Coast to the Right of Me, Towns to the Left, Here I Am
Roads in Ireland are categorized as 'M' (Motorway), 'N' (National), or 'R' (Regional); some still bear the older 'T' (Trunk) and 'L' (Link) designations. Within this categorization come local 'A' and 'B' roads, the former being the bigger, busier thoroughfares. For reasons of scenery as well as safety, you probably want to avoid the busier roads. The 'R' and 'L' roads are always suitable for cycling, as are the 'N' roads in outlying areas where there isn't too much traffic.
Four popular long circuit bike tours include (all may add extensions):
Ballyshannon to Ballycastle (186 miles total)
Belfast to Ballyshannon (230 miles total)
Kingfisher Trail (300 miles total, Ireland's oldest cycling circuit)
Loughshore Trail (100 miles total, the easiest terrain overall)
Most airlines will fly bikes as checked luggage, and airports sell bike boxes.
EuroTrek Raleigh Group (www.raleigh.ie) is a great central resource for local bike-rental shops throughout Ireland and the rest of Europe, listing regional bike shops by both city and county.
Emerald Cycles (1, Patrick Street, Limerick, Ireland. Phone: +353 61-416983. Fax: +353 61 319229; email@example.com; www.irelandrentabike.com) carries Trek road, hybrid, and mountain bikes and can arrange for transportation throughout the country.
Tour operators in Ireland
USEFUL WEB SITES
Northern Ireland Tourism
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
Best Hotels in Antrim