ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours, that in 1972 became the first North American tour company to offer bike tours in Europe (http://www.experienceplus.com/), assists in “The Gathering Ireland 2013” that encourages people with even a smidgeon of Irish blood to visit the “Island of Saints and Scholars” this year.

ExperiencePlus! 2013 itineraries will allow travelers to take in The Gathering activities during, before and after a tour, creating a one-of-a-kind adventure travel experience enhanced by spontaneous interaction with the people and places of Ireland.

Bicycling Ireland’s West Coast Plus! County Mayo is an 11-day/10 night pedal tour of syllabic villages and stunning coastline that includes centuries-old pubs, traditional music and popovers to Connemara and the Aran Islands, one of the few regions where the Irish language is still spoken—and celebrates a rural legacy best enjoyed by bike. Departures are June 16, July 14 and Aug. 12. The per person double rate is $4,595 ($600 single supplement). Included are use of a late-model high performance aluminum road or hybrid bike with compact gearing, 10 nights accommodation; seven dinners with wine or beer, 10 breakfasts; island ferries and a guided walk in Dun Aenghus, a prehistoric site overlooking a karst landscape on the Aran Islands.  See: http://www.experienceplus.com/tours/tours.html?tid=2965

An eight-day option is also available on the same departure dates at a per person double rate of $3,495 ($500 single). See:http://www.experienceplus.com/tours/tours.html?tid=2964

Seasoned cyclist Rick Price, founder of the company now run by his daughters Monica and Maria Elena, suggests that Ireland could well be the 51st state because of how friendly and familiar to Americans the Irish are.

“The west of Ireland is like the outback of Europe. Here things have changed oh so slowly. Country music in the pub in the evening is as genuine as you’ll find. That’s why we spend two nights in Doolin, one of the centers of Irish folk music. Our tour sticks purposely to the west, largely to Connemara and the Aran Islands, the “gaeltacht” so-called, as it defines one of four geographic areas where the Irish language is still spoken.  Here we hear genuine Irish music, visit a traditional Irish drum (bodhrán, pronounced “bow-rhan”) maker, and see the ponies and peat cutters of the west. Our evenings are in cozy lodgings with traditional Irish fare supplemented by exquisite, modern European cuisine,” said Price.

Art and music festivals will abound on the Emerald Isle as part of The Gathering Ireland 2013 – http://www.thegatheringireland.com/. The cycling company has selected events open to the public but not coinciding with the bike tour dates if people want to plan extra travel pre or post tour:

About ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours
No North American company has been running European cycling tours longer than ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours (http://www.experienceplus.com/). Launched in Italy in 1972 the Colorado-based company now offers global cycling tours immersed in local character to 31 countries on five continents. Throughout the years as the business and industry have evolved, ExperiencePlus!’ roots as a family business have remained strong. Authentic, experienced, self-paced and engaging were the ethos of parents Rick and Paola Malpezzi Price which have now been passed down to their daughters and current directors Monica Price and Maria Elena Price.

ExperiencePlus! cultural cycling programs engage tour leaders who are expert cyclists and trained cultural interpreters, guiding guests on innovative routes and immersing them in off-the-beaten-path experiences. Tours in 2013 go to Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, India, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA and Vietnam among others.

ExperiencePlus! is a 2011 and a 2010 recipient of National Geographic Travelermagazine’s 50 Tours of a Lifetime. The 2011 issue also featured Maria Elena Price and Monica Price, co-owners, among its World’s Top 10 Tour Guides.

For a 2013 catalog and/or more information visit: http://www.experienceplus.com/ or call 1.800.685.4565.

Image courtesy Widness & Wiggins PR

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