Many of you will have come to hear about my tour by chatting with a previous customer. It’s a great form of reassurance and direct referrals are my largest source of customers . The next best thing I can offer those of you who haven’t spoken with a previous customer is an opportunity to read through a few customer testimonials. In the past I presented the reviews on this website. That was fine back in the day but nowadays people like to get their information from a more independent source. You can read through over 80 reviews hosted on Tripadvisor and Google Reviews
My husband and I have taken many bike tours with big, pricey companies. Our Cycle Holidays Ireland trip last week beat them all!
Lord forgive me for years of wrongly equating Ireland with sappy sentiment and dreary weather and food. We discovered wondrous places and lovely people on a trip that will nourish all your senses and genuinely touch your soul.
The miles slipped by on perfectly fitted, smooth-as-silk bikes through a land of astounding natural beauty and rugged majesty bathed in painterly light that’s almost surreal. It’s well marked routes on tiny roads with so few vehicles, often just an occasional sheep’s bleat punctuated the quiet. Colors galore — pastel cottages ringed in flowers, wild berries in the hedgerows, ancient rock walls and castles in every possible hue of grey. Some brief showers, but blue skies prevailed. The air is clean and soft and carries the briny tang of the sea, the sweetness of blossoms and fermenting hay, and the earthy aroma of peat smoke.
With logistics and guide duties superbly handled by John Heagney, whose range of life pursuits includes proprietorship of Cycle Holidays Ireland, we savored the physicality of the ride and the “zen” of the entire experience without a care. His abundant love for, pride in, and bone-deep knowledge of the terrain, history and day-to-day life of this part of Western Ireland, his family home for generations, infuses every aspect of this outstanding trip.
You can ride full ahead or hang back on the route, single or grouped, but you’re never off his radar. A tricky junction? He’s waiting there to direct you through. He’s steadfast, patient, and protective — you feel as if you’re in the care of one of the finest herding dogs of the region! John’s energy never flags, but if yours does, he unerringly knows whether to psych you up to ride on, or offer a warm invitation to take the van.
Good lodgings throughout, great showers with ample hot water, and laundry service at the 2-night hotels let you pack light. Dinners are at a top-rated restaurant in each town and the food is beyond belief. The freshest local meats, fish, shellfish and vegetables are artfully prepared and presented, with a variety of beers, wines, and ciders to try. Lunch stops, including low-lit, cozy pubs, offer rich seafood chowders with just-baked brown bread. The tea and scones at Ballynahinch Castle were royally excellent!I wasn’t surprised to learn that people take this tour again and again. Some day we may join their ranks. Don’t be afraid to bypass the big guys. You won’t find a better bike tour, or be in better hands while on it, than with Cycle Holidays Ireland.
C Edwards 2017
As this was my very first bike tour in another country (well in all fairness, in any country), it could not have been made any better! John, the owner/operated made this something extra special. A trip to Ireland has been a dream of mine for a very long time and let me be frank, the bike tour portion of the trip scared me to death. I am not an experienced cyclist to say the least and was very unsure of what I wasgetting myself into. The longest bike ride I had down before was about 60km and that was once before the trip. The detail and attention put into this cycle tour was second to none. Every detail was taken care of from the bikes we rode, the equipment we needed, the endless supply of power bars (or in my case the Snickers bars), the tour maps, the mobile phones (which we didn’t have to use because every detail was thought out ahead of time), the yellow guide arrows (oh the yellow arrows), the excellent B&Bs chosen, the fabulous three course dinners, and the entertainment and tours! I was never made to feel bad if I couldn’t ride a hill. I just got to ride in the support van with Joe or John and had great conversations with both.
It was an absolute pleasure to take part in this tour and it will be my first recommendation to anyone traveling to Ireland who wants to experience Ireland in such a grand way! I wish I could only afford to come every year but sadly I can’t. Thank you so much!
We definitely were not at our finest as far as physically fit, the longest distance we had biked in one day would have been- 25km, but with your help and encouragement, along with many, many bike adjustments..retrofitting mikes bike completely to aid in his back issues, we were able to obtain considerable accomplishments as far as distance traveled and at the same time we never felt rushed .
We stopped many times to take photos, and at times just enjoyed a stop to rest with jo filling us in on local history and facts about the area. I never expected the accommodations to be as appealing. The meals were over the top…I gained 3lbs and biked 300km, how does that happen?. Seeing Ireland for the first time by bike is something, everybody that is able, should experience. It one point along the road I passed a couple from a different bike tour struggling up hill with large saddle bags and rain covers…i realised how convenient we had it..all of our luggage carried in the trailer( therefore dry) and bus following if needed, no worries as to where to stay , where to eat..can’t get much better than that!
