Best MTB in Ireland: Top 10 Irish mountain biking trails

Dec 06, 2019 BY Paul McWilliams

Want to ride the best MTB in Ireland? With friendly locals, stunning scenery, world class single track and excellent beer so do we! With that in mind we have pulled together the top 10 Irish mountain biking trails to ride on the Emerald Isle.

Ballinastoe some of the best mountain biking in Ireland Flickr CC image by Etrino

Best MTB in Ireland

Anyone who has ever been to Ireland knows it is a lovely country. The Emerald Isle is home to warm welcomes and a great sense of humour wherever you go. It also has some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet.

However, it’s also home to excellent mountain biking, which is not that well known beyond its local riders. Given the natural geography, it’s difficult to see why Ireland isn’t already a popular MTB destination. But the reputation of Irish mountain biking trails is growing all the time.

There are stunning off-road routes, white knuckle downhills and world class single track to enjoy. Without a doubt, the best MTB in Ireland gives riding elsewhere a serious run for their money.

Top 10 Irish mountain biking trails

Below is a small sample of the mountain biking in Ireland. We feel they are some of the best Irish MTB trails but there is so much to choose from. The only way you can know for sure is to visit Ireland and get riding.

Ireland mountain biking trails flickr image by Dan MacCarthy

Ticknock, Dublin

This single track trail is six miles long and involves some pretty challenging and technical riding. The track is very rocky throughout and varies from fast and flowing sections, to difficult and narrow rocky parts.

With some huge drops, berms and exposed riding in poor weather, this is a track that will test your skills to the limit. Recommended for advanced riders only, but easily one of the top Irish mountain biking trails.

Derroura, Galway

Unspoilt countryside with gentle climbs and stunning views, this Coillte trail has a similar feel to Ticknock in places but is less technical. However the rugged landscape provides plenty of challenges and it is pretty exposed in poor weather.

The ground is mostly stony but the occasional bit of bog mixes it up. This is a relatively easy trail that is suitable for most riders. You don’t need any specialist riding skills, but perseverance is helpful in bad weather.

Ireland mountain biking trails flickr image by Ballyhoura

Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Having seen the benefits that mountain biking can bring to the economy in Wales and Scotland, Northern Ireland is now too investing in creating some top mountain biking trails suitable from families to experts.

Designed by trail master Dafydd Davis, the runs at Rostrevor offer some of the best MTB in Ireland. Many say they are up to be among the world’s best so it is definitely worth heading up north to check them out. There is bike hire, lessons and guiding available at Rostrevor.

Ballinastoe, Roundwood

One of the few officially approved Irish mountain biking trail parks. This is a excellent mix of tough climbing and long single track descents. On the ride you’ll pass through some thick forest on the western slopes of the Wicklow mountains.

You’ll also pass by some farmland but keep your peeled as you might run into some sheep (literally if you’re not careful). Being Ireland, bring your waterproofs as there is a good chance of rain, but this trail still runs well in the wet.

Ballinastoe one of the top 10 Irish mountain biking trails Flickr CC image by Etrino

Ballyhoura Green to Brown, Limerick

The fourteen mile loop track, going anti clockwise, offers some of the best MTB in Ireland. There is around 1,400 feet of climbing but you’re rewarded with a fast and flowing descent. There are nice berms towards the end.

Nagles Mountains, Cork

There are a variety of routes running through these mountains with options for all levels of rider. As Irish mountain biking trails go this area offers great variety and enduro and other types of MTB races are held here.

Much of the riding – particularly uphill – is on stony double tracks. But there is also a lot of single track to explore with some technical riding. It’s also suitable for riding in all weathers, meaning more time in the saddle.

Wexford Taghmon Mountain, Wexford

Do some of the above trails sound a little out of your ability range? Or are you a beginner looking for an introduction to mountain biking in Ireland? Then this is the best MTB in Ireland for you.

