On yer bike! Five family-friendly cycles in Ireland
Looking for somewhere safe, simple and scenic to take the kids for a cycle? Nicola Brady has you sorted.
1. Doorly Park, Co Sligo
Starting off in Sligo town, this easy 5km route is all off-road, and a great cycle for kids. You amble alongside the river, passing kayakers and SUP boards, before reaching the new Doorly Park Nature Trail. There’s a fab playground on the route too, if any little ones need persuading...
Length/time: 5km (allow 1 hour at a slow pace)
2. Lough Key Forest and activity Park, Co Roscommon
Kids love Lough Key Forest Park (loughkey.ie). But when you’re finished with the Boda Borg or Adventure Play Kingdom, there are 8km of trails to enjoy on two wheels. There are no steep hills, and you can choose from a short loop on the lakeshore or a longer one that heads into the woods.
Length/time: 8km (allow 1 hour)
3. Blessingbourne country estate, Co Tyrone
There are over 13km of mountain bike trails at this gorgeous estate, designed by Architrail’s Phil Saxena, who also designed trails for the Beijing Olympics and the Downhill World Cup. If your kids want to get a taste for mountain biking, this is the place to do it. See blessingbourne.com.
Length/time: 13km (allow 2 hours)
4. Phoenix Park, Dublin
If it’s good enough for Beyoncé, it’s good enough for you. Queen B has raved about her cycle around the Phoenix Park, and it’s a great one to enjoy with the kids. Head in an anticlockwise direction from the entrance and the slopes will be in your favour. Watch out for deer!
Length/time: 9km (allow 2 hours)
5. CurraghChase Forest Park, Co Limerick
The Glenisca Family Cycling Trail is a great introduction to cycling, or for little kids not used to great distances. Circling Glenisca Lough, you’ll pass huge old yew trees, cliff walls and a cave, so there’s plenty to keep interest levels up. Bear in mind there’s a €5 entry fee per car.
Length/time: 3.6km (30 minutes)
NB: All route times are dependent on speed/ability/age