Cycling enthusiasts, get ready to saddle up for the 2023 edition of the ŠKODA Celtic Series! A popular two-event series made up of the Tour de Conamara and the Ring of Clare, both routes offer breathtaking scenery to excite any cyclist, along with a celebratory atmosphere to match the finest parties of the summer!
With the emphasis on fun and camaraderie, you can expect great food, craic, and incredible pre- and post-race entertainment – along with a ride to remember when it’s time to get in the saddle. So read on to find out everything you need to know about these highlights of the Irish cycling scene…
Tour de Conamara
The Tour de Conamara is the first event of the series, taking place on Saturday May 27, with a whopping 3,000 cyclists expected to participate. The 140km and 80km routes both take cyclists through some of the most scenic landscapes in the region, offering the perfect opportunity to meet like-minded individuals.
Starting in the region’s largest town, Clifden, the route takes cyclists through some of the most picture-perfect villages in the area, including the likes of Recess, Maam Cross, and Leenane. Cyclists will also tackle the challenging climb up the Maam Turk mountains, before making their way back to Clifden for the finish.
Of course, to talk only about the route is to sort of miss the point; while you’ll certainly spend a few wonderful hours on the bike, a whole lot of the appeal is what happens off it! From perfect pubs and scrumptious grub, plan for a whole weekend of enjoyment, surrounded by patrons who know the value of not taking life in the saddle too seriously…
Clifden is a popular tourist destination, offering a variety of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. For those who prefer to stay in town, there are a range of hotels, guesthouses, and B&Bs to choose from. These include the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel, a charming 4-star hotel set in beautiful gardens, and the Station House Hotel, a historic hotel located in the heart of the town.
There are also a number of self-catering options, including apartments and holiday homes. For those who prefer to be closer to nature, there are several campsites and caravan parks in the area, including the Clifden Eco Beach Camping and Caravanning Park, which is situated on the Wild Atlantic Way and offers stunning views of the coast.
Unfortunately, registration is now closed for this year’s edition of the Tour de Conamara, but you can find out more information about the event – and whet your appetite for 2024! – at https://tourdeconamara.ie/.
Ring of Clare
The second event is the Ring of Clare, which is taking place on Saturday 22nd July 2023. The route takes cyclists on either a 120km or 160km loop around the region, featuring stunning coastal views, with a few challenging climbs thrown in for good measure. Cyclists will start and finish in Ennis, the bustling county town.
One of the highlights of the event is its route through The Burren, a unique limestone landscape which promises jaw-dropping views out towards the Atlantic coastline. Cyclists will also tackle the famous climb up Corkscrew Hill, with plenty of opportunities to refuel along the way with refreshments provided en-route.
Ennis, the main town in Clare, has a lively vibe with a rich culture and history, and it provides a wide range of accommodation options to suit all pockets and preferences – as well as a pretty superb backdrop for the fun and games before and after the ride!
If you prefer to stay in the town, there are several hotels, guesthouses, and B&Bs to choose from. You could check out the Old Ground Hotel, a historic and classy 4-star hotel located right in the center of Ennis, or the Temple Gate Hotel, a trendy hotel with a restaurant that has won several awards. There are also a range of campsites and caravan parks in the area. One of these is the Doolin Camping and Caravanning Park, which provides some spectacular views of the coastline.
If you’re looking to secure your place, you’ll need to be quick as registration is open now! Registration costs €50 + booking fees. The first 1,000 cyclists to register will also receive a free wind jacket!
Cyclists who are not already members of Cycling Ireland must avail of a one-day license to participate. The cost of a one-day leisure licence is €10.
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