Cycling Routes in Dublin
ANIMALS IN THE PHOENIX PARK
17km round trip
This is a lovely bike ride around the quiet roads of the city’s biggest park. Cycle along the quays of the River Liffey and up to the park entrance, then take a left off the main drag for a circular route around the park’s hidden corners.
The President lives in the park, as does the American Ambassador, and the few buildings here are beautiful examples of Dublin’s stately Victorian architecture. But the park is mostly woodland, tall grass, and vast green expanse, with perfect cycling paths. Watch out for the herd of wild deer: they have a tendency to hop out in to the road without looking. The park is also home to badgers, bats, owls, countless squirrels, and over 70 species of bird including buzzards, sparrowhawks, kestrels and jays. Dublin Zoo is also here, so duck in there if it starts to rain and hide out in the elephant enclosure. On sunnier days, bring a picnic – pick up some sandwiches in town first, or stop off at the tea shack near the zoo for soup and cake.
SEA SWIMMING AROUND DALKEY VILLAGE
32km round trip (16 with train)
Dalkey is a pretty little seaside town on the coast south of the city. It’s a trafficky bike ride, just past Dun Laoghaire, with limited dedicated cycle paths along the way, but worth heading out for more experienced cyclists.
A pod of three bottlenosed dolphins recently started hanging out around Dalkey Island, which is also home to a herd of wild goats and a seal colony – you can hire kayaks at Bullock Harbour and paddle out for a look. Sandycove beach is a popular place for sea swimmers, so pack your togs – there are changing shelters here and also at Vico Bathing Place and Whiterock Beach, all short strolls from the centre. The waters around our coasts are surprisingly warm: 7-8°C warmer than the average global sea temperature at these latitudes, thanks to the North Atlantic Drift, so you have no excuse! Anyway, Dalkey has plenty of restaurants and bars to warm up in afterwards – get yourselves a bowl of seafood chowder and a beer before heading back to the city.
THE COASTAL PATH TO HOWTH
32km round trip (16km with train)
Howth is a small fishing village on the peninsula north of Dublin, with gorgeous views of the coast down to Wicklow. It’s a great cycle out here as, once you’re out of town, it’s pretty much a cycle path all the way, right next to the sea.
In Howth’s village centre the harbour stretches out to a view of Ireland’s Eye, a small uninhabited island complete with the ruins of a Martello tower and an 8th-century church. Tourist boats cross regularly, and the island is home to hundreds of seabirds, including a few pairs of breeding puffins. Some well-fed seals also live around the harbour, bobbing up every so often looking for friendly tourists. You can buy treats at the fishmonger’s to feed them with, or feed yourselves instead in one of the pier’s restaurants, all serving up fresh seafood. If you still have more energy, cycle up to the top of Howth Head for a spectacular view of Ireland’s east coast – it’s steep, but there’s a pint of Guinness waiting for you at the pub on the summit.