A Spotlight on Cycle Lanes and Routes in Ireland

By We Love Cycling

There’s lots to look forward to in the world of everyday cycling with the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan recently announcing some €289m in funding to develop and construct further cycle infrastructure across the country. We put the spotlight on urban and rural cycle lanes and routes, and give you the lowdown on some recommended cycle routes to discover…

New and improved cycling infrastructure

In 2019, 31.7% of respondents of the National Travel Survey stated that safer urban cycling routes would encourage them to cycle more, so the recent announcement on major funding to improve cycling infrastructure is certainly a welcome one. Over 1,000 km of new and improved cycling infrastructure is due to be completed by 2025, with the first projects targeted to be delivered by the end of 2022. Cyclists can soon expect to be able to pedal on the following new and enhanced routes:

  • Connection of the Waterford Greenway from Bilberry into the city centre
  • Salmon Weir Bridge in Galway
  • O’Connell Street in Limerick
  • Clontarf to city centre route in Dublin
  • MacCurtain Street in Cork


For more information on proposed cycling infrastructure projects, visit the National Transport Authority.

Health, social and environmental benefits for all

We all know that cycling is great for our physical and mental health, as cycling for only 20 minutes a day can reduce the risk of all-cause mortality by a staggering 15%. Cycle lanes also promote safer cycling, by providing cyclists with a safe haven away from vehicular traffic.

The environmental benefits are pretty considerable too. If we move away from car transportation, air pollution will decrease. Research conducted by UCC has estimated that we could reduce annual transport-related carbon emissions by 0.12 million tonnes if 45% of all journeys under 6km were completed by either cycling or walking.

Cycle lanes encourage people to take up cycling in densely populated areas; and, for those looking to bike to work, the Cycle to Work scheme provides financial incentives.

Cycle lanes don’t just benefit regular cycle-to-work users. They also make the journey easier for those embarking on leisure trips and social outings.

Urban Cycle Sligo is a local council led initiative which lobbies for improved cycling infrastructure. The project so far has been a success, with the development of over 40km of commuter cycle lanes and 8km of off-road cycle trails right on Sligo’s doorstep. This has encouraged more people in the local area to take up cycling, and has been a catalyst for change throughout the country.

If you’re a newbie to the world of cycle lanes, you can make sure you’re up to speed with our guide on Bike Lane Etiquette so you can keep yourself and other cyclists safe whilst you’re on the roads.

Our favourite cycle routes to discover!

We’ve put together some user recommended urban and rural cycle routes – ideal for those looking to perfect their road cycling stamina!

A jaunt around Malahide and Howth

This map begins and ends in the popular Co. Dublin seaside town of Malahide. You’ll find the route will bring you past the shores of Portmarnock Beach, before swinging around the Howth Peninsula. This is the route where you can make the most out of Dublin’s city, coastal and countryside location!

Killarney-Gap of Dunloe Loop

Enjoy the backdrop of Co. Kerry with this cycling loop! You’ll start off in the historic town of Killarney, before pedalling through the vast Killarney National Park. Your route will then bring you to the Gap of Dunloe before you find yourself back on Killarney’s quant streets.

Blessington Lake

With this advanced route promising a cycle around the water’s edge of Blessington’s Lake, you’ll be in awe of the jaw-dropping scenery which is adored by cyclists and walkers alike. Located less than 40km from Dublin, it’s a popular route on sunny weekends.

Mizen Head and the Wild Atlantic

This Wild Atlantic Mizen route will see you start and finish in the Co. Cork town of Bantry. You’ll then follow the rugged backdrop of the Mizen Peninsula, the most southerly point of mainland Ireland. With this route’s long length and challenging difficulty, it’s not one for the faint-hearted!

Galway City and The Gaeltacht

Starting in the centre of the City of the Tribes, this route will bring you to the edge of Connemara and back into the cultural heart of the Gaeltacht. On a clear day, you may even catch a glimpse of the Aran Islands!

Cycling travel guides such as our route planner are useful tools to discover a whole host of cycle lanes and paths across the country. From user recommended routes to countless maps, keep our handy resource in your back pocket for some inspiration.

Looking for a wider assortment of cycling routes across Ireland? Check out more of our top cycling routes to try!