If you don’t live in Ireland, it’s easy to think that the entire country consists of rolling green hills. This may discourage you from planning a family cycling trip.
Sure, their hills and mountains are breathtaking but they won’t feel so when you are sweating your way up one of them.
Fortunately, while Ireland has its fair share of hills and mountains it also boasts many flat areas, mostly in the central region.
There are plenty of flat or mostly flat cycling routes that any family can tackle. Here are the top 10 easy cycle routes in Ireland.
Tip: While most kids can handle these routes, I recommend carrying or renting a bike trailer for younger kids between 1 and 6 years. You’ll be able to cycle further without tiring them out.
1. Great Western Greenway
This mostly flat route is popular with both cyclists and walkers. So you’ll have plenty of company to keep your spirits high.
The route is traffic-free and has a solid surface all the way. So it should be an easy cycle even for kids.
The Greenway spans 43.5km, which takes anywhere from 2hrs to several hours to complete depending on how leisurely you take it.
If you don’t want to cover the entire 43.5km, you can do smaller sections such as Westport to Newport or Newport to Mulranny.
2. Glencar Lake Loop
This is one of the most beautiful cycling routes in Ireland. The most famous sighting is the Glencar waterfall.
It starts at Sligo, passes through Ashlane and goes all the way to Gortnagregory before looping back to Sligo. You’ll go past the Glencar waterfall on your return loop.
This route has a bit of traffic so we recommend it for parents with older kids.
3. Inis Mór Island Loop
This 55km route takes you past some of the best historic and geographical attractions Ireland has to offer including hill forts in Dun Aonghasa, a blowhole known as the Serpents Lair, historic churches and scenic beaches.
Note that you’ll need to take a ferry to the Aran Islands to enjoy this route. You’ll find plenty of bike rental shops on the ground. You can even rent e-bikes to make the rather long tour easier on everyone’s feet.
4. Waterford Greenway
This one’s a bit easier, and mostly flat. It’s a great choice for families with kids or families looking for a leisurely cycle route.
The route is on an old railway line. Since railways mostly follow a flat and straight path, it’s very friendly route. It’s only 46km long so you can tackle it in a day.
The route features some beautiful bridges and viaducts that present perfect photo taking opportunities.
5. Kingfisher Trail
If you are looking for a longer route you can take in several days, try the Kingfisher Trail. By ‘longer’, I mean 480km.
It’s the best way to explore a large swath of Ireland’s beautiful countryside. There are plenty of small towns along the way you can stop for food.
Because of the length of the trail, we recommend it for families with older kids, ideally teens, who can handle the distance without getting bored.
6. Rostrevor Route
This is a short 27km route perfect for families looking for a trail they can complete in a couple of hours. The route offers some beautiful mountain views.
It follows country roads with light traffic.
7. Killarney National Park
Killarney National Park offers some of the most scenic and refreshing cycling routes in Ireland. Most of the routes are easy and traffic-free.
Some of the best trails include the Killarney National Park- Muckross & Dinis Loop, Killarney National Park- Ross Island & Knockreer route and the Killarney National Park- The Fossa Way route.
8. SKELLIG RING Cycle Route
The SKELLIG RING Cycle Route in Kerry takes you around the Skellig Ring coastline for one of the most relaxing cycling experiences.
Attractions include Ballycarbery castle, various stone forts and Skellig’s Chocolate factory (your kids will love this one).
The entire route is 66km long. You can do it in a couple of days or just cover a part of it.
9. Blessington Loop
If you have a couple of days to spare, cycle through the Blessington Loop to enjoy one of the most idyllic rides you’ll ever take.
You’ll enjoy scenic views from the Wicklow Mountains, Blessington Lakes and many other attractions. You’ll also get a chance to visit Glendalough Monastery.
The entire loop is 75km long.
10. Hook Head Loop
If your kids have always wanted to see a lighthouse, this is the best route.
The route begins at Duncannon and ends there too. Attractions along the way include the Hook Lighthouse (an 800-year old lighthouse), the Templar church and Slade castle. That’s not to mention all the spectacular views along the way.
The entire ring route is about 44km long.