The Mournes – Glens Tour cycles through two of the most picturesque landscapes in all of Ireland; the Mountains of Mourne and the Glens of Antrim, both internationally recognised as areas of outstanding natural beauty.
The Mountains of Mourne, an area that has become part of folk history, not just in Ireland but of the world, is a magical region where breath-taking scenery and peaceful unspoilt landscapes offer a perfect backdrop to a cycling holiday.
Majestic rugged mountains,hauntingly beautiful forests and glorious sandy beaches make up this awe-inspiring area.
Only on a bicycle can you capture the real Mournes; a haven of unspoilt rural charm combining stunning mountain scenery, a sweeping coastline, forest parks, open heather moorlands, crystal clear lakes, Loughs and rivers and of course not forgetting its legendary hospitality.
Your two day / three nights’ in the Mournes area is a perfect way to start your cycling holiday. With a maze of small minor roads there are a number of optional routes, which will cater and appeal to all types of cyclists, ranging from challenging mountain climbs, to flat and gentle rolling hills of the lowland coastal plains.
The description of the Antrim Glens is on a previous page.
THE MOURNES & GLENS OF ANTRIM TOUR
Your holiday begins on Saturday evening with a "meet & greet" in the village of Rostrevor. This historical village dates back to 1612 and sits between the shoreline of Carlingford Lough and the foot of the southern most point of the Mourne Mountains.
Day 2 - today’s distance -25mls/40kms
Your first day’s cycling follows a quiet road as it steadily rises through pleasant countryside between a river and a forest as it heads for the village of Hilltown. Its many pubs - eight in the high street are a legacy from eighteenth century smugglers who shared out their contraband here. Cycling on you have an option of three routes from easy to moderate rolling roads to challenging hills and the Spelga Dam as you continue on quiet roads to the next village of Bryansford. From here it is only a short hop, all down hill to the seaside town of Newcastle and your stop for the next two nights.
Day 3 - today’s distance (set route) – 25mls/40kms
Your chance to explore this magnificent area by either following the set route or making up your own.
You may wish to cycle to Dundrum Castle or walk along the Shimna River in Tollymore Forest. Discover the seven sisters, the hermitage and nimbly cross the stepping stones. You may like to potter around the shops in Castlewellan with its two squares, two market houses and two attractive churches or visit its forest park. There you will find a national arboretum dating back to 1740 and a lake with a three-mile signed trail.
The day is yours to do as you please, as your heart takes you - enjoy.
Day 4 - today’s distance – 16mls/25km
In the morning you transfer by coach to the village of Broughshane and continue the tour on a gentle run on quiet country roads heading towards Glenarm the oldest village in the glen.
On your way you may wish to take a slight detour and venture up Slemish Mountain, where Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, is said to have tended livestock as a slave boy in the 5th century. Your destination today is Carnlough; a coastal village with a neat little harbour situated at the foot of Glencloy a few miles round the coast from Glenarm. The day finishes in the Londonderry Arms Hotel, which offers a warm welcome and an excellent meal.
Day 5 - today’s distance –32mls/50km
Today’s cycle heads for Glenariff glen known as the queen of the glens with its gushing waterfall and scenic path skirting the sheer side of the plunging gorge. Cycling on from Glenariff you come to Cushendall the " Capital of the Glens".
The last leg of your journey then continues cross-country and after a short climb you cycle on a quiet road with magnificent views, free wheeling past the edge of Ballypatrick forest and on into Ballycastle and your stopover for the evening.
On your way be careful not to fall prey to Loughareema, the mysterious "vanishing lake", watery grave to coach and horses throughout the ages, legend has it.
Day 6 - today’s distance –18mls/29km
This morning you set off for a jam-packed day, only a short route of 18 miles but a lot to see. The famous Carrick- a- Rede rope bridge, the windswept ruins of Kenbane, Dunseverick and Dunluce castles, golden sands of White Park Bay, the Giant’s Causeway and finishing up in Bushmills, home of the famous Distillery.
Tonight you stay in the little port and beach resort of Portballintrae.
Day 7 - today’s distance – 32mls/51km
Today you head back towards Broughshane along quiet country lanes. You will be cycling through the famous glen countryside capturing some of the most breathtaking scenery of the week. The day’s tour finishes with a relaxed cycle alongside Slieveanorra Forest as you head back to the last night’s stopover.
After a final breakfast and farewell you commence your journey back home.