Welcome to your Ultimate Guide to Cycling in Ireland 2023.
Getting up on the bike and cycling in Ireland is one of the best and most beautiful ways to explore our amazing landscape, mountains, towns and greenways!
Ireland has much to offer for every type of cyclist, whether they prefer relaxing rides along the shore, touring historical sites, or taking on difficult mountain routes. Even if you want to race!
We’ll take you on a tour of some of the best cycling routes, undiscovered jewels, and practical advice in this blog to help you have an unforgettable cycling adventure in Ireland.
Check out the table of contents below.
Table of contents
- Why Choose Ireland for Cycling?
- Essential Cycling Gear
- Safety Tips for Cycling in Ireland
- Top Cycling Routes in Ireland
- Coastal Routes
- Countryside Explorations
- Mountain Adventures
- Cycling-Friendly Towns and Cities
- Cycling Events and Festivals
- Irish Culture and Heritage on Two Wheels
- Cycling Etiquette in Ireland
- Local Irish Cuisine for Cyclists
- Useful Resources and Further Reading
Why Choose Ireland for Cycling
We promise you, if you choose to go cycling in Ireland you will absolutely not regret it.
The experience can be magical.
Ireland offers bikers of all skill levels a really captivating experience because of its breath-taking scenery and rich history.
Here are some of the best reasons:
When you think of Ireland you think of our lush green fields, rugged coastlines and glass-like lakes.
We’ve also got some of the best Greenways to enjoy these in a safe environment too.
From the Wild Atlantic Way to the beautiful kingdom of Kerry, there is no shortage of options.
Explore the Culture
Ireland’s thriving cities, quaint towns, and historic sites offer many opportunities to fully experience the nation’s rich cultural legacy.
The ancient walls of Derry, the bustling streets of Dublin, and historic places like Newgrange may all be explored by bicycle.
Every location offers a different aspect of Ireland’s intriguing past.
Enjoy the Warm Irish Welcome!
The cycling community are a great bunch in Ireland, and so too are the people in general!
So if you go on a cycle you’re bound to bump into locals who would only love to share stories and local knowledge of what is worth checking out.
You might even get some dinner and a cup of tea too!
Terrains for all
Ireland has a wide variety of terrains to accommodate all different kinds of riders.
It offers a variety of hiking opportunities, including scenic mountain trails, easy country lanes, and coastline paths.
You may test your abilities on adventurous mountain biking paths or ride lazily along picturesque coastline roads while exploring the peaceful countryside.
If you’re only starting off on your cycling journey, this blog will give you a Step By Step Guide for riding a bike for beginners.
Essential Cycling Gear to bring with you in Ireland
Fail to prepare and prepare to fail and all that!
With varied terrain and, well, varied weather too, it’s important to pack right.
Don’t forget these essentials:
Helmet – safety first! It’s a vital piece of equipment that no cyclist should be without. Make sure it’s properly fitted too.
Lights and Reflective Gear – When light is low or getting dark, you want to make sure you’re seen. Especially in windy back roads that Ireland has.
Repair kit – imagine being stuck out in the middle of nowhere and you get a puncture? A basic repair kit will have a spare tube, tyre levers, a pump and some sort of multi-tool to help you.
Waterproof clothing – Famously you can get all four seasons of weather in Ireland in only a couple of hours! So don’t forget a waterproof jacket, cycling shorts, gloves and light outwear. Oh yeah, and padded shorts for you know what!
Water and food – Carry a water bottle or hydration pack to stay hydrated. Bring energizing snacks for your rides, such as energy bars, bananas, or trail mix.
GPS – Use a map, GPS, or cycling app as navigational aids to plan your travels efficiently. Learn the routes and have a backup strategy in case there are any detours or unforeseen events.
Check out our cycling range to find some essential pieces of kit for your adventure!
Cycling in Ireland Safety Tips
As we said above, safety should be your paramount concern when cycling.
As fun and enjoyable as it is in Ireland, it can also be dangerous if you aren’t careful.
These are some essential safety tips to follow.
Obey the rules of the road
Become familiar with and follow Ireland’s traffic rules and regulations.
It’s quite useful to know if it is illegal to ride a bike without a helmet in Ireland too.
This include paying attention to traffic signs, letting pedestrians go first, and riding on the right side of the road.
Here are some useful laws on cycling in Ireland.
Strap up and be seen!
We urge all cyclists never take to the road without a helmet.
While you should not forget your reflective gear either!
And while you’re not legally obliged to wear a helmet or high-visibility clothing, the Road Safety Authority also urges people to do so.
You never know what’s around the corner in the Irish countryside.
Always keep a constant eye on your surroundings.
Look for potential hazards on the road, be aware of other drivers, and be prepared for any adjustments to the flow of traffic.
Plan your route
While it can be tempting to just head off and see where the wind takes you, you should plan your route before hand.
Or at least have a general idea where you are going.
Learn about the route you intend to take beforehand. To make your ride safer and more pleasurable, take into account variables like the state of the roads, elevation variations, and traffic volume.
Ride Single File
The law allows you to cycle no more than two abreast but in areas of high traffic, single file is much safer.
It’s about being mindful of motorists and also avoiding unnecessary congestion.
In case of emergency, it’s really important to have ID.
Furthermore, emergency contact numbers are important to have also.