The final day it rained, we were soaked.. but once Joe arrived with the dry socks I had requested, … Mike and I carried on to complete 75km, which was an amazing prize to take home. The best part was the camaraderie, fun and friendship we shared with the other 14 cyclists as well as John and Joe. Ireland is one of the most beautiful place in the world and the Irish pride shows in the knowledge of the culture, history and music shared by John and Joe.
Thank to you, we take home a greater knowledge of not only Ireland, but in biking as well..proper fit etc. We now know how it feels when the bike is set just right.
John, you have obviously taken a lot of care developing this tour to be everything anyone could wish for. We are so glad we came upon your website and hope to encourage many more to come your way
all the best with your future plans…
Thanks a million Mike and Nancy o’Hara
Ontario, Canada. 2013
Cycle Holidays Ireland was the perfect family vacation with something for everyone. The six of us werehalf the tour group, and while none of us are particularly athletic, we all thoroughly enjoyed. The countryside, the history, the welcoming Irish people and our attentive and entertaining tour guides John and Joe made this an unforgettable vacation. Biking is a wonderful way to experience the beauty of the Irish coastline. Our guides were always available with the van, if anyone needed a break. We had never traveled with a group before, but we bonded with our fellow cyclists, experiencing Ireland in small groups and sharing stories, adventures and smart phone pix over meals. Highlights included castles and ring forts that dot the landscape, farmland and fishing villages, camaraderie at the pubs, a trip to Inis Mor and food that exceeded expectations. All of us, from the high school students, their 28 year old sister and her beau, and the 50+ parents, had a fabulous time and hope to do it again soon.
The Venditti Family
Our Cycle Holidays Ireland tour was one of the most memorable
experiences in my life. Never having ridden as part of a tour or done any competitivecycling, I was a bit tenuous committing to a week’s worth of riding. John’s tour, however, is designed to cater to all types of folks with any level of cycling experience.
Each day we were given the option of several routes of varying difficulty, usually stopping for lunch at a local pub or restaurant. Most evenings were free for exploration. However, we did manage to visit landmarks such the Cliffs of Moher, Portumna Castle and the Aran Islands as a group.
The nicest thing about John’s tour is having the freedom to ride at your own pace, on your own or with others, taking in as much of the scenery as you desire, and knowing that John is always only a phone call away.
Some memorable events from the trip: visiting a local pub in Doolin and being treated to some live Irish music, telling dirty jokes and sharing a fifth of cheap Irish whiskey in the back of the bus on the way back from the Aran Islands.
At the onset of the tour we were seventeen strangers. By the end, everyone had become close friends because of the experiences we shared along the way. You can’t put a price on that. So go take the tour! You won’t regret it.
Joe Riess, Ohio, USA
I booked my Cycle Holiday Ireland tour 5 months ahead with great anticipation. I am a conditioned bike rider, but this was to be my first supported tour. My expectations were exceeded from being met at Shannon airport to departure at same with magic in between. The rides were through spectacular landscapes that seemed designed for bikes. I was really impressed with the organisation of each days routes with detailed maps, tips talks, lunch suggestions, spray painted arrows on the pavement for each turn, and the days supplies of water, nutrition bars and fruit. Each of our groups 15 riders had the freedom to set their own pace.
Each of us had a phone that was tied into John’s GPS so he was our big safety brother. My normal fast pace gave way the mantra of Journey not Destination. Savouring beauty on a bike means stopping at a whim, backtracking if so desired, and fully being in the experience. Each route was set to allow this.
Safety and security were ensured by the two support vans and phone system. I would be thinking I was running low on water and there was John with fresh supplies and bike adjustment if needed. One rider not far behind me missed a marked turn, no doubt mesmerised. She later said she got a call from John telling her she was wandering and to stay put. She was picked up and returned to the correct route to continue her fun. All levels of riders were given a great experience. If a person ran out of ride, a phone call beckoned a van for pick up. Most days routes allowed a choice of challenge. There were some good hills and those choosing so could get a lift up to continue their experience. I myself choose the hills and found the provided bikes had the gears to handle them.
