Weather you're looking for a leisurely cycle with the family or a white-knuckle thrill ride, Ireland has all your cycling needs covered. Here we have tried to give you an overview of some bike related facilities that we have found helpful over the years.
Use this page to find the perfect cycling routes, bike hire and other biking information for your group.
Explore Ireland's family friendly designated cycle routes. The Greenway systems of Ireland, listed below, are walk and cycle paths created along old, disused railway lines. The are free to use and you can't either bring your own bike or hire one at the near by facilities.
The Waterford Greenway takes you across 46km (28miles) of scenic terrain. It runs along what was the railway line between Dungarvan and Waterford and offers spectacular views at every turn. From cycling alongside a river bank on minute to alongside a motorway the next, there is certainly a variety of views to take in. None more so that the 3 massive stone viaducts, the 8 arch Kilmacthomas & the 7 arch Durrow, towering above sections of the Greenway.
The general terrain of the Greenway is very easy going and family friendly and you can expect to pass plenty of joggers and pedestrians enjoying the scenery. You can rent a bike trailer for the little ones and there is even roadside assistance provided for any mishaps. There is also a train that you can board which will take you along part of the trail. You will get the same scenery on the train as as you get cycling but if you feel like putting the feet up for a while, the railway covers 8km of the Greenway, it is worth a go. The railway runs from March to October. Click here to find out about the Waterford & Suir Valley Heritage Railway.
An old disused trainline from Westport to Achill Island has been converted into the Great Western Greenway - a 42km (26miles) cycle path leading through some of Irelands most ruggedly beautiful countryside. Coastline, mountains, bogs, rivers & villages all pass you by on this very well planned cycle path.
I was impressed with how well this trail has been done. There's a few small stretches on road, otherwise the vast majority is off road and in some parts you really feel away from everything. Being an old railway line its gentle gradients make it a very enjoyable leisurely cycle, and with villages, cafes & pubs on route there's no shortage of re-fueling spots along the way.
We hired bikes from Clew Bay Bike Hire, but there's also the option of booking a cycle tour and have a guide show you the best spots (€30-40 pp for 4-7 hrs | www.westportcycletours.com | firstname.lastname@example.org | +353 (0)87 9199152).
If you don't have a guide, be sure to check the wind forecast. The cycle path runs East (Westport) to West (Achill Island). Ireland's prevailing winds are westerly, so in that case the bike hire people can give you & your bike a lift to Achill Island & you cycle one way with a tail wind the whole time!
The first village you'll pass on leaving Achill Island is Mulranny. A small village with stunning views across clew bay, there's a good cafe there too for a quick refuel. Lookout for the Mulranny Goats too, wild goats that inhabit this area and are often seen on this stretch of the greenway.
We stopped about 5 kms after Mulranny at the famous Nevin's Inn for lunch and can definitely recommend their meals - delicious!
The Great Southern Greenway is made up of 4 routes spanning across West Limerick. The Yellow Route connects Rathkeale to Newcastle West (13km or 8miles), The Green Route runs between Newcastle West and Templeglantine (14km or 8.5 miles), Templeglantine to Abbeyfeale (9km or 5.5miles) and Abbeyfeale to the Kerry Border (3km or 1.8miles).
Having originally been built as a railway line, connecting the city of Limerick to the town of Tralee in North East County Kerry. It is an ideal cycle and walking route for families when taken in segments. The terrain is well maintained and flat throughout. For those looking for a more extreme cycle you can take the Greenway as whole, Giving a total of 29km or 24miles with an estimated cycle time of 4 hours.
Ireland's hilly green landscapes are ideal for Mountain Biking. The mountain bike tracks listed below can all be tailored to your own experience and ability.
The Ballinastoe trail makes the most of it's 14km (9.5miles) by mixing it's higher and lower sections into a one-way system. With the upper slopes being particularly exposed to the elements it is worth keeping an eye on the weather. If it's a wet day these slopes can become extremely slippery, only the knobbiest of wheels will be able to manoeuvre through here on such days. About 9km of the 14km track is made up of single track section that are narrow and steep with some loose and gravel terrain. The rest of the trail is made up of less intense, wider forest tracks.
Ballinastoe is based in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains and is about an hours drive from Dublin City centre. Bikes can be rented from biking.ie who are open 7 days a week.
Ballyhoura trail centre is made up of 5 connected loops. The easiest loop is 6km in length and is a great starter track for novices. On the other end of the scale, you can also attempt the 50km loop but this is only suitable for more experience riders as it is extremely physically demanding.
All loops are marked out with arrows and follow a one-way system. (For more info on the loops see the Trail Riders guide). Bike rental prices start from €35 for a full days rental.
