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Travel + Fun

06th Jul 2017

On yer bike! 6 of Ireland’s best cycling routes to explore this summer

How many have you taken a spin on?

Conor Heneghan

Cycling enthusiasts are spoiled with any amount of options in this country; here’s just a selection of the best cycling routes in Ireland.

Whether it’s the weather or the sight of the Tour de France back on our tellies, the thought of getting on a bike is becoming ever more appealing as the summer goes on.

It’s a handy one the whole family will enjoy – not only is it a lovely way to get active, it’s also a great for getting out and see beautiful parts of the country that you might not have visited under normal circumstances.

If you’re holidaying at home this year, here are just some of the best cycling spots Ireland has to offer.

The Ring of Kerry

Arguably the Daddy of all cycling routes in Ireland and with good reason, the 112-mile route takes in some of the most breathtaking sights in a truly beautiful part of the world.

Scenic though it undoubtedly is, cycling the entire route could be gruelling so best break it up for those in your party with smaller legs.

Great Western Greenway

The Great Western Greenway has been a very popular attraction for tourists travelling through Mayo while on the Wild Atlantic Way in recent years.

You’ll do well to find two nicer spots along the route than Achill and Westport and the 42km in between them (including three separate, shorter, cycle routes) isn’t that bad to look at either.

The route, which also includes a walking trail, is entirely traffic-free and takes in sights such as the Nephin mountain range, Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick and up until very recently, it was the longest off-road walking and cycling trail in Ireland.

For more information, click here.

Waterford Greenway

The Great Western Greenway’s title as the longest off-road walking and cycling experience was snatched from it by its equivalent in Waterford, which officially opened in March 2017.

46 kilometres in length, the trail runs along an old railway line between Waterford and Dungarvan and includes a spectacular vantage point at the 50-metre high Kilmacthomas Viaduct, the halfway point of the route.

For more information, click here.

Clip via Waterford Council

The Mourne Mountains

Up north, there are several mapped cycling routes originating from Newcastle in County Down, including the Newcastle to Lough Island Reavy Route, which takes in sights such as Tollymore Forest Park, Lough Reavy Reservoir and of, course, the Mourne Mountains themselves.

The route stretches for approximately 25 miles so again, short bursts might be best for younger cyclists.

For more information, click here.

The Burren Cycleway

Our next route brings us back to the Wild Atlantic Way, again, but it’s not as if there’s a shortage of routes along some 2,500 km of coastline spanning the west of Ireland.

This is one for older kids – in Clare, options for cyclists include the Burren and Dolmen Cycleways, both of which pose a challenge rated as ‘moderate to difficult’ and include even more spectacular scenery in one of the country’s tourist hotspots.

Considering that the tours take in towns full of character such as Lahinch, Lisdoonvarna, Ballyvaughan, Kilfenora and Ballyvaughan, these are routes perhaps fitting of a more leisurely cycle, with plenty of time set aside for refreshments.

For more information, click here.

Rathdrum Wicklow Gap and Dublin route

Cycling in Dublin city can be a nerve-wracking experience, even for accomplished riders, but there’s plenty of attractive routes to be found a short spin away from the hustle and bustle of the big smoke.

One particularly popular trail with cyclists is the Rathdrum Wicklow Gap and Dublin route, which stretches for 75 kilometres, includes over a kilometre worth of climbing and passes landmarks like Glendalough and (the name’s a giveaway) the breathtaking Wicklow Gap.