Eire is without doubt one of the planet’s most sought-after bike touring locations and a spot that many individuals, the world over, dream of visiting, if solely as soon as of their lifetime. The steep seaside cliffs, the luxurious inexperienced mountains, and the secure, colourful cities appeal to tens of millions of vacationers from all all over the world. However what’s Eire like as a bicycle touring vacation spot? What are the roads and trails like within the nation? What are one of the best locations to cycle? What kind of lodging can be found to bicycle vacationers? How a lot does all of it price? And what are one of the best and worst elements about cycle touring on this famously inexperienced nation?
On this article (and the accompanying video) I reply all these questions and share with you my private ideas and impressions after having lately accomplished my very own 21-day bike tour throughout the island nation of Eire.
Please notice that I’m sharing my opinions primarily based by myself private expertise. I’m about to inform you each the issues I appreciated and disliked about cycle touring within the Republic of Eire (and sure, there have been some issues that I disliked). You have got been warned!
Bicycle Touring in Eire – Video Highlights
If you wish to skip forward to a sure level within the video, use the timestamps beneath to leap to the subject material that pursuits you most:
Introduction – 02:10
Fundamental information about Eire – 05:30
5 sights value seeing in Eire – 09:15
What are the roads and bike paths like in Eire? – 13:45
Inns, B&B’s and the worth of lodging in Eire – 17:00
What kind of tenting is obtainable and the way a lot does it price? – 17:50
Cash: How a lot does bike touring in Eire price? – 19:55
Learn how to get free and low cost lodging in your travels – 21:30
The perfect and worst elements about bike touring in Eire – 24:00
Questions and solutions – 25:30
Further Hyperlinks & Sources Talked about within the Video
Keep in mind: Bikes & autos drive on the left in Eire
That’s proper. Identical to within the UK, South Africa and plenty of different locations on the planet, site visitors drives on the left in Eire. If you happen to’re visiting Eire from the UK or one of many different left-handed nations on the planet, this gained’t be an issue for you. But when that is your first journey to Eire, you’re going to wish a while to regulate to biking on the left-hand aspect of the highway.
If you happen to’ve by no means cycled on the left-hand aspect of the highway earlier than, you need to be warned that it’s not as straightforward because it first sounds – particularly in a spot like Eire the place the roads are small, site visitors circles are frequent, and selections steadily must be made in a brief period of time.
Though I’ve spent months cycle touring in nations that require you to drive on the left-hand aspect of the highway, I nonetheless battle each time I return to a rustic the place I’m pressured to cycle on the left. It simply isn’t pure for me to be on the left-hand aspect of the highway, and subsequently, I’ve to actively take into consideration what I’m doing – particularly once I’m biking in a crowded metropolis atmosphere.
It normally takes me 1-2 weeks earlier than I really feel completely snug biking on the left-hand aspect of the highway, and I like to recommend that if that is your first journey to Eire or some other nation that drives on the left-hand aspect of the highway, that you just take it sluggish in the beginning of your journey. There’s positively an adjustment interval in the beginning of your travels that must be thought of. Go sluggish, be secure and ease into it as your get extra snug driving on the left-hand aspect of the road.
What are the roads like in Eire?
If I needed to summarize Eire’s roads in a only a single phrase, that world could be: NARROW. The roads in Eire are so extremely slender – generally solely vast sufficient for a single automobile to drive safely by way of.
I discovered biking in Dublin (Eire’s capital and largest metropolis) to be fairly straightforward in comparison with many massive cities on the planet. There are bike paths scattered throughout town (some in higher form than others) and site visitors is mostly fairly pleasant in direction of cyclists on the roads. That being mentioned, the bike paths in Dublin may very well be an entire lot higher. Most of the devoted bike paths are on the street with little to no separation between you and the passing vehicles, vans and buses. Of these bike lanes that do exist, a lot of them are in in poor health restore and it’s fairly frequent for the bike lane to out of the blue finish, forcing you to journey on the street (or up on the sidewalk, which lots of the native cyclists appear to do). If there’s a devoted bike lane, don’t be stunned to search out autos parked within the lane, forcing your to go round them by shifting out of the bike path and into the high-speed site visitors.
