Can I take my own bicycle to Ireland? Practical tips

Last updated on February 6, 2024

Everything was better in the past, especially my knees…

And when the knees were better, I did many many bike tours and bike trips.

I also cycled in Ireland, but rather shorter tours. Knees are a good excuse for increasing laziness :-).

Five Finger Strand
Five Finger Strand (photo by Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg)

Intro

Today I am more of a motorbike traveller. After all, we run our own motorbike rental company in Ireland (www.easycruiser.tours), so I have to set a good example for our customers. Yes, I know, that was another excuse. By the way, we also offer nice guest rooms (www.the-view-accommodation.ie).

Back to cycling: I’ve never done well with rental bikes. Or at least rarely.

The ergonomic triangle between handlebars, pedals and saddle usually didn’t fit my body measurements, the screws to adjust them were often already turned completely out of shape. The rented saddle was uncomfortable, the rented luggage system was crap and the promised tools were useless….

Ad for our own business Easycruiser.tours
Ad for our own business Easycruiser.tours

Yes I know, I’m a nerd and I stand by that. And there are many good rental providers.

But your own bike just fits best. The saddle is comfortable and the equipment is optimised in detail with a lot of love – and bought with a lot of money.

So why not travel to Ireland on your own bike?

Can you do some nice cycling tours in Ireland?

On my motorbike tours I regularly meet many cyclists. Large groups of Irish racing cyclists are on the road at weekends, and in summer there are also many cycle tourists.

They are mainly on the west coast, the famous Wild Atlantic Way, and for good reason: the landscapes are simply breathtaking.

Rough cliffs, beautiful beaches, green hills and peaty mountains always offer plenty of variety.

The climbs are mostly moderate, but of course it can get windy along the coast. What is a joy for surfers is a challenge for cyclists.

You will soon get used to cycling on the left and, apart from the larger towns, the traffic is usually manageable.

Curvy roads on the way to Black Valley
Curvy roads on the way to Black Valley

The most beautiful areas are best explored off the main tourist routes on small and tiny country roads. There is much less chance of having to share the narrow road with motorhomes.

The small roads can be a bit bumpy, but with good touring tyres this is no problem.

The east coast of Ireland also has its charms and there are also fantastic areas in Northern Ireland that are very suitable for cyclists.

So yes, you can do some very nice cycling in Ireland! But how do I get my bike there?

Getting to Ireland by train and ferry

Probably the most sensible connection by train is from Strasbourg to Paris, then from Paris to Cherbourg in Normandy.

In Cherbourg, take one of the ferries to Ireland. Either the Stenaline or Brittany to Rosslare, or the Irish Ferries to Dublin.

From Dublin you can continue by train to Belfast in the north, Cork in the south, or Sligo, Westport, Galway or Limerick on the west coast.

Ad for our own business The View Accommodation
Ad for our own business The View Accommodation

Arrival by car and ferry

There are two possible routes: The land bridge via England, or the direct ferry from Cherbourg.

If you are coming from the north or west of Germany, you can drive to Rotterdam or Bruges, take an overnight ferry to Hull in northwest England, cross England and take one of the ferries to Dublin at Holyhead.

If you want to go to Northern Ireland, you can also take the ferry from Cairnryan in South West Scotland to Larne or Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Then you can decide where to park your car and change to your bike: still on the continent, in England or Scotland or only in Ireland!

The second route takes you by car to Cherbourg, and then by night ferry to Rosslare or Dublin. And here, too, you can decide whether to leave the car in France or take it to Ireland.

Another free tip: The ferries are relatively expensive, especially the night ferries. But with a bike, the crossing is cheaper than with a car!

Burrishoole Abbey
Burrishoole Abbey (photo: Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg)


Flying to Dublin with your bike

Yes, you can take your bike on the plane as sports luggage. This is definitely the fastest way to get to Ireland with your own bike.

The cost is around €60, but check the website of your airline. There you will also find information about the mandatory packing.

Ryanair, for example, stipulates that the bicycle must be packed in a cardboard box or bicycle case. You can get the box from your bike shop, dispose of it at the airport and then do the same on the way back – that’s one option.

There are great bike travel cases on the market, but what do you do with the case when you arrive in Dublin? My tip: There are several self-storage facilities in Dublin. There you can rent different storage units from lockers to garages, even for short periods. You can find several options by googling “self storage in dublin”. You can book them in advance and get a taxi to take you there.

Cushendun at the North Antrim Coastal Route
Cushendun at the North Antrim Coastal Route (photo by Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg)


Shipping a bike to Ireland

What a lot there is nowadays – yes, you can also send your bike, for example with DPD or DHL.

There are also specialised bike shippers and portals, such as bikecourrier.com, sendbike.com or shiptocycle.com, which can also be easily found via Google.

Organised cycle tours with your own bike
If all this is too tedious for you, you can also simply book an organised cycle tour with your own bike.

You, your luggage and your bike will be brought to Ireland, if necessary the luggage will be transported for you during the tour and you don’t have to worry about the route and the overnight stays.

Sounds tempting? You can find a number of providers on the internet for this too. Most use rental bikes, but some also offer tours with your own bike, such as amphitrek.de.

Ad for our own business Easycruiser.tours
Ad for our own business Easycruiser.tours

Conclusion

Yes, I admit it’s probably easier to fly to Ireland and rent a bike there. But if you love your own bike, there are several ways to take it with you to Ireland.

And maybe you can find some friends with whom you can share a car and experience the beautiful Ireland cycling trip together!

With this in mind: Have fun in Ireland!

More interesting articles for you

EQUIPPING YOUR BIKE FOR THE BIG TRIP TO IRELAND – WHAT DO YOU NEED?

CLOTHING AND PERSONAL EQUIPMENT FOR CYCLING IN IRELAND


BICYCLE TRAVEL ROUTES ON THE ISLE OF IRELAND – WHERE ARE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AREAS?


IS MY BICYCLE FIT FOR ADVENTURE? PRACTICAL TIPS


Photo credits cover photo: Stenline ferry at Rosslare port, photo by Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg (www.easycruiser.tourswww.the-view-accommodation.iewww.irland-insider.dewww.ireland-insider.com)

Uli Written by:

Hello and welcome to my blog. Originating from Germany, my family and I now live in Ireland (at least part time). We have travelled this amazing isle many times and know many parts of it very well. In this blog, I would like to share valuabe tips and information for your next trip to Ireland with you. Enjoy the content, yours, Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg