The Best Cycling Routes in and Around Cork

The Beara Way Cycling Route near Allihies, Beara Peninsula, County Cork
The Beara Way Cycling Route near Allihies, Beara Peninsula, County Cork | © matt griggs / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Justin McDonnell
4 August 2020

The coastal highways and winding boreens of Cork provide an exhilarating landscape to explore on a bike. There are hundreds of cycle routes to discover. Traverse the urban expanse of Cork’s city centre, or turn your gaze further afield towards Fitzgerald Park or the Wild Atlantic Way. Here’s our list of the best cycling routes in and around Cork.

Fitzgerald Park

Bridge, Museum, Park
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Young couple leaning against a tree in Fitzgerald Park, Cork, Ireland having a romantic moment.
© Andy Gibson / Alamy Stock Photo
Cycling is the best way to experience Cork, and hiring a bike couldn’t be any simpler. The city operates a bike-sharing scheme, with 32 stations where you can pick up or drop off your bicycle. Easily navigable on two wheels, there are dedicated cycling lanes in the city centre and dozens of accessible routes to choose from. A seven-minute cycle from the city centre is the Georgian-era Fitzgerald Park, lavished with ornate pavilions, fountains and lily ponds.

Bishopstown

Natural Feature
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The leafy suburb of Bishopstown provides a gentle escape from the city centre. A 20-minute cycle past the spiralling Gothic Cathedral of Saint Fin Barre and the historic university, follow Model Farm Road until you reach Bishopstown. The green Curraheen Public Walk begins here. A waterside nature trail featuring a scattering of ruins, a trickling river and abundant wildlife. You’ll be able to cycle some of the paths, but it’s really for amblers, so be ready to dismount.

Wild Atlantic Way

Natural Feature
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Cycling in Ireland. Image shot 08/2016. Exact date unknown.
© markferguson2 / Alamy Stock Photo
The scenery of the Wild Atlantic Way is as dramatic as it sounds. Wild, windswept and ruggedly beautiful, this coastal route is designed with serious cyclists in mind. A trail stretching 470km (292mi), the journey begins at the pastel-coloured fishing town of Kinsale and snakes to the south of Cork City, concluding in the Beara Peninsula, where two grizzled massifs dominate the skyline. If you’re hungry for more high-octane adventuring, you can continue from the town of Kenmare in County Kerry where the next stage of the Wild Atlantic Way cycling route begins.

Mahon Peninsula

Natural Feature
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A dose of urban seaside life, the waterside suburb of Mahon Point features a huge shopping mall and a sprinkling of decent restaurants and fish and chip shops. A pleasant cycle from the city centre, head out west on the River Lee, stopping by the Blackrock Castle Observatory, a restored 18th-century castle with crenellated rooftops. Follow the Mahon Peninsula Public Walk, which runs through overgrown ruins, to reach the calm shores of Lough Mahon, a beautiful expanse of water. The cycle to Mahon takes around 20 minutes.

Blarney Castle

Historical Landmark
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Blarney Castle, Cork
© Angus McComiskey / Alamy Stock Photo
One of the essential sights in County Cork, the castle is home to legendary Blarney Stone, built into its limestone battlements. According to legend, kissing the stone gives you the gift of the gab or an eloquent way with words. Located 8km (5mi) from Central Cork, head north out of the city towards the suburb of Blackpool. Follow the N20 along the industrial outliers until you reach the leafier surroundings of Blarney. Follow the River Martin until you reach the ruined castle and its impressive stately grounds.

Cobh

Natural Feature
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Take in coastal Cork with this flat-land route beginning at Albert Quay. Head past the Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium towards Rochestown Road where cyclists are allowed to share the footpath. Follow the off-road paths along the water, admiring the views of the harbour, and cycle onwards to the town of Passage West. Beeline for the ferry port and jump onboard to Carrigaloe. From here, continue the journey towards Cobh, a handsome town which was the Titanic’s last port of call in 1912.

These recommendations were updated on August 4, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.