful not to go to close to the edge of the cliffs.
Continue your ride to the Beara Peninsula, the warmest part of Ireland due to the warming influence of the Gulf Stream. Not to mention the amazing Healy Pass, a twisty mountain pass which is started to be built during the great famine years on the 1850s. After that, continue to Molls Gap via Kenmare, a great scenic mountain ride, then continue to Killarney.
En route to Killarney, stop at Ladies View, an outstanding view over the lakes of Killarney, then Torc Waterfall. There, you can enjoy a short walk. Both of those destinations are saved in your Garmin in favorites. Killarney town nestles in Killarney National Park, surrounded by majestic rugged mountainous countryside including the Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, Irelands highest mountain range. To conclude the day, you will check into Killarney accommodation.
After enjoying your breakfast, you can either take a rest day and cruise the Killarney lakes taking in the majestic mountain views and a pony and trap ride over the Gap of Dunloe, plus a bit of shopping. Alternatively, ride to the world-famous Ring of Kerry, and the incredible Gap of Dunloe, the most beautiful glaciated valley in Europe. It will be a challenging ride but very much worth the effort. After that, continue around the Ring of Kerry, and also ride to the Skellig Ring, another awesome offshoot off the main Ring of Kerry route. After finishing your activity, go back to Killarney for your accommodation.
After breakfast, ride to Dingle via Blennerville. You will have an optional stop at Blennerville Windmill. Today’s ride will take you passing a famous pub called ‘The South Pole Inn’ in Anascaul, the ancestral home of Tom Crean, Arctic explorer. After that, continue to Ireland’s highest mountain pass, Conor Pass, with incredible ocean views of both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Be careful as streams often run across the narrow road near the summit of the pass. From Dingle, ride a truly mind blowing coastal road called the ‘Slea Head Drive’. A visit to the ‘Blasket Islands Visitor Centre’ is advised. You will continue back to Dingle or Cloghane accommodation for the evening, great town and village for music and food.
After breakfast, you will depart from Dingle, and ride over Connor Pass the opposite direction, where you will see great views of inland corrie lakes from the last ice age. Follow route in Garmin to Brandon Head viewing point, giving you stunning ocean views. Continue your ride to Tarbert for the delightful ferry crossing to Killimer in Clare. After that, ride to the towering majestic cliffs of Moher, which is a famous World Heritage Site.
You will go to Doolin accommodation. There you may have an optional ferry cross from Doolin to the base of the cliffs of Moher that has an unbelievable amount of wild birds nest near the base. It’s very common to see otters, dolphins, and whales. Doolin is famous in Ireland for a traditional Irish music pub with live music daily in the quaint pubs in this little village.
Enjoy your breakfast before you depart from Doolin that involves coastal ride to Murrooughtoohy and Blackhead which is simply mind-blowing. A short few miles into today’s ride will bring you to Murrooghtoohy, watch out for the sign on your left and park up. Murrooghtoohy is unique in all the world with a limestone beach, covered in millions of boulders from the Ice age. It is a part of the Burren National Park. Many beautiful wild orchids grow profusely among fissures in the rock, and the ocean is just a short 400-meter walk.
Skirting around Galway city, your today’s ride will be magical as it takes you through an ancient hauntingly beautiful landscape, a wilderness of moorland and brooding mountains in Connemara National Park. Continue your journey to Clifden Town, a nice traditional Irish town. It is a good place to stop for lunch. From Clifden Town, you will ride the aptly named ‘Sky Road’ with beautiful sea views.
Your next must-visit place is Kylemore Benedictine Abbey, set amongst a stunning backdrop, amazing gardens and good restaurant. Continue your journey to Leenaun where you can see Irelands deepest fjord, Killary harbor, then ride the stunning Doo Lough Mountain Pass. To conclude the day, you will go to Westport for your accommodation.