Ireland mountain biking trails Wikimedia image by Pete Toscano

It’s four miles of double track riding going through mostly flat country but with some elevation. Some of the trails even merge into streams at various points so you can have a bit of fun getting wet. Good fun with the family.

Raven Woodland, Wexford

Not too far away you can find this more challenging trail with some technical riding. It’s a six-mile single track which starts as a footpath and circles round the peninsula.

There are plenty of small hills to climb, which also means there are a fair few nice little downhill treats too. The riding is good fun particularly if you like your Irish mountain biking to be on the more technical side.

Tuam Downhill, Galway

The Tuam area has plenty of trails to explore with bumps, jumps and other features. There’s plenty of height to play with so the downhill is a lot of fun. One of the best places to MTB on the Emerald Isle.

Irish mountain biking trails Wikimedia image by Dave Silver

Rosscahill Woods, Galway

This is located close to Tuam, so you can tackle both in a day. Rosscahill Woods has hand built trails and narrow single track through the trees. There are lots of loops to choose from, plus roots and rocks to avoid.

Kilcornan, Galway

This single track and forest path goes clockwise in a four-mile loop. Do watch out for walkers on the trail. There is not a lot of gradient but enough to keep things pretty interesting. More one for the less experienced riders.

How to get to Ireland

As you can see, there is plenty of mountain biking in Ireland scattered across the country. Plus there is a lot more we haven’t included.

Ireland is a relatively small country but getting around still requires a car. Flights come in from all over Europe mainly to Dublin or Belfast. You can easily hire a car at Dublin airport to get you around. Make sure you ask in advance for a bike rack.

Ballinastoe some of the best MTB in Ireland Flickr CC image by Etrino

Alternatively, hire a van so you can fit your bike inside. From the UK you could also take the ferry with your own car. On the whole crime is very low outside the cities. That said it’s always worth insuring your bike!

Driving around Ireland is loads of fun, combine that with great mountain biking and it’ll be a road-trip to remember. There is of course plenty of world-class hospitality to enjoy and lots of great hiking in Ireland.

Make sure you head to a pub after a hard day on the trail. Not only can you enjoy a pint of the black stuff but lovely home cooked traditional Irish meals.

While mountain biking in Ireland is still not that well known there are spectacular trails to ride. Add everything else offered by the Emerald Isle and an Irish MTB holiday should be top of your list.

We hope you found this article around MTB in Ireland useful and interesting. Be sure to check out our mountain biking holidays discounts as you could save a fortune.

Ballinastoe, Cork, Dublin, Europe, Galway, Ireland, Limerick, Nagles Mountains, Northern Ireland, Rosscahill Woods, Rostrevor, Wexford, Wicklow Mountains
Mountain Biking
Dafydd Davis, DH (Downhill), Double Track, Enduro, Single Track
Travel Articles

One response to “Best MTB in Ireland: Top 10 Irish mountain biking trails”

  1. Did Ballinastoe for the first time yesterday. Probably should have done it sooner since I live in Dublin, but there you go. Great trail, really good fun and even more fun in the dark (we got caught out towards the end of the run as it gets dark at 4:30pm this time of year and had to use the headlights to get down the mountain). The waterproofs are a good idea because the weather can turn wet occasionally but this wont spoil the scenery for anyone or take from the craic of belting down occasionally muddy trails under a thick forest canopy. Loads of fun. I’d strongly recommend it.

    One thing I’d say though is that unlike Derroura, where all fire-roads lead to Rome (Read: The Car-Park) In Ballinastoe some of the fire roads lead towards farm property, some to the main road and others go further up the mountain to more Coillte property. If you’re new to the place, be sure to use the maps that are at the trail head and at the end of some of the sections, and bring a fully charged phone with GPS capability and Google maps on it as the app has the fire roads and the centre listed (The centre is at the car park). It wont be the end of you if you do get lost as there are houses/farms nearby but it could save you some hassle if you are bringing the family with you etc.

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