Components of the tour which had not been a priority for me when searching, blew me away. One was the quality of accommodations from historic to modern hotel. Another was the unexpectedly wonderful food of the included dinners. I had to take some pictures of the dishes to show my wife who doesn’t bike and didn’t want to come and travel in the support bus, although if she had come she would have a great time no doubt. The famous Irish breakfasts lived up to their rep.
A couple Pub nights even included live traditional Irish music. And finally was the incomparable persons of John Heagney and cousin Joe. Each did everything they could to provide top notch service. John has a great depth of knowledge about the geography, history of the Irish people, and details the flesh out what were seeing and experiencing. Best trip of my life.
David O’Brien, Arkansas. June 2014
As a not terribly experienced biker (at all) I was concerned that I may be out of my league to take a cycling trip with my sister and her husband for her 50th birthday celebration this past September 2012, as they bike whenever they can and are quite good. Well, truth be told, I was out of my league with them, but not at all made to feel bad about it!
The beauty of this adventure is hard to put in words because it is so unique in what it brings to the table. When you first arrive to meet a group of strangers who you will be cycling with for the better part of a week, it is hard to know what that will mean at the end of the week when you are so terribly sad for the week to end. I always had a friend to bike with and could go as slow or fast as I wanted to go, never being made to feel badly about it. John and John Joe were delightful to just talk with and laugh with, but the most important thing about them is they were very attentive and helpful and actually would make you laugh about punctures and things requiring maintenance that just happen on bikes.
If I was worn out and the hill ahead was not calling, I would ride in the van with John or John Joe and hear great tales,both of them being extremely well educated on the history and unique qualities that are Ireland. John Joe is a published author of books of history about the country and John has such a love for Ireland, it shines through in all his stories. Every lodging was picked with care, clean and charming hotels, and despite cycling all day long I still managed to add a few pounds because of the delicious food. I tell people that and they can’t believe it but the food was really extremely good and despite it being un-cool and very American, I did manage to get some cold beers as well. I never drank a warm Guinness but it was not for lack of trying! I did however discover Irish Mist (which I learned you are supposed to sip not shoot…however…). I discovered Irish music and what a pub really is like and all in all- never had a moment that was idle. Cycling and thinking all day about what you have learned about the country, and hearing about the lives of your new friends makes you appreciate traveling in a way that is hard to do anymore on a standard vacation.
I cannot stress enough what a great company this is and you will be doing yourself a great favor to let go of feeling concerned, worried and hesitant and jump right in. I never thought I would go to Ireland but it is like it gets under your skin. I can see myself coming back. Give yourself a gift and experience Ireland with people who live, know and breathe Ireland. And you don’t have to be a hard core cyclist to do it! Just someone who loves adventure and nice people.
A last note- I traveled alone although my sister and her husband were also in the group. This was an incredible break for me for a busy life with a delightful (although less a biker than ever me!) husband and three school age kids, to just have some time alone but not feeling alone at all, and most important, to have someone else make every decision for me allowing a relaxation I thought I had forgotten. It would be a great treat for anyone, married or not.
Many thanks to Cycle Holidays Ireland and all my week of cyclists for a week I will always remember.
Laura Loe , Richmond, Virginia
Although we’ve done organized rides in the US, my wife and I have long wanted to travel abroad for a biking trip, especially afer reading of Cycle Holidays Ireland in “Adventure Cyclist.” As avid cyclists, we were a bit concerned about leaving our bikes at home and using equipment to which
we were unaccustomed. But airline travel with bikes can be painful and expensive, so the provision of a “fitted” bike was one of the reasons we booked this tour. We’re very happy we did.
True to the advertising, Cycle Holidays Ireland provides high quality bikes, nicely outfitted for the riding conditions, and keeps them well maintained. The scenery along the routes is stunning; the view from a bicycle is surely the best way to see Ireland. The food was first rate, the beer was delicious, and the pubs provided the traditional atmosphere and music we had hoped to find.
Perhaps the tour’s nicest attributes were found in the personalities of John Heagney and John Joe Conwell. These incredible hosts arranged some great riding, provided interesting lessons in Irish history, and kept us laughing the whole time. After a week of riding, John and John Joe did not seem like tour operators, but rather felt like friends.
If you have any doubts about this trip, throw them out the window and start booking your dates. Our only regret was having to come home, but we’ve no doubt we’ll be back!