Top Cycling routes in Ireland
There is absolutely no shortage of stunning cycling routes that you and your family can enjoy.
Whether it’s an easy and leisurely route, tougher terrain or even fast roads, Ireland boasts it all.
Here are some of our favourites.
Irish Coastal Cycling Routes
Wild Atlantic Way: Spanning 2,500 km along the western coast, this iconic route showcases Ireland’s rugged beauty, dramatic cliffs, and charming seaside villages.
Causeway Coastal Route: Discover the stunning Causeway Coastline, featuring the UNESCO World Heritage Site Giant’s Causeway, medieval castles, and picturesque beaches.
Ring of Kerry: This classic route takes you on a 179 km loop around the Iveragh Peninsula, showcasing enchanting coastal vistas, mountains, and traditional Irish villages.
Irish Countryside Cycling Routes
Boyne Valley: Explore the historic Boyne Valley, home to ancient burial mounds, monastic ruins, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Newgrange.
Connemara Loop: Experience the rugged beauty of Connemara, cycling through scenic mountains, pristine lakes, and charming villages like Clifden and Roundstone.
Great Western Greenway: Follow the former railway line from Westport to Achill Island, cycling through picturesque landscapes, peat bogs, and offering stunning coastal views on Ireland’s first greenway!
Irish Mountain Cycling Routes
Wicklow Mountains: Challenge yourself with exhilarating mountain biking trails in the Wicklow Mountains. Explore the renowned Sally Gap, Glendalough, and the scenic Wicklow Way, immersing yourself in the beauty of Ireland’s largest upland area.
Killarney National Park: Pedal through the stunning landscapes of Killarney National Park, where you’ll encounter lush forests, sparkling lakes, and the awe-inspiring Gap of Dunloe.
The Burren: Discover the unique limestone landscape of the Burren in County Clare. Cycle through this captivating region, dotted with ancient monuments, rare flora, and panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
We told you there was something for everyone, didn’t we?
Don’t forget to choose the route that matches your ability. When you do, you’ll get a taste of everything great about Ireland.
The best cycling events in Ireland
There are a lot of really fun cycling events to enjoy in Ireland every year.
This is a great opportunity to meet new people, learn some cycling knowledge and have a bit of craic too.
We recommend checking out the following:
Held annually, this event takes participants on a 180 km loop around the stunning Ring of Kerry. Join thousands of cyclists as you pedal through picturesque landscapes while supporting various charities.
Explore the streets of Dublin in this annual mass participation cycling event. With various route options, cyclists of all abilities can join in and experience the city from a unique perspective.
Combine your love for cycling and music by participating in this charity cycle to the Electric Picnic music festival. Pedal alongside fellow festival-goers while raising funds for a good cause.
This challenging sportive takes riders on a 200 km loop through the stunning Wicklow Mountains. Experience the beauty of this region while testing your endurance on Ireland’s longest-running and most renowned cycling event.
Not for the faint-hearted!
Enjoy the breath-taking landscapes of Connemara during this annual cycling event. With routes ranging from 80 km to 160 km, participants can soak in the beauty of lakes, mountains, and rugged coastline.
Embark on a scenic coastal adventure along the Wild Atlantic Way, starting from Mizen Head. This multi-day event showcases the breath-taking beauty of Ireland’s western coastline.
Bike Week is a nationwide initiative held annually to promote cycling and its benefits.
It features various events, including leisure rides, family-friendly activities, and cycling workshops, encouraging people of all ages and abilities to embrace cycling.
We guarantee you’ll have a great time at these events.
But make sure to do your research in terms of dates and difficulty of the cycle before you sign up.
Cycling Etiquette in Ireland
At this stage we know all about what and where to cycle in Ireland.
Now we are going to focus on how you should cycle and more importantly, act when you are on the road.
It’s just a few simple reminders that will help you contribute to a better cycling experience for you, pedestrians, and motorists alike.
Share the Road
Since cyclists in Ireland are regarded as moving objects, it’s critical to give moving objects the right of way and to share the road with them.
Ride predictably, follow the rules of the road, and let people know what you’re up to.
Respect and consideration should be shown for drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists.
When someone yields or makes space available, greet them with courteous gestures like waving or nodding to show your appreciation.
When passing slower bikes or pedestrians, give them plenty of room and maintain a safe distance.
Always pass on the left, and before re-entering the lane, make sure it is clear.
Use Hand Signals
Use clear hand signals to convey your intentions to turn or halt when communicating.
At intersections, make eye contact with drivers to let them know you’re there.
When cycling on shared pathways or sidewalks, keep an eye out for pedestrians.
Give pedestrians room, move slowly, and always stop for them at crosswalks.
Respect Private Property
Unless you have express permission, stay off private property, such as farms or private roads, when cycling.
Respect the environment and only cycle along authorized routes.
Don’t be a litter bug
Avoid littering while cycling.
Carry a small bag with you for any waste, such as used tissues or the wrappers from energy bars, and properly dispose of it in the specified bins.
Control Your Speed
Adjust your speed to the conditions of the road and pay attention to any people, kids, or animals that may be nearby. When approaching tight turns or crowded areas, slow down.
All that is left to do now is get out there and enjoy the cycle.
Intersport Elverys has a great range of bikes and cycling gear for you to check it too.
Have a look at our website below and you can even avail of instalments payments thanks to humm!