Cycling – the essentials

Ireland's varied landscape makes the island an ideal cycling destination, here's how to get started

Cycle wherever the wind takes you
Cycle wherever the wind takes you

What cycle routes are available in the Republic and the North of Ireland?

Ireland has some of the most spectacular cycling routes to suit any pace or ability. The King Fisher Trail covers counties in the midlands in the Republic of Ireland and across the border to Northern Ireland, while the Great Western Greenway is the Republic’s longest off-road cycling trail from Westport to Achill in County Mayo.

Where do I find information about the rules of the road?

The Road Safety Authority provides the rules of the road for cyclists. Make sure you are familiar with them before you begin your journey.

What does bicycle hire in the Republic and Northern Ireland generally include?

Bike hire starts from around €50/£39 a week and one-way hire is available. Hire generally includes lock, pump, repair kit, mudguards and carrier; insurance cover is given with all bicycles hired. Children's bikes are also available, but remember to book well in advance and ask about helmets, especially in high season. 

Killary Harbour, Leenane, County Mayo
Killary Harbour, Leenane, County Mayo

Is it a legal requirement to wear a helmet?

The law does not require you to wear a helmet. However, in the interest of road safety, and your personal safety, it is recommended to wear a helmet at all times.

Is there a good range of tours available?

Across the island, you’ll find tours to suit your needs and the bonus is your tour operator can arrange for your bags to meet you at your hotel, hostel or B&B, so you can enjoy a hassle-free ride. If you’re feeling a little tired one day, they can even transfer you along with your baggage, so you can meet up with your fellow cyclists at the end of the day.

Are there city bike schemes on the island of Ireland?

Dublin is currently the only city boasting a city bike scheme and it's called Dublin bikes. The best bet for visitors is the 3-Day Ticket for €2, which allows unlimited use of the bikes for the three days with the first 30 minutes of use free (services charges apply after the first 30 minutes so check on the website for full details). You will need to bring your own helmet with you.

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Is there a good range of mountain bike trails on the island?

If you’re eager to show what you can do off-road, then you’ll enjoy some of Ireland’s top biking competitions and mountain bike trails, of which there are plenty. Narrow your biking destinations down by county or region and get cycling!

What sort of clothing is needed?

With Ireland’s changeable weather, it is always sensible to have waterproof gear with you and extra layers to add on/remove as the temperature dictates. And some sunscreen, just in case!

For more information on cycling in the Republic of Ireland visit Cycling Ireland.

For more information on cycling in Northern Ireland visit Cycle NI

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