With National Bike Week taking place in June and the weather finally getting warmer, now’s a great time to get active outdoors. A family cycle is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Enjoy These Fabulous Family Cycle Routes in Ireland:
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Curragh Chase Forest Park, Limerick
The Glenisca Family Cycling Trail at Curragh Chase Forest Park circles Glenisca Lough, passing yew trees, cliff walls and a cave, so there’s plenty to look at as you cycle. The trail passes the playground close to Avondale House and finishes at the car park. The trail is under the tree canopy for most of its length and is reasonably sheltered too in case any rain threatens.
The Curragh Trail in the Park is a multi-use walking and cycling trail to suit occasional walkers and cyclists. The trail leaves the Lake Trail and brings you through the forest following old estate drives for a while. The trail is under the tree canopy for most of its length and is reasonably sheltered.
There are also two playgrounds in the Park. There is a €5 entry fee per car.
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Portumna Forest Park, Galway
The Forest Friendly Trail at Portumna Forest Park in County Galway is a walking and cycling trail that leaves the main car park and brings you through mature forest. It has reasonably smooth surfaces with some loose stones and is wide throughout the trail which combines sections of wide and smooth forest road with sections of wide timber boardwalk. Wheelchair users, kids’ bikes with stabilisers, family groups on foot or bike can equally enjoy this loop.
The trail starts from the car-park and winds gently through the forest to reach a viewing platform close to the shore of Lough Derg where you get nice views south towards Terryglass on the Tipperary shore.
The trail then follows a boardwalk to the duck pond and past cypress trees that are some of the oldest on the estate. The forest friendly trail loops gradually around to bring you back to the car-park to where you began.
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Lough Key Forest & Activity Park, Co. Roscommon
At Lough Key Forest & Activity Park you’ll find 8 kilometres of traffic-free trails in the park. You can hire both regular and electric bikes or bring your own.
There is also a very family friendly cycle trail at Lough Key which is perfectly suited to families with kids bikes, bikes with child seats or tag-a-longs. As these trails are completely traffic-free, they are a great place to teach your children to cycle and grow their confidence on a bike.
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Clontarf Seafront and St. Anne’s Park, Dublin
The cycle track in Clontarf which runs along Clontarf Promenade is wide with a tarmacadam finish and is quite flat along the 3km stretch of the Promenade which makes for easy cycling for kids. There are plenty of places to stop during your cycle to enjoy beautiful views of Dublin Bay. Do take care when nearing car park areas where the cycling path bends and where pedestrians can walk out.
Be sure to stop at one of Dublin’s treasures, St. Anne’s Park, famous for its Rose Gardens. The Chestnut pathway which runs parallel to the Coast Road is a favourite with cyclists. There is a nice playground and a family-friendly picnic area in the Park as well as The Red Stables which has a café and a gallery. On weekends there is a Farmer’s Market.
You can also continue onto the Bull Island bird sanctuary across the famous Dollymount wooden bridge to the Strand.
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Lough Boora Parklands, County Offaly
At Lough Boora Parklands you will find a variety of car-free cycle paths with a tarred surface. It is a very peaceful route that allows cyclists to enjoy the sculptures, local wildlife and flora, bog and historic Mesolithic Site.
All of the park’s routes, except for the Finnamore Lakes and Sculpture Park Routes, are accessible on your bike. Bike hire is available daily including Tandem bike hire and helmets are included in the hire cost.
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Castle Archdale Country Park, County Fermanagh
The Family Cycling Trail at Castle Archdale Country Park starts from the Marina and follows arrows through the forest past the Old Castle at the halfway point, a great spot to have a break before returning along the side of Lower Lough Erne, with nice views over to Davy’s Island and White Island.
There’s a café and playpark in the courtyard and in summer months there are boat trips to White Island to see the world famous carved figures, built into the masonry of the ruined, dating back to 800AD.
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Phoenix Park, Dublin
Did you know that Phoenix Park is over twice the size of Central Park in New York and that it is one of the largest designed landscapes in any European city? As well as being home to the Irish President, Dublin Zoo, and also to some 500 wild fallow deer, it also has 14km of cycle paths, with picnic areas and cafés.
Stop at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre on your way and beside the Visitor Centre you’ll find a fun kids playground along with grounds to enjoy a picnic.
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The Waterford Greenway is a 46km off-road cycling and walking trail along an old railway line between Dungarvan and Waterford. There are lots of interesting places along the route with beautiful coastline views, there’s a viaduct, a tunnel and even a spectacular gorge.
You can hire both regular and electric bikes, cost includes helmets. The 10km stretch from Dungarvan to Durrow is a nice one for families to tackle.
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Western Greenway, Mayo
The Great Western Greenway is the longest off-road walking and cycling experience in the country, it traverses Ireland’s Atlantic coast between Westport town and Achill Island and visits the picturesque villages of Newport and Mulranny.
There are picnic benches along the way and informational signage. You can hire bikes in any of the four towns along the Greenway or bring your own.
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Bohernabreena, Glenasmole, Dublin
In the Glenasmole Valley you’ll find the Bohernabreena Reservoir which offers cycling opportunities. There is a path alongside which is ideal for cycling with kids as it is closed to traffic, there are not too many pedestrians and there’s plenty to see along the way.
From the city centre, head out the N81 towards Tallaght. Take the Oldbawn exit (R113), turning right at the Oldbawn crossroads along the Bohernabreena Road (R114). Take the left turn just after the Fort Bridge into the Bohernabreena Waterworks. Parking is just after Bohernabreena Waterworks.
The Derrigimlagh/Marconi loop near Clifden in County Galway is a five kilometre trail through an area of outstanding natural beauty within the Derrygimlagh bog. The trail is made all the more interesting by its historical claims to fame.
The Derrygimlagh blanket bog is where pilots John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown crashed-landed in 1919 after completing the world’s first transatlantic flight. They landed close to a wireless telegraphy station which had been set up 14 years earlier by Italian inventor, Guglielmo Marconi. Today the location of the Marconi wireless station is home to a memorial cairn dedicated to the pair.
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Some Family Cycling Tips
- Make sure all the bikes are roadworthy.
- Bring plenty of water with you.
- Wear helmets!
- Give way to pedestrians.
- Make sure to give clear hand signals if turning.
- Take special care at junctions.
Over to you now. Do you have any favourite family cycle routes in Ireland that are not on our list? Share it with us in the comments below.