5 Great Cycling Routes in Ireland
Ireland is known for a lot of things—St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness, Oscar Wilde and W. B. Yeats, U2 and Sinéad O'Connor, shamrocks and leprechauns, the Cliffs of Moher, and Conor McGregor. But it is also a great place for cycling, too. As a matter of fact, Ireland has quite a lot of cycling paths to explore, and listing everyone of them would be next to impossible, so we decided to narrow our list to 5 of the best.
Here are our picks:
Ring of Kerry
Located in County Kerry in the southwest of Ireland and stretching over 160 kilometres, this route is a driving and cycling loop that follows the well-known Wild Atlantic Way coastline. Those planning to take on this trail must make sure that they pass by Skellig Ring, which affords bikers the most scenic views of the entire route, the highlight being a panoramic view of Valentia Island and the picturesque village of Portmagee.
Galway City to Spiddal
The Galway City to Spiddal route will have you cycling parts of County Galway, beginning at the outskirts of Galway City and onto Clifden Road. The trail will next lead you to Moycullen and finally, onto Spiddal, where you will be greeted by a breathtaking view of the majestic Cliffs of Moher and of the Aran Islands on a clear day. This route is over 40 kilometres long, with a single climb that even novice cyclists can surely conquer. You can make a pit stop at Spiddal’s crafts centre, where you can take a break, grab a bite, sip a cup of coffee, and even buy souvenirs.
This 74 kilometre route is near Dublin, yet biking through this trail can give you that middle of nowhere vibe, especially as it takes you through the tranquil countryside. The landscapes are lovely, and options for camping are aplenty, notably at Wicklow Way.
Georgian Dublin via Dublin Bikes
This city route starts at Parnell Street and heads on north toward Charlemont House and The Garden of Remembrance. Pedal further up north and you will pass by Mountjoy Square. You will then cycle back southward, looping around to Stephen’s Green, onto Merrion Square, and then to Fitzwilliam Place. The route will take you further down south at Dame Street and all the way to Dublin Castle, where you can get a much-deserved respite and take lunch, too.
This city trail notably passes by the famous National Leprechaun Museum, which as the name suggests is dedicated to the often-capricious creatures that are part of Irish folklore. The myths of these mythical shoe cobblers, along with the rest of Irish mythology, has remained popular largely due to the masterful and persistent storytelling of the Irish and the power of mass media. Books like Treasury of Irish Myth, Legend & Folklore by the aforementioned Yeats and movies such as X-Men: First Class (the ultra-sonic screaming Banshee is a death-heralding spirit) have helped perpetuate aspects of Irish oral tradition. Lately, even the gaming industry is doing the same by using characters from Irish mythology—banshees make appearances in Warcraft , Fable, and RuneScape, for instance—and taking inspiration from its supernatural narratives. In Rainbow Riches Pick n Mix by game developer Foxy Bingo it alludes to the mythic pots of gold, which incidentally are said to be owned by leprechauns. Of course, you won't find any pots of gold on this trail, but you can most definitely learn a thing or two about Ireland's roguish little fairies by making a stop in the aforementioned museum, which we highly recommend that you do.
The Kingfisher Trail
For an off the beaten track ride, this route in County Fermanagh is easily the best of the bunch, offering scenic views on country lanes where traffic is largely non-existent. The majestic panoramas over Upper and Lower Lough Erne and Lough Macnean are a sight to behold, and the more than 482 kilometres the trail covers presents a real tough challenge. There is an eerie tranquility to this trail, more so when you pass through remote areas and the Marble Arch caves.
These 5 trails, in our humble estimation, are the best, but as mentioned, there are numerous others in this beautiful country. Feel free to explore all of them!