Within the countryside and smaller cities and cities that you just discover scattered all through most of Eire, the roads you’ll end up biking on are fairly totally different. Most roads are slender (solely vast sufficient for 1 or 2 small vehicles to squeeze previous) with no shoulder in any way. Many of the roads in Eire are sandwiches between rock partitions or towering inexperienced vegetation that develop proper as much as the sting of the road. The dearth of shoulders makes it tough to drag over when a automobile behind you desires to cross, and makes it exhausting if you need to pull over and take a break, however can’t discover even the smallest little space during which to drag over and relaxation (which does generally occur – particularly when going up steep hills).
I wish to cycle (generally) whereas listening to music or podcasts with a set of earphones. However this was one thing I used to be unable to do whereas cycle touring in Eire. As a result of the site visitors was so excessive, as a result of the roads had been so slender, and since I felt like I used to be continuously on edge (frightened about vehicles passing me or pulling out in entrance of me round blind corners, and so on.) I by no means as soon as was capable of easy cycle alongside within the carefree method that may enable me to cycle with my headphones in. I simply didn’t really feel secure biking in that means whereas I used to be in Eire… and I believe this says one thing about what the roads and site visitors circumstances are like on this nation.
It needs to be famous, nonetheless, that there are some roads which can be much less traveled than others (clearly) and if you will get your self onto one among these roads, it is possible for you to to expertise no less than a couple of minutes of carefree biking with no frenzy of autos arising behind you or passing from the entrance. These smaller aspect roads are those you need to hunt down when bike touring in Eire, however they aren’t essentially straightforward to search out… and in a means, these roads are much more harmful, solely as a result of drivers on these roads don’t count on to come across one other automobile (or a daydreaming bike owner) as she or he zips speedily across the subsequent bend. It is advisable to be continuously conscious of your environment, listening for approaching vehicles, and waiting for something that is likely to be coming your means.
I discovered biking in Eire to be a fairly nerve-racking expertise – not the kind of factor I dream about once I think about myself biking throughout a overseas nation. Whereas the surroundings was fairly spectacular at instances (primarily in these few little pockets of the nation that I’ll discuss in only a second), I wasn’t capable of benefit from the surroundings as a lot as I might have appreciated as a result of I used to be frightened a lot of the time concerning the vehicles, vans and buses that had been continuously zipping previous me.
What are Eire’s details of curiosity?
If you need a complete checklist of Eire’s details of curiosity, a fast Google search will assist you greater than I can.
I, nonetheless, can inform you concerning the elements of the nation that I visited and loved probably the most. So, with out additional adieu, listed below are the highest three locations in Eire that I loved probably the most and would seemingly return to if I had been ever in Eire once more.
The tip of the Dingle peninsula
After I began planning my bike tour in Eire, everybody informed me that I ought to go away Dublin as quickly as I presumably may and get myself over to the Dingle peninsula. There’s part of me that normally ignores most of these suggestions, as a result of as I’ve found over time, there are normally tons of unbelievable locations in between a rustic’s most well-known areas which can be additionally fascinating and value seeing. However within the case of Eire, I ought to have listened to those that got here earlier than me.
Whereas all the Dingle peninsula was not as breathtaking as folks made it out to be, there have been small elements of Dingle that had been extremely very good… and it was these few elements of the peninsula that made my journey to Eire actually spectacular.
There are two totally different sections, every of which could be very straightforward to search out, on the tip of the Dingle peninsula which can be value spending a while at. I might most likely spend 1-2 days simply on this small space. The trick with Dingle, and far of Eire, is to get off the highway (which is form of nerve-racking and never all that spectacular) and go off on foot (both into the mountains above the highway or all the way down to the cliffs/seashore). It’s right here, away from the folks and passing vehicles that Eire actually turns into fairly magical.