Christine & Terry Turpin
When we booked our tour with you to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this May we never dreamed of the “Level of management we could expect from Cycle Holidays Ireland”. It was beyond our highest expectations. The equipment was absolutely top quality and you tailored it precisely to each one of us. The routes you planned were challenging for any level of rider while leisurely enough to allow us to really enjoy the stunning countryside of your beautiful country. And knowing you were never far out of reach by phone or with the van provided a great “security blanket”. If it was only about riding bicycles I would say you gave us more than our money’s worth. But there’s more I need to thank you for.
Right from the start you made us feel welcome. Because, even though we arrived a couple days early, you were right there to pick us up and get us to our hotel and offer suggestions on what to see in the local area. Thank you so much for that.When we asked about attending Mass while we were there, you not only found a church with a Mass that fit our schedule, you “broke every traffic law on the books” to get us there; a truly Irish experience.We loved hearing about so many aspects of the history and culture of Ireland that you don’t get to hear all the time, and rarely from someone who has lived it.from Cycle Holidays Ireland”. It was beyond our highest expectations.
We also very much enjoyed your time at the pubs with us, especially the night you sang for us. I can see why the Irish Tenors are so popular. Apparently every Irishman has a great gift of song.But the nicest things you did for us was involved our anniversary. Thanks again for the cake, the card and for helping me pick out the best gift possible for Lorrie. You really exceeded our dream of a very special vacation to celebrate our 25th. You made it the best gift we could have given to each other. We might even sign up with you for our 50th.
We really can’t thank you enough.
Vern & Lorrie Snyder
Cycle Holiday Ireland provided us with an outstanding vacation! John Heagney has worked out every detail to giving his patrons an enjoyable week of cycling in a hauntingly beautiful section of Ireland. All started with a greeting and a smile when he picked us up at the airport and the fun didn’t end until he dropped us off to catch our flight back home. The accommodations were all quaint, clean and comfortable and restaurants and pubs were chosen to provide delicious meals and drink and truly gave us the sense of what village life is like in Ireland. By the end of the first day, John had figured out the abilities and needs of every cyclist and went out of his way to provide exactly the experience everyone was looking for. The routes he chose each day took into account the ability of the riders, giving each of us the choice of how far we wanted to ride and how hard we wanted to work to get there (and, of course the van was there if we overestimated our abilities). A cell phone for each group provided true peace of mind if we had mechanical problems or just wandered away from the intended route. The only thing that John didn’t seem to have control of was the weather. But even on the most dreary day his wonderful sense of humor always came through! By the end of the week we all knew John’s gift for telling the stories! We highly recommend this trip to cyclists of all abilities. What a great way to see Ireland!
Terry and Karla Meece
Oliver Springs, Tennessee
My husband and I have had Ireland on our list of places to see and so decided to combine our love of cycling with an Irish tour. After browsing through the different cycle tour options, we decided on Cycle Holidays Ireland. What an amazing holiday, it exceeded our expectations and has made us anxious to return for another adventure.John Heagney (owner/operator) and John Joseph Conwell (guide and local historian) were the best of hosts and guides. The routes we travelled were quiet, well mapped out and marked. John and John Joe always had information to share about our destinations and the sights we would see on our way there. The scenery was breathtaking, lunch options delicious and our accommodations clean and comfortable. Most nights, dinner was at the same place as our accommodations and very tasty with a wide variety of dishes to choose from, this surprised us more than anything else!
The Specialized Sirrus bikes were expertly fit by John and John Joe and by the second day I was coveting one for myself instead of the Trek WSD 2.1 I currently ride. John made bike maintenance a priority and everyday we were ready to roll with a freshly tuned up ride. A variety of bike bags are available for your use and I was able to pack my Canon Rebel SLR with 28-135 lens easily in the front carrier. What a relief to not have to wear my camera backpack all week!
Feeling under the weather one day, I rode in the support van, half the day with John Joe and the other half with John. They readily shared information about the area, were never short on a story that made me laugh and both were extremely generous to stop the van and allow me many opportunities to photograph the beautiful sights as we travelled along the road to Roundstone. I came home with over 1000 photos!
We met wonderful people from all over the world, enjoyed great laughs, beautiful scenery and formed some relationships to last a lifetime. We can’t wait to go back!
Don’t hesitate, join Cycle Holidays Ireland bike tour for an unforgettable experience.
