When it comes to cycling in Ireland, the country has something for every rider. The cycling routes of the country would please an adventure seeker as well as a calm admirer of scenic nature. Here are nine of the best cycles in Ireland you can experience and enjoy the “slow tourism” that cycling is often called.
Pedal-friendly Peninsula Route
Choose this route if you want to take a moment from your heavily occupied life and spend some time contemplating nature. The route starts at the coast of Duncannon (a little village 20 km south of New Ross). All you need to do while cycling is to ensure that the sea is on your right when you start out and keep going south towards Hook Head Lighthouse, where the route ends.
This route will also fulfil the desires you have for history and mystery! Along the way, you will pass through Templetown, the home of the mysterious Templar Church. You will also pass through Loftus Hall, which is arguably the most haunted house in Ireland.
The Kingdom Route
If you want to experience the pure and raw beauty of nature, this is the cycle to go for. You start the route as you leave the jostling town of Killarney and enter the scenic landscape of the Gap of Dunloe.
This route offers you the opportunity of escaping the hustle of town and experience nature at its best. As you exit the beautiful Gap of Dunloe, the route takes you to into the Black Valley. Fun Fact – Black Valley was the last region in Ireland to receive electricity.
However, this 56 km long route cannot be called an easy one. The ride from Killarney to Black Valley involves rolling roads and a fairly challenging climb as you head on to the Moll’s Valley.
Pro Tip Route
This is the route ideal for more frequent riders. With a terrain that is easy to navigate, the route starts and ends at Carrick-on-Suir. You start with Slievenamon on your right and pass through River Suir, Clonmel, Co Waterford and Ballymacarby. By the time you reach the picturesque Nire Valley, you would bicycling in Ireland along the Comeragh Mountains on your left.
Though this route has an easy terrain and very few not-so-steep climbs, it is fairly long. With almost 100 km to ride, you will have to invest a good five hours into the trip. If you are a tourist, you will find suitable electric bikes in Ireland to help you ride the terrain.
The Slea Head Ride
Beginning and ending in Dingle, this route is essentially a ride in the coastal loop around the peninsula one some of the best road bikes Ireland has to offer. This is the route to opt for if you are less of a mountain person and more of a sea person.
Throughout the journey, you will have the scenic coast and ever-changing waters alongside. 50 km long, the track is neither completely flat nor extremely rocky. It has a fair share of climbs that can be easily navigated as you pass by the Blasket islands.
The Rostrevor Route
With the length of 27 km, this cycling route allows you to witness the beauty of the Mourne Mountains. It starts and ends at Rostrevor with a fair amount of hills to encounter at regular intervals.
This is certainly not a smooth and easy route to take and it is advisable to use thicker tires in case you are a road cyclist. However, the track offers some incredible sights of the Rostrevor Forest, Carlingford Lough and the Mourne Mountains.
City Slicker Route
This is a slightly more difficult route as compared to its previous counterpart. It is essentially a mountain biking experience that starts at the bottom of Three Rock Mountain. The cycle involves you following the trail and cycling up the terrain.
While the length of the official route is 13 km, you can opt for smaller loops or repeat sections according to your preferences. The trail is also signposted and waymarked throughout, helping you navigate better. The route offers you different options depending on the kind of terrain you want to cycle on. If you are not in a mood for more hurdles, you can choose the tracks with a smoother terrain. On the other hand, you can go for the more rocky terrain if you are feeling more adventurous.
Inis More Loop
This cycling route is bound to bring out the sucker of adventure inside you as you explore the largest Aran Island. You can start the 57 km long route by bringing your bike across on a ferry from Ros a’ Mhil.
The track would offer you exquisite sights of the stone fort of Dun Aonghasa, Poll na bPiest pool and the beautiful wilderness of Ireland. As the Aran Islands possess rich Irish cultural heritage, you can choose to stay and spend the night with locals to get interesting insights and stories to tell.
This is the 46 km long route for biking in Ireland, stretching between Waterford and Dungarvan. It is considerably flat and easy to navigate, making it accessible for anyone who wishes to have a fulfilling experience of cycling in Ireland.
Opened as late as March 2017, this route runs essentially along an old railway line (established 140 years ago) which has been renovated specially for hikers and bikers. Along with the mysterious Ballyvoyle Tunnel and three stone viaducts, the trail also includes several authentic Irish pubs where you can stop for refreshments.
With the length of 75 km, this is the longest cycle of the lot. Essentially a full-day loop, the route involves cycling on fairly quiet roads around the Blessington Lakes, Wicklow Mountains and the beautiful Glendalough Monastery.
The route is fairly easy to navigate and can be extended a little if you want to start at Dublin. Though you would hardly encounter any hurdles and rough terrain along the way, it is recommended for more frequent riders.