Killarney Nationwide Park
One other good spot to spend a while (no less than a full day or extra) is in Killarney Nationwide Park, simply exterior town of Killarney Eire. Just like the Dingle peninsula, I’d suggest you get off your bike as a lot as you possibly can. There are dozens of scenic mountaineering trails within the park, however one among my favourite areas was on the Muckross Home, the place there are some flat, vast strolling trails and a small cave close by that you may climb by way of from one finish to the opposite.
The very high of the Wicklow Mountains
Lastly, the Wicklow Mountains simply south of Dublin, Eire are actually value a go to. Though the Glendalough Nationwide Park is one among Eire’s hottest scenic areas, I discovered Glendalough to be too crowded with folks to be actually fulfilling. As an alternative, contemplate using your bike from Dublin to Glendalough on the R115. It’s a 50 kilometer bike journey that begins out tremendous steep, however then flattens off close to the highest of the hill. When you get to the highest, the site visitors diminishes drastically and the surroundings actually opens up. Sheep amble by way of the flat plains within the space and crimson fox may be seen in lots (in case you are nonetheless and affected person sufficient to search for them). As soon as once more, don’t rush by way of this space. Go sluggish and take no less than two or extra days to discover the Wicklow Mountains when passing by way of on a bicycle. I used to be there for greater than per week and I nonetheless didn’t see all the things within the space.
What Irish cities are value seeing?
Dublin is definitely one among my favourite massive cities on the planet… and I hate massive cities. The town is comparatively site visitors free (when in comparison with different massive cities all over the world), straightforward to navigate, and comparatively bicycle pleasant. It’s a metropolis that has the potential to change into a serious biking hub. There are good eating places, pleasant folks, and plenty to see and do within the rapid space.
Whereas Eire’s capital and largest metropolis (Dublin) is actually value seeing, Eire’s second largest metropolis, Cork, is one place that I might most positively cross on. I discovered Cork to be congested, over-priced and boring. Cork has just a few notable church buildings (not my factor) and a small metropolis heart lined with overpriced retailers (additionally not my factor), however there may be little or no else to see or do there. Skip this metropolis and spend your time someplace smaller.
The perfect cities in Eire are the small ones. Kinsale, Dingle and Kenmare are locations all value spending a while.
Of all of the cities I visited, Dingle was most likely my favourite. This small city, located on a small hill overlooking a tiny harbor is charming, colourful and pleasant. Like virtually all cities in Eire, Dingle is pricey (and overpriced), however it’s actually value a go to. Spend no less than a day or two in Dingle. Wander the streets, sit down by the harbor with a cup of espresso or sizzling tea, and you’ll want to seize an ice cream at Murphy’s ice cream parlor.
What lodging choices can be found in Eire?
Inns should not as frequent in Eire as you would possibly assume. Solely within the bigger cities (Dublin, Cork, Shannon, and so on.) can resorts normally be discovered. Outdoors of those areas, visitor homes, hostels and B&Bs are the commonest type of nightly lodging out there to vacationers.
Whereas a few of these lodging may be booked by merely exhibiting up and asking for a room, most require some type of superior notification, which makes touring round Eire with a cellphone (and Web entry) preferable.
If you happen to do plan to remain in resorts or B&Bs throughout your keep in Eire, count on to pay round 70-80 Euros (about $100 USD) or extra every night time (though there are rooms in personal properties for lease for as little as $40 USD when you actually do your analysis).
If you wish to attempt to discover cheaper, extra personal, or extra fascinating locations to remain in Eire, think about using the web site at www.airbnb.com to search out inexpensive locations to sleep every night time (which is what I did when touring round Eire with some buddies from Germany throughout our one week-long highway journey collectively).
If you wish to get monetary savings and camp, that’s an possibility as effectively. Nonetheless, established campgrounds should not all the time straightforward to search out in Eire. Campgrounds are fairly uncommon, and when you will discover one, they’re normally fairly costly (someplace between 7 – 18 Euros per individual, per night time).
Is wild tenting allowed in Eire?
I’m not precisely positive if wild tenting is allowed in Eire, however I do know that I spent virtually two full weeks tenting in Eire with out anybody ever realizing that I used to be there.
