Northern Ireland - grossly undervalued !

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by toroddf, 19 Apr 2010.

  1. toroddf

    toroddf Guest

    I spent three years in Belfast and did some rides in Northern Ireland and one in Donegal.
    My conclusion is that Northern Ireland is a superb cycling destination and ranks just behind Scotland.

    The cycling in Northern Ireland is more gentle than Scotland. But it has some big hills to. The B94 from Clogh to Belfast crosses the seven glens of Antrim and offers some vertical climbs. I will always remember B94 with both angst and fondness.

    The BBC series Coast has already flagged up the Antrim coast road from Larne and north as the best coastal road on the British Isles. I fully agree. It is a brilliant, brilliant ride. I would say that the ride from Larne to Portrush is fantastic. That ride also include a slight detour to Giant Causeway. I do not like to use the word "fantastic". But there is no other words fitting this ride. I have covered this ride here.
    Another excellent coastal ride is the ride from Newry to Belfast through Newcastle and along the Mourne coast. The Strangford Loch area is superb.
    The Mourne Mountains is very scenic and the road through the mountains is said to be superb. I have this on my most-wanted list.

    The Lough Neagh circuit is a good inland tour. The Londonderry to Belfast tour over Omagh too is excellent. Northern Ireland has a lot of small roads with very little traffic.

    The very little I saw of Donegal in 2002 has made it my top priority next year.

    In short; Northern Ireland should be put on your must-do list. In particular; the Antrim Coast. The people in Northern Ireland is very friendly and warm. I have nothing but good to say about this area and I gladly admit that Belfast and Northern Ireland has stolen my heart.

    Go there. Bring bike. Enjoy.
  2. ComedyPilot

    ComedyPilot Secret Lemonade Drinker

    I can whole-heartedly back this up. I have been to Ulster about 10 times on holiday in the last 15 years, and it is rightly placed as a brilliant area to visit. Sadly I was always on my motorbike, but hope to do it on my bike sometime.
  3. jags

    jags Veteran

    done a wee tour of lough erne last summer just an overnighter in castle archdale campsite very expensive for a pitch £15 each a complete rip off but having said that it's a lovely place and our two days in the north of ireland was great i intend to explore some more of it this summer.
  4. Gerry Attrick

    Gerry Attrick Lincolnshire Mountain Rescue Consultant

    As a visitor to the province over several years (unfortunately not cycling) I concur that that it really should be a destination. The scenery is without parallel and you will not find friendlier folk any where. The Antrim coast is one of the many places on this ball of muck that I will visit before progressing to the great cycling route in the sky.
  5. mike1026

    mike1026 Active Member

    Which are likely to be the best Spring/Summer/Autumn months weather wise, any problem months for midges or the like?
  6. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    I've never suffered from midges in the way that I suffer in Scotland. I've not yet cycled there as an adult ... but used to "borrow" a bike when I was a child - I keep meaning to cycle there as an adult but usually too busy catching up with folk when I'm across. I ought to as one aunt is just a couple of miles from the Lough Neagh route, and another is just within the Mournes.
  7. OP

    toroddf Guest

    The midge problem is not as bad in Northern Ireland as in Scotland. In any case; the cold winter has meant the passing of some trillions of midges. No, I did not attend their funerals.

    The two first weeks of July is a bit tense when it comes to politics. But besides of that; the summer months is excellent for touring Northern Ireland. Don't forget to explore Belfast. With the exception of Londonderry, there is no place like Belfast on this planet.
  8. barnesy

    barnesy Well-Known Member

    Im from belfast and my rides go out from belfast via almost every road i could think of. I try to vary my routes.

    There are some lovely roads and it is possible to find some scenic, traffic free roads for hours of fun.

    Northern Ireland is becoming more popular for tourists now that the political threat isnt as bad as it has been, June is the best month i find, by mid July our summer is over.

    In last months cycling plus they had Irish rides in their top rides. One was the donegal coast and the other was the tow path taking you from jordanstown (near carrickfergus) through the heart of belfast and along the docks, seeing where the titanic was built out to lisburn.

    I like taking my car to Larne, parking up and cycling up the coast road, have still to make it up as far as port rush. Going from belfast northwards goes against the wind though.

    Theres a ride run every year which i took part in last year called Lap the Lough, 87 miles around lough Neagh, theres some nice cycling roads along that route.
  9. OP

    toroddf Guest

    That's this event on the 29. August this year.

    I did the Lough Neagh circuit from South Belfast (Botanic Avenue area) up to Lisburn and then took A3 and A4 to that footbridge and then followed the route to Toome where I, very stupid, took the road over the hill to Randalstown, then onto Antrim where I got lost so I could not find Seven Miles Straight until I had criss crossed some dodgy roads towards the airport before I got some directions and finally found this road again and the very impressive viewpoint at the top of Crumlin Road. I love that place, but not the climb up there. I guess you can see one third of Northern Ireland from the top of this road. If they opened a cafe up there, you would have a very considerable tourist attraction. Black Mountain is open for ramblers, I have heard. I would love to climb that one day.
    My Lough Neagh ride was a 100 miler with very nice landscape which made my heart strings sing like a blackbird.

    Have you ever done B94 ? If not, do it from Clogh Mills. An epic ride !
  10. simon walsh

    simon walsh Über Member

    You can now cycle up to the top of divis mountain awesome views from up there. Our club sportive finishes up at the top brutual climb short but very steep. We in ni are blessed with beautifull landscape well worth comming across for some cycling.
  11. redddraggon

    redddraggon Blondie

    North Wales
    Thankfully North Wales is even Better than Scotland :angry:
  12. OP

    toroddf Guest

    Prove it by giving out some good routes. I am all in favour of learning something new.

    *thumbs up*
  13. jags

    jags Veteran

    excellent point you can look at all these routes on a map until the cow's come home ,but you really need first hand advice on the route from someone who did it .
  14. OP

    toroddf Guest

    Point taken.

    Northern Ireland first hand accounts. All tours done by a fat slob.

    The finest coastal road in the UK + return over the mountains, a tour around Black Mountain near Belfast, , a tour around Lough Neagh, a tour around Mourne Mountains to the north,, a tour around the coast from Newry and a failed attempt to do Donegal.

    I hope to complete the latter one next year.
  15. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    I've often wondered what it would be like to do the hill by Castlewellan ... big dip down all the time able to see the uphill to come. I think I noticed a place to hire bikes just off that hill too.

    Mind you there are some hills going around the coast road... I remember our old Ford ?? having to make 3 attempts to get up it.
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