Cycling in Ireland
Ireland’s Best Cycling Routes to Experience Nature
Cycling on quiet country lanes is one of the joys of a holiday in Ireland. There are many small bike shops in Ireland who will rent you a bike for a day or for the duration of your holidays if you want to go by yourself. We offer a wide range of guided tours where the guide accompanies you on a set route. We also offer self-guided tours where you collect your bike and an information package on your chosen area. We can organise transport of bikes from your home to your holiday base. Electric bikes have become popular with people who may be less used to cycling and are a great way to travel along greenways.
There are dedicated cycling lanes in the main cities but cycling in the countryside can be difficult, with traffic whizzing by. This is why we have suggestions which are for the most part off-road. We can organise leisure cycling bikes, hybrid or pure mountain bikes depending on the route you choose. Bikes hired with us come with helmets and safety vests provided.
1. Dublin Mountain Cycling Tours
These guided tours take place in Co Dublin and Co Wicklow on quiet roads away from heavy traffic at 2 centres close to the Dublin and Wicklow Mountains. The scenery is stunning as you cycle through Wicklow National Park. The guided trails are organised according to difficulty and cater for individuals and groups choose the tour to suit your fitness and experience level. Take an easy bike tour of 9km to Glendalough and see one of Ireland’s most important monastic sites with an impressive round tower. Take an off-road tour of the Dublin Skyline or a 12km cycling track which is a bit more challenging. For those who are used to cycling take either the Wicklow Mountain Tour or the Sally Gap Tour, both up to 4 hours long (Link Dublin Mountain Bike Tours)
2. The Waterford Greenway
This route opened in 2017 and has been very successful for cycling and walking. The Greenway runs from Waterford to Dungarvan along a flat easy cycling route and follows an old railway line which closed 50 years ago. There are plenty of sights to admire along the way with viaducts, the Ballyvoyle Tunnel and lots of cafes and pubs. (Link – not done yet)
3. Old Head of Kinsale Loop Cycle
This is a half day guided cycling tour where you experience the history and scenery of the Wild Atlantic Way. Meet your guide and collect your bikes at the Old Head of Kinsale and travel the lanes along the coast to Garrettstown. Enjoy the fine coastal views and maybe spot surfers catching waves then travel on to the village of Ballinspittle for tea or coffee in a local cafe. This is a gentle cycle with options of a trip through a local forest or an uphill climb. Visit the Old Head Signal Tower and Lusitania Memorial before or after your tour. (Link Old Head Cycling)
4. Killarney and the Gap of Dunloe.
Collect your pre-booked bike in Killarney town centre then cycle to Ross Castle through beautiful Killarney National Park, maybe spotting deer on the way. Then board a large open boat will take you, through the Meeting of the Waters and to Kate Kearney’s Cottage. You can cycle through the Black Valley and Gap of Dunloe off road back to Killarney – a journey of 12km. Some of the routes back is through the National Park. You may want to take a longer route through the Black Valley and make sure to bring drinks and food with you. This is a great way to enjoy the spectacular scenery of Kerry. (Link to Killarney Day Trips)
5. Dingle Electric Bike Tour
The Dingle Penisula is a spectacular area to cycle along quiet country lanes. Regular and electric bikes can be delivered to your accommodation – this needs to be organised when booking. There are stunning views around every bend in the road and villages and beaches scattered along the Penisula. You might want to stop off at the Blasket Island Heritage Centre to explore the story of the famous island and characters such as Peig Sayers. This is a unique eco friendly way to get to know the local people, culture and heritage of the area. (Link – not in yet)
6. The Great Southern Greenway, Limerick
The Great Southern Greenway is a 39km walking and cycling off-road route running along the old railway line connecting the towns of Rathkeale, Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale. There are 5 sections to the route which starts with the Rathkeale to Ardagh section for 9km crossing the river Deel, the ruins of the 15th Century Lisnacille Castle, and St Moula;’s Well and the fort where the Ardagh Chalice was found. The Ardagh to Newcastle section is 4km long passing through rich farmland. From Newcastle to Barnagh is a 10km gentle uphill climb which brings you over the Ferguson Viaduct with spectacular views of the Golden Vale. The 4km section form Barnagh to Templeglanitne is along the N21road and the final stretch to Abbeyfeale on the Kerry border at 13km long is off road again and travels by the river Allaghaun past ruined castles. We can arrange bike hire at any point along the route or a guide along the trail.
7. The Aran Islands
These three islands lie off the coast of Co Galway and are a great place to get a feel for traditional Ireland. Activity Days can organise ferry travel to Inis Mor, the largest island, and bike hire during your stay. You can take a bike across on the ferry from Rossaveal or Doolin or collect one on arrival. Inish Mór has a 57km cycling route along lanes fringed with traditional stone walls. Stop off to see dramatic Dun Aonghus promontory fort overlooking the Atlantic and Poll na bPeist known for its cliff diving competitions. There are lots of places to visit with cafes, pubs and plenty of swimming sites around the island. Hear the locals speak Irish and maybe offer a few phrases yourself. Here are a few phrases. – Conas atá tú (How are you), Lá Brea ( Grand day) and Go raibh míle maith agat (Thank you)
8. Great Western Greenway, Mayo
The Great Western Greenway was the first cycle route developed in Ireland along the Wild Atlantic coast from Westport town to Achill Island. It travels through the picturesque villages of Newport and Mulranny with stunning views of Clew bay. The map here shows the 42km route of traffic free cycling and walking trails which is the longest in Ireland to date. The trail follows the Westport to Achill Railway line which closed in 1937. Organise a tour before you go or bike hire for all the family. (Link not in yet)
9. Belfast Guided Cycling Tour
The local guide will show you his city and it’s a great way to see more of what Belfast has to offer. Start near the modern docklands with a cycle along the Maritime Mile. See the giant Harland and Wolff Gantry Cranes, the Titanic Centre and Slipway, SS Nomadic which was the tender for Titanic and the studios where Game of Thrones was filmed. Back across the River Lagan hear about the origins of Belfast and the upheavals that have shaped the modern city. See the iconic City Hall, the Cathedral quarter and Belfast’s Leaning Tower, the Albert Memorial, finishing at the Customs House. This tour takes 2 hours and covers about 11 kms on the flat. (Link)
10 The Wild Atlantic Way Cycle
This route runs for 2,500kms from Kinsale on the south Cork coast up to County Donegal bordering Northern Ireland. To cycle from the most southerly point to the most northerly point start at Mizen Head in West Cork and finish at Malin Head in Donegal. The Wild Atlantic Way can be completed in about 8 days but you could take up to a month, depending on the time you have available. We suggest taking it in sections and completing the whole route over 2 or 3 trips, so you can enjoy the scenery and the craic along the way.
Some cities and towns offer bike hire from bike stations, where payment is made with a credit card and payment is for the length of time the bike is off the stand. Don’t forget to put these bikes back on a stand when you bring it back. Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Clonakilty have bike hire schemes. The Clonakilty scheme is great as you can cycle to the nearby beaches without steep inclines. There are no cycling helmets with the bike hire in towns, so bring your own.