The tough factor about wild tenting in Eire is that there’s a lot personal property (virtually the entire nation is fenced off), and the areas which can be normally excellent for tenting in are tough to entry (they’re both means up excessive on the tops of the mountains or down on the seaside/cliffs, that are steadily visited by passing vacationers).
The most secure solution to camp in Eire is to ask a farmer or land proprietor if it could be okay so that you can camp on his or her property for the night. Asking for a spot to camp on this means may not solely rating you a free place to remain, but additionally, when you ask a pleasant particular person, a heat bathe and even a meal of some form.
I by no means took this method myself, nonetheless. As an alternative, each time I needed to camp for the night time, I might climb excessive up into the hills, discover a personal (or comparatively personal) place during which to pitch my tent for the night time, after which merely hope that nobody got here wandering previous. In different phrases, I used to be stealth tenting! Within the few situations the place folks did wander previous my tent pitched excessive on the mountain tops, nobody appeared to care. I simply waved and smiled whereas the folks passing by merely continued on their means. I doubt there are numerous police in Eire that can climb up into the hills simply to attempt to discover and take away a camper who’s pitched there for the night time.
How a lot does it price to go bicycle touring in Eire?
Eire is without doubt one of the costliest nations I’ve ever been to… and I’ve been to over 50 totally different nations all all over the world. Earlier than coming to Eire, I had simply accomplished a 25-day bike tour throughout Finland (one other costly nation), however I discovered touring in Eire to be much more costly than Finland.
Meals in Eire was, at instances, as a lot as two instances the worth I used to be paying in Finland for the very same factor. Lodging was costly and entrance charges had been excessive (there have been church buildings in Eire asking you to pay 6 Euros simply to go inside!).
Count on to pay $90+ USD per night time for lodging in a resort or B&B, $15+ USD for tenting and about $15+ USD for every meal that you just eat. Guided bike excursions in Eire vary in worth from as little a$100 USD for a single-day tour, to as a lot as $3,000+ USD for a multi-day bicycle touring journey.
My general ideas on cycle touring in Eire
If you happen to’re a type of individuals who has all the time dreamed of touring to Eire and exploring the nation by bike, then I will surely encourage you to do it. The surroundings is fantastic, the cities and villages are charming, the persons are (typically) fairly pleasant, the meals and drinks are scrumptious, it’s a simple place to navigate, and it’s one of many most secure locations on the planet to journey.
There are, nonetheless, plenty of unfavourable issues about bike touring in Eire: The climate is poor (chilly, moist, windy and raining a lot of the time), it’s one of the vital costly locations on the planet, the roads may be each nerve-racking and harmful for biking, tenting may be tough because of the lack of assets and out there open land, and outdoors of the principle vacationer areas, the countryside isn’t all that fascinating (simply a variety of sheep and rolling hills).
Within the video above, I discussed that on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being one of the best, I might give Eire a 5… and though I understand it is a very low ranking for a rustic that so many individuals dream about visiting, I’ve to face by what I mentioned.
I didn’t get pleasure from biking in Eire very a lot. The slender roads, crowded metropolis streets and overpriced all the things made me really feel harassed and claustrophobic for a lot of the time that I used to be there. If I had skilled higher climate or cycled on totally different highway, perhaps I might have appreciated Eire extra. However there have been some good moments whereas I used to be within the nation. I appreciated virtually the entire folks I got here into contact with, the surroundings in just a few choose spots of the nation was completely phenomenal, and as a traveler (not only a bike owner), I typically loved my time within the Eire of Republic.
Though Eire is someplace close to the underside within the rankings of all of the locations I’ve ever gone bicycle touring on the planet, I will surely return to Eire if I got the chance. If I had been to return, nonetheless, I might most likely do issues in another way. If I had been to return to Eire once more, I’d most likely fly into Dublin, lease a automotive and drive to the Dingle peninsula, lease this place (or a spot prefer it) for a complete week or extra, after which use that place as my residence base whereas I drove, cycled and hiked across the neighboring areas – getting away from the folks and crowded locations as finest I may throughout the day, after which returning to the smaller cities and villages every night time to eat a heat meal and socialize within the good, previous Irish vogue.