After enjoying breakfast, you will have an optimal rest day. You can hire a bicycle and ride the great western greenway, take a boat trip, or alternatively you can ride to Achill Island. After that, you will be leaving Westport for Achill island along Clew bay. Your first optional stop is Burrishoole Abbey, (Garmin favorite) set in lovely quiet countryside adjacent to a still lake.
Continue your ride along the route to Mallarranny, and on to Achill sound, then ride over the bridge onto Achill island itself. Then you will enjoy a ride across the island which is very dramatic and wild, with a mix of great ocean views and mountain passes. After that, you will go to Keem beach, a lovely blue star beach. It is an ideal place for a swim on a hot summers day. After that, ride back to Westport for the evening and enjoy this wonderful town. It is voted best town in Ireland in 2012.
Enjoy your breakfast before you depart from Westport for Donegal. Today’s ride will take you through the most remote part of Ireland, Ballycroy National Park. It is recommended to visit Ballycroy National Park visitor and information center, like all visitor centers in Ireland, this place is beautifully designed and staffed by local people. They are very willing to inform tourists about the history and landscape of this outstanding wilderness of moorland. You can see the Nephin Beg Mountains in the distance.
After that, visit Drumcliff, the burial place of W.B. Yeats, Ireland’s most beloved poet and storyteller. There, the mighty Benbulbin, a table top mountain, dominates the skyline. Entering Donegal town, check Donegal Castle and Magee’s tweed shop. It is conveniently located 100 yards from each other in the town center. You can find good restaurants there, The Harbour and The Olde Castle. To conclude your day, check into Donegal accommodation for 2 nights.
To start the day, enjoy your breakfast. Today’s ride is short in distance but still totally awesome. From Donegal, you’ll ride to Killybegs, Ireland’s deep seas fishing port. Then, continue to the highest sea cliffs in Europe, Slieve League Cliffs. Reaching it via Carrick, turn right 100 meters after The Rusty Pub. The ride and the sight from the upper car park are beyond memorable.
Continuing your journey, go back down from the Slieve League Cliffs and ride to the Irish-speaking village of Glencolumbkille. Your next attraction is a great mountain pass ride over Glengesh Pass, some tight hairpins involved. Following the route programmed on your Garmin GPS, you’ll go to Clooney, Glenties then go on to Donegal accommodation. You can enjoy Donegal town for the evening.
After enjoying your breakfast, you will leave Donegal for Carndonagh on the Inishowen Peninsula. You will be heading for the wild Glenveagh National Park and Castle. Wild Irish red deer and golden eagles roam freely in Glenveagh National Park. Entering Glenveagh National Park, note the towering mountains around you. The most noticeable is Mount Errigal, a quartzite capped mountain.
From Glenveagh visitor center, take the dedicated minibus to Glenveagh Castle. It is a stunning castle located along the Derryveagh Lake. It will be a very interesting guided tour. Continue your ride to Carndonagh town, on the wild Inishowen peninsula which is the highest part of Ireland.
Enjoy your breakfast before you follow the route on your Garmin. Your first stop is 5 Fingers Strand, the largest sand dunes in Europe. After that, continue north to Bamba’s Point in Malin head, most northerly part of Ireland. You will enjoy awesome sea views. After that, ride to Fort Dunree, magnificent military museum towering over which is overlooking Lough Swilly.
Your next destination is the magical Mamore Mountain Pass, with wonderful ocean views from the viewing area. Stopping at the Glenevin car park in Clonmany Village, take the short walk along an ancient gorge to view Glenevin Waterfall. Next, you must see Doagh Famine village in Doagh Isle, an authentic small Irish village. There you can see what life was like during the 1840s in Ireland. To conclude the day, you will continue to Carndonagh to your accommodation.
After you have your breakfast, you will leave Carndonagh and go to Belfast. Your today’s ride is along the A2, the famous North Antrim coastal causeway route. You can have an optional visit to the Giants Causeway, a UNESCO heritage site. Although it is a bit commercialized, it’s still worth walking the site as it is a world-renowned natural wonder. After that, you can have other another optional stop at Ballintoy harbor (famous for Game of Thrones) that features Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. There you can enjoy a 10-minute walk to this sea stack with a narrow foot bridge.
