Looking for some inspiration for your next Irish cycling adventure this spring? With so much to consider when planning a cycling escape, from choosing the perfect destination to the necessary preparation to tackle any terrain, we’re here to help. Keep reading to discover how you can experience an unforgettable spring on two wheels…
1. The Great Western Greenway, Co. Mayo
A traffic-free cycling path running through some of the island’s most picturesque and unspoiled scenery, the 42 km route starts in Westport before taking you along the coast of Clew Bay and past charming villages like Newport and Mulranny. Ending in the charming town of Achill, the majority of the route is pretty flat, making it perfect for cyclists of all levels.
The nearby area offers several accommodation options including the Mulranny Park Hotel and the Westport Coast Hotel. Hungry cyclists can refuel at the renowned Madeline’s cafe in Newport or the Helm Bar & Restaurant in Westport, both celebrated for creating delicious cuisine made with local ingredients. And, if you’re looking to extend your stay, we have you covered with our lowdown on how you can have a sustainable cycling staycation in nearby Connemara.
2. The Wild Atlantic Way, Co. Galway and Co. Clare
The much-heralded Wild Atlantic Way actually covers 2,500 km from the north of Donegal to the south of Cork – so it’s best you don’t tackle it in one go. This particular route centres on the rugged coastline of Galway and Clare, through charming villages and past some of Ireland’s most stunning natural attractions like the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. The route has a few hills, but the breathtaking scenery offers an excuse to take a breather and enjoy the view.
If you’re looking for a place to stay along the route, the Glenlo Abbey Hotel and Connemara Coast Hotel are both great options, boasting stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. To satisfy your taste buds, head to Moran’s Oyster Cottage in Kilcolgan or Kai Cafe + Restaurant in Galway City, where championing regional produce is the order of the day. In addition to soaking up the stunning coastal scenery, make sure to take a detour through Connemara National Park or visit the historic Kylemore Abbey.
3. The Waterford Greenway, Co. Waterford
The Waterford Greenway is a 46 km off-road cycling and walking trail that runs from Waterford City to Dungarvan. Flat and easy to cycle, making it perfect for families and less experienced cyclists, it takes in the stunning scenery of the Copper Coast UNESCO Global Geopark – and it’s not difficult to see why it’s earned a place in the hearts of so many in the area since it opened a few years ago.
You’ll find plenty of suitable accommodation options nearby, including Dooley’s Hotel in Waterford City and the luxurious Clonea Strand Hotel, both of which offer stunning views of the coast. Cyclists can grab a bite to eat at the Coach House Coffee in Kilmacthomas or Jack Meades Pub in Waterford City. In addition to cycling, local highlights include the historic sights of the city centre, and the stunning Mahon Falls in the Comeragh Mountains.
4. The Great Southern Trail, Co. Limerick
A 40km route running from Rathkeale to the Kerry border, it’s a reminder that you don’t need coastline for a wicked ride! Through small villages and past historic landmarks, the trail is pretty flat and easy to cycle – making it perfect for families and less experienced cyclists. During the springtime, the trees and hedgerows are in full bloom, and the countryside is alive with birdsong; truly, a feast for the senses.
Along the route, you’ll find comfortable accommodation at the Devon Inn Hotel or the charming Old Schoolhouse in Newcastle West. For a tasty meal, head to the Mustard Seed restaurant in Ballingarry or the Courtenay Lodge in Newcastle West. Out of the saddle, visitors can also explore the nearby Desmond Castle and Newcastle West Heritage Centre or go on a guided walking tour of Limerick City.
Dates for your diary
The springtime racing schedule attracts everyone from hobbyists to top-class competitors, and it’s hardly surprising; they’re a great way to experience Ireland’s stunning scenery while enjoying some serious racing too!
One of the most popular events is the Rás Tailteann, which is taking place May 17-21. Each year the event promises a challenging five-day stage race that covers over 1,200km of Ireland’s most stunning countryside, including some of the most challenging mountain passes. The race attracts some top international cycling teams and the atmosphere is electric, with thousands of fans lining the roads to cheer on competitors.
For those who prefer something a little less serious, there’s the Ring of Beara Cycle Kenmare, which takes place on May 27th. It’s a fun, non-competitive event which attracts thousands of cyclists each year. The route takes riders along the stunning Beara Peninsula, passing through charming villages and taking in some breathtaking coastal views.
Finally, the ŠKODA Tour de Conamara is also back on May 27th with the choice of two routes – 140km or 80km – taking riders through some of the most beautiful coastal, lakeland, valley, and mountainous terrain along the Wild Atlantic Way. This popular event is unfortunately sold out for this year, but you can find out everything you need to know about our sister event the Ring of Clare.