Anyone who has ever been to Ireland knows that the Emerald Isle is home to warm welcomes, a great sense of humour and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. However, it’s also increasingly becoming home to some of the best mountain biking trails in Europe. Given the natural geography, it’s almost difficult to see why Ireland isn’t already hugely popular with bikers but with the reputation of Ireland mountain biking trails growing all the time, all that looks set to change.
With some stunning off-road routes, white knuckle downhills and world class single track riding, most of the tracks in the top 10 Ireland mountain biking trails could give any others in the world a run for their money. Check out the list below and you’ll see what we mean.
This single track trail is six miles long and involves some pretty challenging and technical riding. The track is very rocky throughout and varies from fast and flowing sections, to difficult and narrow rocky parts. With some huge drops, berm turns and exposed riding in poor weather, this is a track that will test your skills to the limit. Recommended for advanced riders only.
Unspoilt countryside with gentle climbs and stunning views, this Coillte trail has a similar feel to Ticknock in various places. The rugged landscape provides plenty of challenges, which are seldom made any easier by the winds that rip across the open landscape. The ground is mostly stony but the occasional bit of bog mixes it up. This relatively easy trail is suitable for most riders with nothing too technical required.
Rostrevor, Northern Ireland
Having seen the benefits that mountain biking can bring to the economy in Wales and Scotland, Northern Ireland is now too investing in creating some top mountain biking trails. Designed by trail master Dafydd Davis, the new runs at Rostrevor are thought to be among the world’s best. They’re definitely worth heading up north to check out.
One of the few officially approved trails for riding in Ireland, this is a nasty mix of climbing and long single track descents. On the ride you’ll pass through some thick forest on the western slopes of the Wicklow mountains. You’ll also pass by some farm land but keep your eyes open as you might run into some sheep (literally if you’re not careful). Oh, and this being Ireland, bring your waterproofs as it’s more than likely to be raining.
Ballyhoura Green to Brown, Limerick
A fourteen mile loop track, going anti clockwise, this trail involves around 1,400 feet of climbing and some flowing and fast riding on the descents. In the last couple of miles there are some berm turns and tricky cornering so pay attention.
Nagles Mountains, Cork
With a variety of routes running through the mountains and options for all levels of rider, this is a great place to come for Ireland mountain biking trails. With most of the trails being on stony double tracks, it’s also suitable for riding in all weathers, meaning you won’t be sitting any afternoons out.
Wexford Taghmon Mountain, Wexford
If some of the above trails sound a little out of your ability range or if you’re a beginner looking for an introduction to riding in Ireland, then this is the trail for you. It’s four miles of double track riding going through mostly flat country but with some elevation. Some of the trails even merge into streams at various points so you can have a bit of fun getting wet.
Raven Woodland, Wexford
Not too far away you can also find this trail if you’re in the mood for something a little more technically challenging. It’s a six-mile single track which starts as a footpath and circles round the peninsula. There are plenty of small hills to climb, which also means there are a fair few nice little downhill treats too. The riding is good but can get a little technical in places.
Rosscahill Woods and Tuam DH trail, Galway
Located not too far apart, you can tackle both these areas in a day. The Tuam has plenty of trails to explore with some bumps and jumps for a little bit of fun. There’s also plenty of height to play with too. Rosscahill Woods has some hand built trails and narrow single track through the trees with lots of loops, roots and rocks to avoid.
This single track and forest path goes clockwise in a four-mile loop. Do watch out for walkers on the trail and while there is not a lot of gradient, there is enough in this course to keep things pretty interesting.
How to get to Ireland
As you can see, there are plenty of Ireland mountain biking trails scattered across the country, and plenty more besides the ones listed here. However, if you’re looking for an introduction to riding in the country, the above will provide a great list of places to start.
Ireland is a relatively small country but getting around it easily still requires a car. Flying is the quickest way to get there and if you arrive into the capital, you can hire a car at Dublin airport. If you ask in advance they might have a bike rack you can use, alternatively, your bike will still be bagged up from the plane so just sling it in the boot.
Choosing your route around the country is loads of fun and as well as the great mountain biking, there is also some world-class hospitality to enjoy. Head for one of the famous Irish pubs after a hard day on the trail to enjoy a pint of the ‘black stuff’.
The Ireland mountain biking trails are spectacular but sometimes it’s the extra curricular activities that make an Irish mountain biking holiday so memorable.