For the more adventurous sensation, a short detour from Cushendon to Torr Head can be added, but bear in mind that the road is a single track with steep inclines and sharp turns. There, you will enjoy great views of Scotland which can be seen from here (Rathlin Island and the Mull of Kintyre) across the Irish Sea. After that, you will go to your accommodation in or near Belfast city.
Celtic Rider highly recommends the black taxi tour, a political tour of the city. It takes around 90 minutes. it will leave a lasting impression on you. Then you will have the opportunity for socializing at cathedral quarter in Belfast. You will have a good choice of pubs which serve good food. Whites bar, opened in 1630, on Winecellar street is one of the bars Celtic Rider recommend.
Enjoy your breakfast first. If you depart early from your hotel, there is time to ride up to Belfast Castle that has great views over the city and wonderfully landscaped gardens. The ferry is only 10 minutes from the castle, located in favorites. The ferry departs at 11:30 and it takes 2.5 hours. It is recommended to have lunch on the ferry, thus allowing you to ride straight to Edinburgh, Scotland.
Initially hugging the coast, you'll head west to the great city of Edinburgh along the route downloaded in your Garmin. After checking into your accommodation for the evening, you can enjoy this vibrant city. The whiskey tour is a good fun, and there are plenty of good restaurants and pubs. As a recommendation, you should experience the royal mile from Edinburgh Castle to parliament buildings.
Enjoy your breakfast first as you have plenty of options for today. The city tour bus is one of them along with tours of the Botanical Gardens, Scottish Whiskey museums, great museums and art galleries, as well as cathedrals and parks. You can also visit Edinburgh Castle which is home to Scotland’s Crown Jewels. You can experience a blend of beautiful old architecture and new modern buildings. It is just a really beautiful old city to walk through.
After having breakfast, depart from Edinburgh to Pitlochry. You will initially ride over the great Forth Bridge. A new bridge is under construction which is awesome to look over at. Today’s ride will be brilliant. Your first stop is Stirling and one of the most important is Stirling Castle in Scotland, built in the 12th century. You’ll experience old cobble lock steep streets up the castle, with really nice views over the town and countryside.
You will continue to Loch Lomond and then into the heart of Trossachs National Park. It will be a truly beautiful place to ride through. It will be a stunning twisty ride, with superb lake and mountain views. Continue to Pitlochry town, which is located in a most scenic, clean, and fresh mountainous area. Good locally produced food is readily available in the pubs and restaurants in this quaint town. To conclude the day, you will check into your accommodation is Pitlochry.
After breakfast, you will continue your ride through Cairngorm National Park that has very impressive views of the Grampian and Cairngorm Mountains. This will be an awesome ride as the Cairngorms is the largest national park in the United Kingdom. After that, you will continue to Inverness and enjoy the hospitality of the capital city of the Scottish Highlands.
Enjoy your breakfast before another amazing ride ahead as you ride past Loch Ness and the famous Urquhart castle. Your today’s ride will head to Invermorrison then on a westerly direction to the coast. After that, continue to Portree, located in the North West area of the highlands. Ride over the Skye bridge to reach the island. This is a remote and tranquil Gaelic fishing village which is being the stronghold for many centuries. To conclude the day, you’ll check into accommodation and relax in this old tiny village.
After breakfast, you’ll depart from Portree. Your first optional stop for a truly excellent photo opportunity will be at Eilean Donan Castle, remembering ‘The Highlander’ film. It will be a stunning place for photographs and it is wonderful when the tide is in. Continue along the route in your Garmin to the Five Sisters Mountain Range.
After that, you will continue to the Glencoe area to enjoy the lovely scenery through this mountain pass. Then, you will ride to Oban where you have a choice of some great seafood restaurants as the town has a long history of fishing. The walk along the promenade into the town is very impressive. Oban is a coastal town with a wide selection of cafes, restaurants and optional boat trips. It also has an old single malt whiskey distillery from the late 17th century.