Also known as the Green Loop. The ideal loop for novice riders. Total distance of 6km (3.5miles). Estimated cycle time of 45 minutes.
Also known as the Brown Loop. A bit more physically demanding and more technical, (rockier & narrower with steeper climbs), than the Green Loop. Total distance of 17km (10miles). Estimated cycle time of 2 hours.
Also known as the White Loop. Made up of speedy single track descents and some long, difficult climbs. Total distance of 35km (22miles). Estimated cycle time of 4 hours.
Also known as the Blue Loop. As you travel higher into the mountains expect some severe climbs, matched with eye watering descents. Total distance of 41km (25.5miles). Estimated cycle time of 5 hours.
Also known as the Red Loop. Not for the faint hearted, this loop demands concentration. Unimaginable climbs are rewarded with breakneck descents. Total distance of 51km (31.5miles). Estimated cycle time of 5-6 hours.
Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails has two tracks. A red and a black. They both follow the track on their ascent, to the summit of Slievemartin. The red then carries on towards the edge of Carlingford Lough, offering some spectacular views. The black track splits off from the red at Rostrevor Forest, what follows is a white-knuckle inducing technical section that is suitable only for more experienced riders.
There is also 2 purpose built downhill tracks. While they are less technical than the red and black track they are packed with fun and are great for learners to get a feel for downhill action. Bike can be hired from East Coast Adventures.
The popularity of Road Biking in Ireland has grown massively over the last number of years. This increase in popularity has also seen an increase in road bike related industries, such as bike hire shops and Road Biking events, listed below. These events are spread across the county and take place throughout the year. It is now easier than ever to hire a bike, (along with some super cool gear), and join in...
This cycle route is the definition of epic. Taking in the entire coastline of the island of Ireland, that's 3100km! Starting and finishing in Dublin City and going around the island in an anti-clockwise direction. Usually held over 2 weeks in July.
Broken into 16 segments over 300km and across 3 counties, the Carlingford 300 is definitely not for the faint hearted.
A 2 day event starting from the North West coast, (Enniscrone, Co. Sligo), to the North East coast, (Newcastle, Co Down). The Coast to Coast Sportive takes in 6 counties in Ireland's Northern heartland.
Choose between cycle routes of 57km, 97km, 126km & 182km, all of which are found along the rugged coastline of County Antrim in Northern Ireland.
The Wild Atlantic Way Sportive began in 2017. It challenges you to take on the on the entire Wild Atlantic Way from Kinsale County Cork to the Inishowen Peninsula in County Donegal. set over 4 stages from April 27th to May 15th 2019 stretched over 550km.
A week long cycle from Mizen head in County Cork to Malin Head in County Donegal. This is a charity cycle in aid of the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and has been running since 2001.
the Wicklow 200 began in 1984 and has become a staple in the Irish road cycling scene ever since. In 2018 over 3,000 cyclists took part. It is a 1 day, non-competitive cycle over 200km.
The 11th edition of Tour de Kilkenny will take place in August 2019. The tour can be taken on as a 44km, 77km, 110km or 160km cycle.
See the rugged landscape of the Burren up close and personal on this. Choose between routes of 14km, 60km, 85km and 135km distances.
The Ring of Beara Cycle can be enjoyed in it's 140km or 110km version. Cycle through the picturesque villages of Ardgroom, Eyeries, Allihies, Castletownbere, Adrigole, Glengarriff before returning to Kenmare.
The Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle has been running since 1984. It is encompasses the entire Ring of Kerry, 175km in total, starting and finishing in Killarney.
Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick cities all offer the Rent & Go bike system. The Rent & Go system allows you to pick up a bike from a depo, take it for a spin and drop it back for very little money or even for free! Belfast, Cork, Galway and Limerick operate under the Coke Zero bike hire system. Dublin operates under the Just Eat system.
Coke Zero bike hire services allows you to hire a bike from a depot and return it to the same depot, or another depot, within 30 minutes. There is a fee charged after 30 minutes but if you plan your route this can be avoided. You can then take the same bike or any other available bike, just pop the bike your are finished with into a stand, it will be automatically scan and registered, and just start the process again.
A yearly subscription costs €100. A 3 day pass, which is ideal if you are visiting a city, costs just €3. Please note, there is a €150 deposit required on both of these options but this is fully refunded once your subscription has finished, (either after 1 year or 3 days), provided that you have not lost or damaged a bike during this time.
The Coca Cola bike system is in operation in the cities of Belfast, Cork, Galway and Limerick. In Dublin the system is sponsored by the food delivery company Just Eat. The operation is the same in Dublin but the prices are €25 for the Annual Pass and €5 for the 3 Day Pass.
Find the attractions and destinations of the other regions of Ireland here.