Touring in Ireland

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
bikergirl
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Touring in Ireland

Postby bikergirl » 2 Nov 2015, 3:14pm

Hubby and I are thinking of doing a summer tour in Ireland for 2 or 3 weeks. Neither of us have ever been to Ireland so know nothing about the roads, cycling conditions etc. We would be getting a ferry from Holyhead to Dublin. Has anyone done a recent tour of Ireland or can anyone suggest a suitable circular route (or one way and train). Any suggestions and/or advice would be gratefully received.

eileithyia
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Location: Horwich Which is Lancs :-)

Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby eileithyia » 2 Nov 2015, 7:09pm

It's not so different to touring Britain, some really great places to go. My first tour was roughly Dublin, southwards towards Wicklow and Wexford, across the south to Cork and Cape Clear Island (had to visit to get the island hostel stamp as there was great kudos in my club at the time to get weird and wonderful hostels), then up towards Limerick and back across to Dublin. Took in the Dunloe Gap. Some roads i found were even dual carriageways, well they had a strip of grass down the middle :lol:

Have been back since and done further north and west, the Arran islands etc., and right up the west coast to the north, it is a fantastic place to visit. So is north east the Antrim coast and round to the Giant's Causeway.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

Tangled Metal
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Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby Tangled Metal » 2 Nov 2015, 10:11pm

We're interested in touring Ireland too. Had an idea we could get there from Heysham but they don't take bikes on direct routes. We're kind of halfway between all the routes to Ireland. Holyhead and Stranraer but Liverpool is nearest. Not sure whether to take the car to get quickly to a nice area the tour that leaving car somewhere safe.

I've only been to Ireland once. Flew into Belfast international then hire car across northern Ireland via giants causeway, the north coast and an awkward u turn in possibly the last fortified police station somewhere near Londonderry I think. Got to the Gaeltracht and spent time over a long weekend looking around. All car but it's a nice area. Northern Ireland is like uk I thought. Republic feels totally different. It was years ago now when they had a load of EU money to build roads everywhere. I noticed in the republic there were a lot of single carriageway main roads with wide hard shoulder. Any slow moving vehicle you catch up to all seemed to pull over into the hard shoulder to let you pass. Seriously s different road culture in that they let you pass. You were expected to do the same. Reckon cyclists would get similar fair treatment.

That was years ago though.

If driving to get to somewhere to start from I noticed in a particular area you'd get one petrol station that's cheap with diesel but pricey with petrol. Then up the road there's another that's the opposite. Kind of like they've come together and agreed who'd get the diesel business and who got the petrol. IMHO Ireland was a strange place. Before the crash of course.

bikergirl
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Joined: 2 Nov 2015, 3:03pm

Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby bikergirl » 3 Nov 2015, 12:58am

Thanks for the posts and route ideas, Sounds as though you've both enjoyed Ireland. I have family living in Anglesey (I'm in Kent) so would combine a visit with leaving the car at their house to tour Ireland, hence the Holyhead route (although I haven't thought to check if bikes are ok on the ferry). It's always a worry finding somewhere to leave the car - we usually find a friendly guest house or hotel, stay the first night and the last and pay them to keep the car in their car park. They often let you keep it there for free. Failing that we have found that a good looking residential area is a pretty safe bet. Hope you get to Ireland Tangled Metal, you never know, we might even bump into you. We hope to go end of June into July.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby Tangled Metal » 3 Nov 2015, 8:06am

Our plans are vague. We've been planning a decent tour for a couple of years but never get round to it. So far we've ideas for Ireland, Danube cycle path and anywhere from Denmark to Netherlands. It all ends up a car camping trip with bikes taken.

I've fond memories of the parts of Ireland I saw. Full of snippets of memories, surprises found along the way. Like this cafe out in the middle of nowhere. Nothing special just someone offering home comfort food and a big mug of tea or coffee. The day we passed it was a kind of hash type of meal. Very popular too.

iviehoff
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Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby iviehoff » 3 Nov 2015, 9:50am

Ireland has this large flat plain, which stretches even to the west coast in a few places ( south Galway, north Mayo) which is pretty much like flat to rolling damp agricultural land anywhere and not really getting the best advantage of cycling there. Most of the best cycling is in the West, all the way from Cork to Donegal, though there are also hilly areas in the south and north; and in the east you have the Wicklows just south of Dublin - though it's not as distinctive as being in the west; the Boyne area of various historic sites to the north of Dublin is also a significant attraction. There's plenty for several quite different fortnight-long tours, so be selective. There's something to be said for using the train both to leave and return to Dublin.

It's only about 10km from Dublin Airport to the city centre, so whilst it is a bit painful it isn't very far. But you do need a good local map to find your way avoiding the big main roads. A little point to bear in mind is that Galway city itself is a bit of a cyclists' hell, both in terms of trying to get around the city itself, and also the absence of any good routes to get out of the place in directions you would want to go, for quite long distances. At least in Dublin, if you have a good map, you can leave the city onto minor roads - they do actually exist - and the cycle routes in Dublin have been constructed in good faith to encourage cycling, rather than, as in Galway, a very public statement of hatred for cyclists.

bikepacker
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Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby bikepacker » 3 Nov 2015, 10:01am

I have only done one tour of Ireland and that was an E2E. Going from Holyhead is no problem I went on the high speed ferry, just remember to use the car lanes to check in it is much quicker. Around the Dublin area it is very busy traffic wise so take care, once away from the city finding quieter roads is easy. I found Galway to be the busiest traffic area and would avoid it if I went again.