Laurel & Nathan Onfrichuk
Ottawa, ON, Canada
There is no substitute for experience in conducting a successful tour, and it quickly becomes evident that John and his assistants have that experience. The custom bike fitting, knowing subtle details of the bike routes, timing the group that everyone can comfortably bike at the own pace and not feel rushed, assuring that the hotels are prepared at every stop, making recommendations for the evening and tolerating idiosyncrasies from people like me can only come from individuals who have the knowledge and are committed to the satisfaction of their clients. This was reflected on the day we were to visit the Cliffs of Moher. The Cliffs can be obscured for days by sea fog due to their elevation. John knew when to collect the group, load the bikes, and travel to the destination at just the right time to allow for an unobstructed view before the fog arrived. Even the most seasoned air traffic controller would be impressed!
This was my first cycling tour and I was pleased that everyone was not limited to just following the group. Bike at your own pace be it vigorous or leisurely. Bike as far as you want completing the days route or only a portion. Take a detour along the way and explore what’s just around the bend or take the day off and visit the sites along the way. It can be demanding or relaxing as you want it to be. But I recommend taking a step back from a hurried world and take in nature at a pace only riding a bicycle can afford. I think you will find it both revitalizing and inspiring.
When the cycling portion of the day is complete I think you will find the evening equally enjoyable. The group dinner has an excellent selection of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. An added bonus is that this is not just any meal but a meal well earned from the day’s efforts made better with others that shared the experience. Coming from someone who can be adverse to anything resembling group “bonding” I can say that I enjoyed getting to know everyone during the cycling, meals, and obligatory (voluntary) trip to the pub. The shared experience has lasted through e-mails long after the tour ended. And if you enjoy Irish music as much as I do you will enjoy Doolin, where I was given the opportunity to try my hand at playing the fiddle at a local pub.
After writing about Cycle Holidays, cycling in general, food, and the group experience I left out one significant mention – Ireland itself! Whether your of Irish heritage or not I think you will find the spirit of the Emerald Isle welcoming to all who visit its shores. I can personally testify after being invited in by a resident to have tea. The combination of new and ancient, provincial and contemporary, common and unique – all of which can become lost in the majestic landscape – will always leave a lasting memory with me.
We had been thinking of biking in Ireland for a couple of years and finally decided to do it. We wanted to have a real Irish trip and decided to go with an Irish company. After spending some time at our computer we settled on the Cycle Holidays Ireland tour owned and lead by John Heagney. We have never regretted that deci
sion. Cycle Holidays Ireland is a small company with a small staff, but does a great job. John has a wonderful Irish sense of humour and keeps people laughing every day. He has a certain charisma, and you end up considering him a friend rather than part of the service. You wake up in the morning wondering what he will come up with next. He makes the week an experience rather than another bike tour. He and his assistants have excellent knowledge of the history of Ireland. This is a definite plus if you have questions regarding castles, ruins and historic sites that you notice during the day.We have participated in numerous bike tours in the United states and in Europe and have had the full gamut of accommodations, itineraries, food, and service and we have to rate the Cycle Holidays Ireland tour with those at the top of the list.
The accommodations were in first class hotels and bed and breakfasts, and all were very comfortable after a day of biking.The tour itinerary was well planned and organised and had route options for the novice biker as well as longer routes for the more experienced cyclists. Maps were supplied for each days route, as well as having turn arrows painted on the pavement at each turn. We were impressed with the beautiful Irish scenery, historic castles, churches and ruins. The week tour gives one a wonderful sample of the western Ireland
countryside.All of the breakfasts were excellent with all of the normal choices and the full Irish breakfast, consisting of two eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, and black and white pudding, toast and coffee, was available for the hungry cyclist getting ready for a day of biking. Dinners were had in good restaurants or pubs and we found the food well prepared and delicious. Along with a pint of Irish beer and the Irish music, it couldn’t be better.
The service throughout the tour was excellent. The bicycles that were supplied were good quality Trek bikes, were well maintained and well suited for the Irish roads. We were briefed each day about the next days route with points of interest , historical info, and places for lunch. During each day John was always on the route with the van and trailer in case someone had mechanical problems, or was tired and wanted a break. We had been given cell phones at the beginning of the tour to use to call in case we required assistance when we were out and about on the bikes. We always felt secure knowing that we would be able to make contact with John if we needed help.
We enjoyed the week we spent with Cycle Holidays Ireland and had only one regret. We wish we would have extended our trip for a another two weeks to tour the rest of Ireland.
We both heartily recommend the Cycle Holidays Ireland tour for anyone interested in biking in Ireland . You can’t go wrong
Lewis and Joan Elkins, Woodbury, Minnesota