With almost 100,000 kilometres of roads and an impressive variety of landscapes, Ireland is a true paradise for cyclists. Routes through rugged mountains, peaceful lakes and breathtaking cliffs await, with there being no shortage of glimpses of another era thanks to ancient ruins and majestic castles.
Throughout Ireland, there are scenic routes perfect for bike lovers; simply, choose your cycling route and start pedalling!
Rostrevor Forest (27 km)
This challenging cycling route begins on the banks of Carlingford Lough and is arguably one of the best mountain biking routes in Ireland. In fact, the Mourne Mountains are the perfect setting for putting your stamina to the test. When you get to the top of Slieve Martin, you’ll get to enjoy spectacular views over Carlingford Lough. After that well-deserved rest, pedal through a series of exciting descents. On this route, cycle through a section of the north coast to Yellow Water, where the route makes a turn, allowing you to catch your breath as you pedal your way onto Kilbroney Valley and finally return to the banks of Carlingford Lough.
The Waterford Greenway (46 km)
This route is ideal for families as it runs along an old railway used now for walkers and cyclists. Departing from Dungarvan, pick up a trail where you’ll find the mysterious Durrow Tunnel and its abandoned railway station. If you want to cool off, you can take a dip at Clonea Beach or dive into Dungarvan Bay to discover the WWI shipwrecks. When you get back on the route, you’ll find the stylised profile of the Kilmacthomas Viaduct and the spectacular views of the Comeragh Mountains. To end the day with a bang, the elegant gardens of Mount Congreve and the spectacular views of the River Suir Bridge await.
Inis Mór Island (57 km)
If you feel like getting to know the largest of the Aran Islands, there is nothing better than exploring it on two wheels. In just one day you’ll be able to enjoy nature in its wildest state while traces of history grab your attention with every pedal cycle. The suggestive Caislen Aircin reveals the defensive capacity of the island at the end of the 16th century, while Clochan na Carraige tells you all about how the old inhabitants lived. And don’t forget about the ruins of Teampall Bheanain, perhaps one of the smallest churches in the world. There are so many places to explore but you’ll have to pick up the pace if you want to complete the route in just one day!
Blessington to Glendalough (75 km)
This looped cycling route departs from Blessington with a sequence of idyllic landscapes along paved roads and forest trails. The route begins in the historic town and runs south along the Blessington Lakes – a 5,000 acres stretch of water home to Ireland’s largest man-made lake. Passing through Glenealo Valley, you will soon reach the monastic complex of Glendalough, one of the most important in Ireland, founded in the 6th century. When you get to the town of Laragh, the route heads uphill on Old Military Road. With the forests and mountains of Wicklow as your travelling companions, you’ll soon reach the Glenmacnass Waterfall, the perfect place to take a break before finishing this bumper route through Ireland’s Ancient East.
The Burren to Cape Loop (150 km)
If you fancy a longer cycling adventure, this route through Burren National Park will suit you perfectly. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, you can pedal through one of the most spectacular and unique landscapes in the world thanks to its karst relief. The route starts off in the picturesque town of Ballyvaughan and will lead you to the impressive Cliffs of Moher. More than 100 metres above the Atlantic, from the top of the watchtower you can see the Aran Islands and Galway Bay. The route continues south along the coastal area and the Heritage Trail at Cape Loop, where the ruins of the Carrigaholt Castle and the iconic Loophead Lighthouse await you. If you need to recharge your batteries, simply choose from among the many local restaurants in the towns along the route.
The Inishowen Peninsula (160 km)
The Inishowen scenic route passes through many of the peninsula’s top tourist attractions and landmarks, so there will be plenty of opportunities to stop along the way. The journey begins in Bridgend and heads to Lough Swilly, where you can see dolphins or even a shipwreck if you are adventurous enough to go diving. You can follow the trail of history at the impressive Fort Dunree, dating back to the Napoleonic Wars, or at the Doagh Famine Village, whose thatched cottages still recount the harsh living conditions during the Great Famine. Nature will also surprise you when you reach the spectacular Five Finger Strand dunes, some of the highest in Europe, although you can see it best from the top of the cliff at Knockamany Bens. And when you head north, you’ll be greeted by the beach of Kinnagoe Bay, a wild and secluded hideaway – perfect for relaxing and forgetting about the world.
With excellent cycle routes around Ireland, there is something for everyone. Liberty Insurance can help you on your journey to and from these scenic routes with affordable car insurance.
This article has been written and provided by Liberty Insurance. #ad