“Ireland, especially the rural West, is a cyclist’s dream.” So says Bicycling magazine, and you will surely agree. There’s an endless network of winding back roads where lazy sheep are often your only company. Green meadows lead down to the sea, magical mist-covered mountains are off in the distance, while around every turn you are likely to come upon cows grazing around a medieval castle, Stone Age ruins, or the remains of an ancient cathedral. Stone cottages are tucked along the edges of green pastures dotted with sheep, and each small village looks more Irish than the last. And the Irish are even friendlier than their reputation – warm and welcoming, and always ready to engage you in the gentle pleasures of good conversation while you enjoy a bit of traditional Irish music at the local pub.