The 7 Best Cycle Routes Ireland
According to the Copenhagenize Index 2022*, Ireland’s capital is one of the top 20 most bike-friendly cities in the world. However, the best places to cycle in Ireland are in the countryside, where you can enjoy the famous scenery and crisp, clean air. Much of its dramatic seacoast is part of the beautiful Atlantic Coast Route, which is part of the EuroVelo network. Upland areas like the Wicklow Mountains National Park offer a challenge as well as a beautiful view. Try one of these routes and you’re sure to have a good time cycling.
*It’s important to note that some Irish cycling magazines have said that Dublin doesn’t deserve to be this high on the list.
The Way of the Wild Atlantic
The Wild Atlantic Way is the world’s longest defined coastal driving route. It goes from Malin Head in County Donegal to Kinsale in County Cork, which is about 1,553 miles away. This is a big project that includes the whole west coast of the country as well as a lot of the north and south. It’s best for serious cyclists with a lot of time on their hands. IrelandWays.com says that experienced cyclists should be able to finish the whole route in 25 days.
If you walk the whole trail along the rough western coast, you’ll get to see some of Ireland’s most beautiful places, like Connemara, The Burren, and the Ring of Kerry. At different points along the way, they’ll also be able to stop at amazing natural sights like The Cliffs of Moher.
But if you don’t have time to do the whole thing, you can easily break up the Wild Atlantic Way into shorter sections, like the one below.
Great Western Greenway
Up until recently, the Great Western Greenway, which is 26 miles long, was Ireland’s longest path for walking and biking that was not on a road. Even though it lost the longest title earlier this year, this trail is still one of the most beautiful and popular places to bike in the country. It is a part of the National Cycle Network and the Wild Atlantic Way in County Mayo. In 2011, it won the European Destinations of Excellence award.
The whole trail goes from Westport to Achill along the old railway line. It goes along the beautiful coast of Clew Bay and is watched over by Croagh Patrick, a mountain that is a pilgrimage site. Within that, the track splits into three parts: an 11-kilometer (7-mile) stretch between Westport and Newport, an 18-kilometer (11-mile) stretch between Newport and Mulranny, and an 8-mile (13-kilometer) stretch from Mulranny to Achill Island over the Michael Davitt Bridge.
Achill is the largest island off the coast of Ireland. It has historical sites like the castle of Grace O’Malley, who was a pirate queen. The island is also known for its beautiful landscapes and beaches. People with a moderate level of fitness can use all three sections of the Great Western Greenway.
The Cycle of the Beara Peninsula
This easy 60-kilometer (37-mile) coastal route starts in the tourist town of Kenmare and goes through most of the beautiful Beara Peninsula. The headland is part of the border between the counties of Cork and Kerry. To the north, it looks out over Kenmare Bay to the Iveragh Peninsula, and to the south, it looks out over Bantry Bay.
The track starts with a nice trip south across the peninsula and through the Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve. This is a paved route with two hills. From Glengarriff, bikers can hop from island to island to see the famous gardens on Garnish Island, or they can follow the trail along the southern coast of the peninsula to the village of Adrigole and then on to Castletownbere, where they can look out over Bantry Bay and its other islands.
Those who want a more difficult trip can take a detour inland at Adrigole, through the Caha Mountains and over the Healy Pass. The extra work and hour and a half added to the trip will be more than made up for by the stunning views. It’s one of the most beautiful roads in the country to cycle on.
The Ring of Kerry and the Inishowen 100 route in Donegal are also great places to ride bikes along the Wild Atlantic Way.
The Greenway in Waterford
The Waterford Greenway is Ireland’s newest and longest off-road walking and biking path. The last part of it just opened to the public in March. At 46 kilometers, it is also the longest (29 miles).
This mostly flat greenway, which was once a railroad track but is now a park, connects Waterford city to the harbor town of Dungarvan. Along the way, you can visit a ruined Norman castle and an 18th-century Georgian mansion with award-winning gardens.
But some of the best views along the trail can be seen on the last part of the ride to Dungarvan, after you cross the Ballyvoyle viaduct and pass by Clonea Strand, a long blue flag beach.
Rathdrum Wicklow Gap – The Dublin Cycle
This difficult upland trail starts in the village of Rathdrum and goes through the Wicklow Mountains National Park. The area is known for its beautiful countryside. It takes cyclists up 1,130 meters (3,707 feet) and through the Glendalough valley and monastic site, which is one of Ireland’s best-known sights.
The track then crosses the Wicklow Gap, one of only two east-west roads through the Wicklow Mountains, and heads north along the shore of Blessington Lake. The whole trip is 75 kilometers (46 miles). As cyclists get closer to Dublin, they will be able to see the capital city spread out below them.
Rostrevor Cycle Route
Travel writer Nicola Brady is one of many who say that the Mourne Mountains in County Down are one of their favorite places to go cycling in Ireland. She says that the unique beauty of the area helped author C.S. Lewis come up with the idea for Narnia.
The circular Rostrevor Cycle Route is one of the many trails in the area. It is 27 kilometers (17 miles) long and has a lot of hills. It ends on the shores of Carlingford Lough and has great views of the area.
Mountain bikers can also use the Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails, which include a 27-kilometer (17-mile) red trail, a 19-kilometer (12-mile) black trail (only for very experienced mountain bikers), and purpose-built downhill trails that are sure to get your heart racing.
The coast of Antrim
The Antrim Coast is another popular and beautiful place in the country. It is home to the Giant’s Causeway, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cyclists can follow the popular driving route north along the coast from the town of Larne to Ballycastle, which goes through beautiful villages like Cushendun, if they want to.
CycleNI suggests a 56-kilometer (35-mile) loop that starts in Ballycastle and goes along the Causeway Coast, past the 16th-century Kinbane Castle and the island of Carrick-a-Rede, which is connected to the mainland by a rope bridge that can make you feel dizzy, and on to the Giant’s Causeway.
On the way back to Ballycastle, you will pass through the town of Bushmills, which is where the Old Bushmills Distillery is. Fans of the HBO show Game of Thrones can add a 14-kilometer (nine-mile) detour to The Dark Hedges in nearby Ballymoney. This is an avenue of intertwined beech trees that was used as the Kingsroad in the show.
Topic: The 7 Best Cycle Routes Ireland
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By: Travel Pixy