This link will take you to my diary notes I made on the journey. http://www.bikepacker.co.uk/irelandtour.html
Never bothered to do a proper write up. If you have specific question I can help with let me know.

pm jags of this forum he lives there and may be able offer more information.
There is your way. There is my way. But there is no "the way".

eileithyia
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Location: Horwich Which is Lancs :-)

Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby eileithyia » 3 Nov 2015, 10:30am

No problems with bike on the Holyhead ferries.
On one occasion we drove to Sligo to miss the flat central plain, in order to go northwards.
Stop at the YHA and leave the car at the hostel.
Similarly we stayed at Minniegaff and used Cairnryan Dunlaorie route, leaving the car at the hostel.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

jags
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Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby jags » 3 Nov 2015, 2:32pm

theres a new route check it out Wild atlantic way .
if you get good weather it's as good as anywhere else,just park you car in dublin port if your getting the ferry from holyhead but why bother with a car leave it home save yourself all that hassle.

bikergirl
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Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby bikergirl » 3 Nov 2015, 3:07pm

Thanks for all the info people, especially about the places to go and those to avoid. I'll look into that route Jags, thank you. The car is staying at my sisters in Anglesey My original idea for next years tour was to cycle from East Kent to Anglesey, but I really didn't fancy the busy roads of the SE when trying to pass around London, plus the fact that it is quite a long tour for the time available, so we wouldn't have time to stay long with relatives. I then thought we should perhaps go to Ireland, as neither of us have ever been, despite the fact that we originate from N Wales. So it looks as though that's what we are going to do now, especially as the info you've all given me indicates good riding and the possibility of an excellent tour. Thanks for the diary notes bikerpacker.

Tangled metal - We have also thought about the Danube, as I believe there is a hotel that caters for cyclists who wish to have safe car parking. Maybe in 2017. Have done the Mosel a couple of times recently - absolutely brilliant - can highly recommend it. Mosel - Hunsruck - Rhine - Mosel and also Mosel - Bitburg - then NE back to Rhine - Mosel. Look up River Valley guest House in Zeltingen Rachtig - run by Mike and Lyn - Brits. Excellent value and Mike and Lyn will bend over backwards to be helpful. We stay with them and leave the car whilst we go off touring.
The bike bus is worth thinking about too. We took it to Bordeaux, then cycled the Dordogne to Dom, went south to join the Lot, SW to the Garonne and Canal du Midi to Toulouse where we met bike bus.

ndmbike
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Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby ndmbike » 3 Nov 2015, 3:30pm

I went last year.
The 'Midlands' can be a bit like 'hard work' but the people you meet make up for it.
I tried to camp but there are very few places.
A friend used AirBnB more successfully.
Here is a bit of a write up of the trip.
http://leedsmc.org/bulletinboard/viewto ... f=6&t=4529

Hope your trip goes well...

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NUKe
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Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby NUKe » 3 Nov 2015, 4:17pm

How far do you want to go? The prettiest bit is probably the south west, Although I like the NW, the Antrim coast, Lough Neah and the Bann river. The Mourne Mountains are fantastic around the borders with some fun little towns ,around the borders, one of my favourite rides was over the Mourne at dawn . My wife is from County Tyrone so I am biased toward the North as that is where I have ridden most.
That said Dublin is fun, my favourite capital city, though but not necessarily for cycling. Wicklow Mountains are worth a look if you don't want to cycle too far from Dublin. Where ever you go you will find a warm welcome and great craic as they say.
NUKe
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iviehoff
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Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby iviehoff » 3 Nov 2015, 4:43pm

Stupid of me to make comments about the airport, wasn't concentrating. Ferries from Holyhead have 2 terminals in Dublin. Dublin Port is close to the town centre, easy ride. Dun Laoghaire ferry port is about as far out as the airport in the opposite direction, puts you straight into relatively quiet suburbia, and might be convenient if you are cycling out of town to the south.

I recently bought a train ticket for an overseas friend to travel (from Watford, probably same price as London) to Dublin by train/ferry with his bike. Interestingly, a ticket to Dublin, including the ferry, was cheaper than a ticket just to Holyhead. It wasn't expensive at all, and the bike was free.

jags
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Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby jags » 3 Nov 2015, 6:21pm

bikepacker wrote:I have only done one tour of Ireland and that was an E2E. Going from Holyhead is no problem I went on the high speed ferry, just remember to use the car lanes to check in it is much quicker. Around the Dublin area it is very busy traffic wise so take care, once away from the city finding quieter roads is easy. I found Galway to be the busiest traffic area and would avoid it if I went again.

This link will take you to my diary notes I made on the journey. http://www.bikepacker.co.uk/irelandtour.html
Never bothered to do a proper write up. If you have specific question I can help with let me know.

pm jags of this forum he lives there and may be able offer more information.


i was often sorry i didn't write my own report on that disasterous tour would have read quiet different.

youngordon
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Re: Touring in Ireland

Postby youngordon » 4 Nov 2015, 9:27am

Hi - I live just outside of Limerick and I am a keen cycle tourist. The whole of the south coast from Rosslare across through Waterford, Cork and then down to Mizen is great. Then up via the fingers that stick out into the Atlantic (especially the Beara and Sheep's Head) and across the Shannon on the ferry to Clare (watching the Dolphins on the way) and then through the magnificent Burren. There are plenty of small roads in Ireland that will allow you to cycle away from traffic. Living in the Limerick the route road Lough Derg is very pretty and traffic light. If you want to take the train with your bike Irish Rail have just announced that they no longer will carry bikes at peak times. There is a new long distance bike route being constructed from Dublin to Galway but only some of it has been constructed (parts from Dublin to Athlone). If you do go round Cork and Kerry and want to use the ferry to Clare the Great Southern trail offers about 50k of car free riding.