For serious cyclists or those keen to take up cycling as a hobby or sport, Ireland offers endless great cycling routes and trails. The different cycles through forests, lakes and along coasts provide amazing opportunities to stop and enjoy the best of what Ireland has to offer.
Whether you are an experienced cyclist or not, below we have listed top 10 top cycling routes trails to check out across Ireland, many of which will take you off the beaten track and into a world of your own.
12 Irish Cycling Routes to Experience This Summer
1 Connemara Blueway Trails, Co Galway
On a sunny day, a cycle across the stunning landscape of Connemara is hard to beat, and for those preferring to cycle off-road, the Blueway routes towards Mannin Bay or Killary Fjord are excellent trails to check out.
If you don’t have access to your own wheels then it is possible to hire a bike from local hire shops, such as Mannion bikes or Connemara Cycle.
2 Great Western Greenway, Westport, Co Mayo
The excellent Greenway trail from Achill to Westport sits along what was once known as the Great Western Midlands Railway, making for a smooth and traffic-free cycling experience. The trail passes through fields, past rivers and overlooks some of the best views in Ireland.
3 Ring of Kerry, Kerry, Co Kerry
Amounting to over 170km, the cycle in and around the Ring of Kerry is perfect for more experienced cyclists and is best tackled over a few days. Starting and ending in Killarney, there are several great spots to admire along the way, including Carrauntoohil, Ireland’s highest peak; the Skelligs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (reached by boat if you want to venture out that far); and the historic Derrynane House.
4 Inishowen Cycle Route, Co Donegal
This 160km cycle provides a great opportunity to see more of Co Donegal and is, therefore, best experienced over a few days. Starting in Bridgend, the route will take you through the small village of Muff and along Lough Swilly, before reaching the beautiful beaches of Fahan and Tullagh Bay, among many other wonderful sights. Check out the Northern Headlands driving route for more places to visit when exploring the Inishowen Peninsula.
5 Blessington Greenway, Co Wicklow
The idyllic Blessington Greenway suits cyclists of any level with its flat path and distance of only 6.5km. At the heart of Co Wicklow’s beautiful woodlands and the gorgeous Blessington Lakes, the trail is a perfect way to spend a summer’s day and, once finished, there is nothing to stop you popping into Blessington town for a well-deserved pint in the local pub.
Check out the amazing video below of the Blessington Greenway. This drone footage will make you want to grab a bike and cycle all the way to Wicklow, regardless of where you are in Ireland.
6 Castle Ward Boundary Trail, Co Down
A good trail for beginner to intermediate cyclists, the 13km trail at Castle Ward takes cyclists along the shores of Strangford Lough and around beautiful Audley’s Castle. This trail is a great option for families wanting a relaxed and off-road cycle, with several places to stop for a picnic and to stretch your legs. Game of Thrones fans might recognise Castle Ward as the home of Winterfell in the famous TV show, providing something else to explore while visiting this popular Northern Ireland National Trust property.
7 Ballycastle and Giant’s Causeway Route, Co Antrim
For those keen to check out Antrim’s incredible north coast, the cycle route from Ballycastle to the Giant’s Causeway is a must. With its narrow route along a busy main road, this particular route is better suited to experienced cyclists. However, for less experienced cyclists, this easier and safer route is a good alternative.
8 The Sperrin Mountains, Co Tyrone
With epic views that go on for miles, The Sperrin Mountain range in Country Tyrone provides a wonderful day or two of cycling. Starting in Cookstown, cyclists are soon spoiled by views cycling over Glenelly Valley, before making their way along Owenkillew River and up into Owenkillew Valley. With Ulster American Folk Park and Wellbrook Beetling Mill lying not too far away, cyclists can also indulge in some culture mid-cycle.
If you’re looking for more cycling options when exploring The Sperrins, look no further than the mountain bike tracks at the award-winning Blessingbourne Country Estate, one of Northern Ireland’s top mountain back trails.
9 Clonakilty, Co Cork
Within Clonakilty, there are various cycle routes for cyclists of every level: from the less arduous Tubereen Road Loop to the longer and more intense cycle from Clonakilty towards Cross Mahon. When taking any of Clonakilty’s routes, be prepared to be wowed by the views over its impressive areas (and possibly a chance meeting with one or two locals). Cork has a long list of places to refuel as soon as your cycle is over. Check out our Food Guide to Cork for a list of wonderful foodie finds.
10 The Kingfisher Trail, Co Fermanagh
Named after the Kingfisher bird that is associated with Fermanagh lakes, The Kingfisher Trail has six different loops to choose from, including its Northern loop which takes cyclists around the lower part of Lough Erne. In addition to the fantastic views, there are also plenty of places to stop and enjoy great fishing and boat tours along the lakes. Check out our full two-day itinerary for exploring the Fermanagh Lakelands.
11 Waterford Greenway, Co Waterford
This relatively new cycling route takes you along Ireland’s south coast as you travel along 46km of off-road trails, following the old railway line from Waterford City to Dungarvan. The Waterford Greenway route forms part of Copper Coast, recently voted one of our top Irish driving routes for the summer, and this trail will take you past some of the counties best attractions including Kilmeadan Castle, Cloughlowrish Stone, Durrow Viaduct and Dungarvan Castle. Find out more about the route at Visit Waterford Greenway.
12 Cooley Peninsula Cycle Loop, Co Louth
The stunning Cooley Peninsula in County Louth is one of the most popular places in Ireland for cycling holidays, and this 68km cycle will reward you with spectacular views of Carlingford Lough and the Mourne Mountains. This route is perfect for cyclists of all abilities and will take you a day to complete. The nearby Ring of Gullion also provides a good cycle route to explore, with the 66km Slieve Gullion Loop making this part of Ireland a must visit for cycling enthusiasts.