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Cycle Holidays Ireland

Galway, Ireland
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Cycle Holidays Ireland
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Will Burbank wrote a review Oct 2019
2 contributions
My wife and I have gone on a number of guided bicycle tours in Europe and enjoyed them all but the one we recently did with Cycle Holidays Ireland was the best we’ve ever done, bar none. The scenery was spectacular and the bikes, food and accommodations were first rate but, what really set it apart, was the incredible job that John Heagney and his cousin, Joe, did running our tour and adjusting things to accommodate the needs and desires of the various riders. The members of our tour group ranged in age from mid twenties to early seventies and had varying degrees of experience in cycling. My wife and I are 72 and used e-bikes, which made going up hills almost effortless (one can adjust the level of power assist). I should note that, prior to going on this we had feelings of trepidation about cycling in Ireland. We weren’t sure that we could adjust to riding on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and we’d heard scary stories from friends who had been there and felt unsafe cycling in heavy traffic along the narrow, twisty, shoulder-less roads. We needn’t have been worried. John has carefully charted routes that minimize hazards and they leapfrogged us by van through sections that might have been problematic. Most of the roads we traveled on had little or no traffic and others were off-road paths. John lent us all cellphones with instructions to call, should we become lost or have a problem. He also made it clear that we should ask to be picked up if we ever felt that a section was unsafe or were simply not enjoying a ride. It took us awhile but we mostly adjusted to cycling on the opposite side of roads. On the first day of our tour John was waiting at a turn and noticed that I had cut the corner and was mindlessly traveling in the wrong lane. He waved me down and gently pointed this out and did so in way that felt helpful and supportive, not critical. Cycling has inherent risks, of course, and accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. I was reminded of this recently as I was riding a local rail-trail and was almost thrown off my bike when I ran over a walnut pod (which come down in the fall as hard balls, about 2” in diameter) During our tour two of our fellow riders had spills and suffered injuries but my wife and I felt that conditions were well within our comfort level for safety. Cycle Holidays Ireland is small operation run by John with the help of family members. He is a great story-teller with a delightful sense of humor and is very knowledgeable about the history of the area. He has incredible energy and, in addition to hosting these tours, also runs a dairy farm, about an hour’s drive from the tour area. Like most farmers, he has many skills and is really good at multi-tasking though he would be the first to acknowledge that he not always the best when it comes to answering e-mails. Prior to the tour we were a bit concerned about the lack of response to a message we had sent. I called the number on the website, expecting to reach someone in an office, and was surprised when John answered directly. He apologized for not getting back to us and answered our questions. Chances are he was also fixing something or herding cows as we talked. One couple in our group was doing the tour for their third time and, having now done it ourselves, we know why. It was truly that good
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Date of experience: September 2019
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Earle I wrote a review Oct 2019
4 contributions3 helpful votes
We travelled from Canada to join this cycle tour of Ireland on the recommendation of a friend - and we were so glad that we did. The tour guides John and John Joe were wonderful! They kept us entertained with their witty story telling and fascinating history lessons whilst guiding us through some of the worlds most beautiful scenery and interesting historical sites. Every day the routes we cycled seemed to get more and more spectacular! The accommodations and food were excellent. The attention to detail and the equipment were top notch. We chose to rent e-bikes which meant that the longer distances and hills were not a problem and we could admire the scenery without any cares! This was our 6th European cycling holiday, and we enjoyed them all, but we would happily say that if you are considering a cycle holiday this is the one to choose!
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Date of experience: September 2019
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drekitty wrote a review Oct 2019
Conifer, Colorado1 contribution1 helpful vote
My wife and I, with her 2 sisters and their husbands, spent a week-long bike trip to Ireland in September 2019. We have many travels under our belts all over the world, including a previous trip to Ireland, and a similar week-long bicycle trip 3 years ago to Vermont. On SO MANY levels, this has been our very best travel experience of our traveling decades. The two operators, John and John Joe did everything imaginable to see that all went well for the 18 people in our group. The week was well-planned out; expertly managed and comforting support to the many levels of cycling experience this group included; a well-oiled machine reflecting their nearly 2-decade experience doing this. From before breakfast each day, until well after dinner, both of them were always around for whatever unseen changes or support needs we had. They entertained us, provided numerous historic adventures to castles and ancient churches throughout the small towns we traversed. Their Irish wit provided a comical level to the concerns we all had and made everyone at ease throughout the week. They did everything to provide an excellent experience to everyone. There is absolutely nothing I could think of that they could have done better, for an entire week- think about that! We will be sending more folks their way, and I personally will be returning to them for a historical tour of Ireland, that they also put together. Superb.
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Date of experience: September 2019
1 Helpful vote
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ellefritz wrote a review Sep 2019
Menlo Park, California11 contributions1 helpful vote
+1
My sister-in-law chose this tour for six of us mostly based on these reviews, and she absolutely could not have made a better choice. Most of us hadn’t been to Ireland and while we’re healthy and fit, we’re not kids - our ages range from the mid 50’s to 71. John and John Joe set up an experience none of us will ever forget. Every part of the tour suited and delighted us. The bikes were top notch, the routes well chosen and well marked, the nightly accommodations and meals were all terrific. What stood out each day, though, was the effort, the service, the attention to detail and the focus on making sure we all had an amazing time. John had an amazing sense of what routes we would and wouldn’t enjoy and when we got overwhelmed by a hill or tough winds he would magically appear (or sometimes plan ahead with us), to load us in the van and shuttle to a spot where we could resume comfortably. There was just enough sense of effort and challenge, but each day we looked forward to getting on the bikes, never dreading them. I was surprised to learn there was another ten riders in our group, some dedicated bikers, others not so much. Each of us rode our own ride, socialization was comfortable but John Joe sort of adopted the six of us in his aptly sized van and he did an amazing job keeping us on track as we drifted down to a beach or up to some of the dozens of historical sights and structures en route. John Joe is the official historian and educated us the entire time, and kept us entertained with his dry wit. But John is the master of wit and storytelling, and I’m not sure I’ve met a harder worker in any occupation. He is passionate about his country, his company and absolutely dedicated to the experience of every guest on the tour. Take this tour - and like us you’ll have memories for life.
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Date of experience: September 2019
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SteveL wrote a review Sep 2019
1 contribution1 helpful vote
We often say that photos can't capture actually seeing something in person. Nothing could be more true about our experience with Cycle Holidays Ireland. Our words are nothing but glowing for our trip, but you can't really understand how good this company is until you experience it. So do it! John (owner) is not only knowledgeable about all of the roads, history, and logistics of the trip, but he is one of the best and funniest story tellers we have ever met. The riders in our group looked forward to our interactions with John every day. Who he is makes us want to come back and do this tour with him again. In addition to John, he is assisted by his cousin, Joe. Joe is also one of those wonderful individuals who is so encouraging and fun to be around. He and John make an awesome team. We realize that other tours may also be good, but we cannot imagine any of them being better than Cycle Holidays Ireland. We hope to return to Ireland to cycle again, and we wouldn't even consider doing it with anyone but John and Joe. Read the reviews!! How many companies do you know that get all 5 star reviews, and there's no negatives found anywhere? Thank you, John and Joe, for the best supported bike tour we have ever been on!
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Date of experience: September 2019
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