We are avid cyclists and over the past 3 years, we’ve explored some of Dublin’s best cycle routes. In this article of our new Staycation Ireland 2020 series, we share 3 easy cycle routes in around Dublin. From our experience, these are cycles that don’t require any fitness and can easily be done in any bike. You only need an open mind, a sunny day and let’s say, not so much wind (good luck with that!).
1. Dublin – Howth loop: 36km
This is a half-day scenic route that takes you from Dublin to Howth. Howth is a quiet and picturesque former fishing village located in the outskirts of Dublin. Howth offers some beautiful landscapes of the sea accessible via different hiking paths, these can vary in length and difficulty. It is a great day spent out in nature, away from the fuss and bustle of urban life.
For the most part, you cycle along a proper cycle path. Only at the end you cycle alongside the cars. The route itself is flat and goes through some of the best natural landscapes North Dublin has to offer. You have the coast on your left and along the way, you pass St. Anne’s Park (on your left) and North Bull Island (on your right), which is worth a visit on your way back. Throughout the way, you get a pretty good view of Howth from afar.
When you get to Sutton Cross, the route changes to a slow ascent up to Howth, until you get to Howth’s village. Best is to enter Howth via the port side, you can explore the harbor area, visit the market (when Corona won’t be around), and grab a nice cappuccino at Bodega Coffee. After, you can start a steep climb towards the village and around the area doing a circle of Howth. You will then have the sea on your right side and a nice view of Dublin. Here, however, there are no bike paths, so you just have to stick close to the pedestrian’s path. Also, there are some steep descents that you have to manage carefully.
We have done it several times throughout the year, and we found the best period is around May/June. We usually have gotten the best winds when it’s cloudier.
2. Dublin-Dún Laoghaire loop – 24km
If you’re not from Ireland, it might take you a while to learn how to pronounce Dún Laoghaire (something like Don Leary). You soon get used to it. It’s a quiet, posh town located in the South of Dublin. It is a nice place to visit, and on a sunny day you can easily ride your bike from Dublin. It is a 12km ride that offers you beautiful views of Dublin’s coastline passing some iconic places like Poolbeg Lighthouse and the Martello Tower, which appears in James Joyce’s book Ulysses, and where the author once lived. The route is mostly flat, and the bike paths from the south side are some of the best in all of Dublin. Suitable for all levels and bike types. You come back the same way you come from.
3. Dublin-Poolbeg loop – 23km
Check out Poolbeg Lighthouse. Built-in 1768, it was originally operated in candlelight and is one of 3 Dublin lighthouses protecting Dublin bay. This red lighthouse sits all the way far into the sea and the route takes you through some industrial areas, all the way to Poolbeg beach and Dublin Bay. Poolbeg offers a great panorama of the Dublin hills and Dún Laoghaire in the south, Howth with its green fields and rugged sea cliffs in the northwest and the Dublin city in the background.
It is an easy bike ride, even when it’s windy you don’t feel it as much as biking by the sea, but once you get to Poolbeg, depending on the day, it is hard to avoid the wind. Biking itself in the last 4km from the beginning of the south wall to the Lighthouse itself is a bumpy ride. The path is made of flat granite flagstones that are unevenly put together, which is a bit of a nightmare for a road bike with thin tires. But if you don’t want to walk all the way, just buckle up for those last minutes and you’ll have a great feeling of being “out in the sea”. Also, be aware of the tides, as in stormy days the path can be covered in some parts with water.
Do you like cycling? Where are you cycling – What cycling paths do you try? Leave us a comment below, we love hearing from you!
This is our first article of our Staycation Ireland 2020 series, where we share 3 easy cycle routes in and around Dublin. Stay tunned for what’s next!