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8 cycle routes that embrace Ireland's beauty

With nearly 99,000km of roads, the Emerald Isle has plenty of options for an adventure on two wheels. So mount up and get out there...
Written by Alex Burd
5 min readUpdated on
There are few things better than packing up and heading out for a day on the road. You don’t have to go far to stumble onto the beautiful countryside. With so many kilometres of road on offer, however, knowing where to start can be difficult.
Who knows, you may even want to push yourself to a bigger trip on two wheels, too. You don't need to the energy of MTB enduro star Greg Callaghan; nor do you require long-distance riding experience to enjoy an all-day session on the open road.
And, boy, are there options. Thanks to the incredible geographic diversity of Ireland it’s possible to take in the ocean, the mountains, the forests, and the loughs all in one day.
Here, we’ve picked out some of the best and most beautiful routes in Ireland.

Rostrevor Route - 27km

This route takes in the beauty of the Mourne Mountains just over the border. The route starts and ends in Rostrevor and features plenty of hills to keep your calves working hard. The glorious landscape was the inspiration behind Narnia for C.S Lewis and this route offers great views of Rostrevor Forest, the Mourne Mountains and Carlingford Lough. The route isn't all smooth going, mind, so if you’re a road cyclist you may need some thicker tires.

Inis Mor Loop - 57km

Travelling on two wheels is one of the most popular ways to explore the largest of the Aran Islands. Bikes can be rented or you can bring your own across on the ferry from Ros a’ Mhil. On the 57km route you’ll be able to take in the incredible sights of Ireland at its wildest, including the stone fort of Dun Aonghasa and the mystical Poll na bPéist pool - which also happens to be the Irish location for Red Bull Cliff Diving. There are plenty of places to stop off and explore so allow plenty of time for the route. The Aran Islands have a unique and important place in Irish culture so look to spend the night on the island with the locals if you can.

Waterford Greenway - 46km

Waterford Greenway

Waterford Greenway


This route runs along an old railway line that has been revitalised for hikers and cyclists. It opened in March 2017, 50 years to the day since the last train travelled along the tracks. The Greenway runs between Waterford and Dungarvan and is pretty flat and easy going, making this a great route for families. The railway route was established 140 years ago and now cyclists can take in some of the amazing sights including the eerie Ballyvoyle Tunnel and three stone viaducts that offer stunning views across the countryside. There are plenty of pubs along the route to keep you going.

Blessington Loop - 75km

This full-day loop is a procession of idyllic postcard views. The roads are pretty quiet and will lead you around the Blessington Lakes, past the Glendalough Monastery, and take in some of the Wicklow Mountains. It’s a moderately difficult ride with a few ups and downs and it’s easy to extend this route slightly to start from Dublin. This is great way to explore some of the big sights in Ireland’s Ancient East.

Dublin to Wicklow Mountains Loop - 75km

This route starts in Dublin and is the perfect way to escape the city for a while. The route starts steeply and features a couple of decent climbs on mostly quiet roads. Completing the route will see you rewarded with amazing panoramic views across the city. The loop can be completed in a few hours, too, which means it a great option for a light weekend ride.

Black Valley Loop - 56km

This is a testing route that’ll put the burn on you but the rewards are plenty. County Kerry is one of the wildest and most beautiful parts of the country and this trail through the Black Valley is a great way to explore some of its finest sites. Using Killarney as your base you’ll see the Lakes of Killarney, Molls Gap, and the Gap of Dunloe. The climb up to Dunloe comes at the end and is fairly tough so keep some energy in the tank. Be sure to take your time to drink in the many great views. This is a fairly popular ride so you’ll likely see plenty of other cyclists along the way.

Kingfisher Trail - 480km

This is a route worth splitting over several days but is perfect for exploring the countryside off the beaten track. Over the course of nearly 500km there are many amazing viewpoints, including panoramas across Lough Erne and Lough Macnean and the caves at Marble Arch. The route is generally split into six parts but can be done at a faster or slower pace depending on your ability. If you fancy doing it all in one go there are plenty of small towns and bed and breakfasts to stop off at along the way. The Kingfisher Trail was one of the first long distance trails established in Ireland and it’s a great way to see the often forgotten beauty of the border counties.

Wild Atlantic Way - 2500km

This is the mother of all Irish cycleways and tackling at least some of it should be on the bucket list of all serious cyclists. This is a fairly serious undertaking that takes in the entirety of Ireland’s Atlantic Coast, starting at Kinsale in the south and finishing at Derry in the north. The whole of the Wild Atlantic Way can be completed in anything from a week to a month. If you don’t have that time then you can tackle one of the route's many sections. Some of the most spectacular sights are taken in along the routes that run through Donegal that takes in the Slieve League sea cliffs and the picture-perfect villages of Glencolumbkille and Ardara.