Enjoy your breakfast before you depart from Oban. Your today’s ride will take you to the cosmopolitan city of Glasgow. The more wonderful scenery will be in store today as the route cuts through Trossachs National Park and skirts along Loch Lomond.
Arriving in the old city of Glasgow, which is in relatively recent years has become a vibrant European city, you will notice straight away its stunning architecture. Red stone buildings, fantastic squares, and massive statues honoring great Scottish inventors and writers, it will be really nice. To conclude your day, check into your accommodation and enjoy the diverse rich nightlife and bars of this Victorian city on your last evening.
After you enjoy your breakfast, you will continue to the ferry as per the Garmin, you will arrive in Belfast at around 14:00 in Northern Ireland. Following the Garmin, you will be skirting around the docklands of Belfast to the M1 and back to Dublin. It takes around 3 hours to get to Celtic Rider.
After returning bikes to Celtic Rider, then you will be transported in one of the minibusses to downtown Dublin City or Dublin Airport after discussing and listening to your stories and observations of this most impressive tour of Ireland and the majestic highlands of Scotland.
You have the options to choose one of these motorcycles. Please contact Celtic Rider if you need rate information for Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
During your tour in Ireland, you will visit many stunning locations in or near Kilkenny City, Lismore Town, Midleton Town, Kinsale Town, Baltimore Village, Killarney Town, Dingle Town, Tarbert Village, Killimer in County Clare, Doolin Village, Clifden Town, Leenaun Village, Westport Town, Achill Island, Donegal Town, Mulranny Village, Carndonagh Town, Clonmany Village, Doagh Famine Village, Doagh Isle, Drumcliff village, and Belfast City
You will also visit several national parks including Killarney National Park, Connemara National Park, Ballycroy National Park, and Glenveagh National Park
Other than those mentioned locations, there are many stunning attractions in Ireland that you will visit including The Vee Pass, Conor Pass, Druids Altar, Baltimore Beacon, Beara Peninsula, Molls Gap, Torc Waterfall, Ring of Kerry, Gap of Dunloe, Skellig Ring, Brandon Head in Kerry, Ladies View attraction, Killary Harbor, Keem Beach, Benbulbin Rock Formation, 5 Fingers Strand, Bamba's Point, Malin head, Fort Dunree museum, Mamore Mountain Pass, plenty of castles, and many location added to your Garmin GPS.
Continuing your self-guided tour in Ireland, you will visit many destinations in Scotland. Your destinations in Scotland are Edinburgh, Stirling, Loch Lomond, Trossachs National Park, Pitlochry Town, Cairngorm National Park, Inverness City, Portree Village, Five Sisters Mountain Range, Glencoe Area, Oban, and Glasgow.
"We rented a BMW GS 1200 for our self-guided Ireland tour. The bike was great and the owners were really a joy to deal with. They were helping us to get organized on the bike and concerned for the smallest details. It was a great experience with an awesome bike and a great tour of Ireland!"
TripAdvisor website, edited
"What a magnificent 21-day experience of a lifetime! From the hub of Dublin, clockwise around Ireland to Belfast and then on to Scotland. Paul and his staff have put together an unforgettable itinerary of sights, the land, the friendly people, the history (both ancient and current), and wonderful hotels and B&B's. My wife and I rode 2 up with the helpful guidance of the GPS provided. A motorcyclist's dream come true."
TripAdvisor website, edited
"My husband and I cannot say enough great things about these folks and their company. We were so pleased with their service and desire to make our trip to Ireland very special. Paul's suggested routes and places to stay were exceptional in every way. We couldn't have made better reservations or routes if we had tried. Some of the places we stayed were 5-star experiences. Everyday riding was so beautiful and pristine. Paul, Louise, and Liam are the best. We hope to go back and do other trips again some day soon. We can highly recommend Celtic Rider as a company to use for motorcycle rentals and tours. It's a first rate and a first class!"
TripAdvisor review, edited