Dublin Cycling Study Tour: The good, bad, and ugly

A number of people involved with cycling promotion have asked us what in Dublin they should see when they are visiting, so here’s our long overdue attempt at a list.

We’ll call this our first draft and may in the future come up with a route around the city linking up these sections of infrastructure. Far now you can pick and choose what you want to see and make your own way from one highlight to the next.

dublin cycle study tour first draft

(Click on image or here to view map)




Where: Stations across the city centre, see our map here.
Quality: High

What: It’s one of the most successful bicycle share systems in Europe, more details here. It’s not a cycle route but it is cycling infrastructure which has done more for acceptance of cycling and promotion of everyday cycling than any route so-far (but most routes are poorly designed or disconnected or non-continuous).


Charlemont Mall Canal route
Grand Canal Route (inner section)
Where: Mainly along the Grand Canal between Portobello and Grand Canal Square
Quality: Mixed
What: The only notable attempt at on-street segregation in Dublin City Centre. It’s a two-way route which travels along the canal bank and beside one-way streets, two-way streets and pinch points with shared use where there’s little room between houses and the canal. It gets very busy at rush hour and is the only route we know of in Ireland which has large-scale use of mini-bicycle traffic lights. It runs into the Dublin Docklands and connects with the first (and very small) section of the Royal Canal Route which is in sections both under construction and in planning from Dublin to Galway on the west coast of Ireland.
S2S north (a) and S2S north (c)
Where: Along Dublin Bay from (a) Eastpoint Causeway to The Wooden Bridge at Bull Island, and (b) from Causeway Road at Bull Island to Dublin Road, Sutton.
Quality: (a) = good, (b) = mixed
What: The northside section of cycle route along Dublin Bay. A middle section at Bull Island is missing but construction is due to start on this section soon — and when finished the route will be over 9km, only crossing three road junctions and two car park entrances. Includes stunning views of the city’s bay.
Braemor Road cycle route
Where: Braemor Road, Churchtown
Quality: Very high
What: In the suburb of Churchtown, the 2km section of route upgrade is noteworthy because it has gone from being one of the worst in Dublin to one of the best. It’s now includes mostly 2 meter cycle paths in both directions. The cycle path is wide, near-continuous, and smooth. The transitions between cycle path and cycle lane at junctions and other locations are almost unnoticeable. The widths provide for easy overtaking of single cyclists, and Dutch- or Danish-like social cycling beside your friends or family. If it only had bus stop bypasses, it could have been world class.
Irish Museum of Modern Art route + Inchicore Road contra-flow
Where: Military Road entrance of the museum to Inchicore Road.
Quality: Mixed
What: A route along the museum’s park-like grounds and onto a two-way cycle lane, including a contra-flow cycle lane on Inchicore Road. The route strangling leaves you cycling with-flow on Inchicore Road to the right of motor traffic.
Phoenix Park cycle paths 
Where: Main avenue and branches
Quality: Good long uninterrupted stretches close to city centre, but poor junctions and links
What: Cycle paths running the length of Dublin’s main park. Stunning views and leisurely cycling. Mind the odd walker who thinks the paths are footpaths or shared use — they are not.


N11 route

Where: N11 and detrunked sections of the same route (Stillorgan Rd to Leeson St)
Quality: Mixed, very poor to good
What: A mix of cycle lanes, bus lanes, and cycle paths. Includes recently installed bus stop bypasses. Revamped sections in recent years means the overall quality of the route is improving but it might take some time yet before the overall route quality is improved. More upgrades due in 2015.
Grand Canal
Grand Canal Route (outer section)
Quality: Poor overall because of many “kissing gates”, but good surface
What: Greenway between Blackhorse and Adamstown — to be joined up with Grand Canal Route mentioned above.
Windy Arbour Luas contra-flow
Where: St Columbanus’ Road, Dublin
Quality: High
What: Part of the under construction Luas (tram) – University College Dublin – Dart (suburban rail) route.
Blackrock contra-flow
Where: Main St / Newtown Avenue, Blackrock
Quality: High
What: Contemporary contra-flow cycle path. Would be better if it was continued onto Main Street, but when built it represented a rare example of a high quality contra-flow cycle path.
Bull Alley Street contra-flow
Where: Bull Alley Street, Dublin
Quality: Good
What: Contra-flow cycle lane example with toucan crossing over main traffic route.
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Royal Canal Bank contra-flow
Where: Royal Canal Bank, Phibsboro, Dublin
Quality: Good, but poor surface
What: Rare example of contra-flow cycling without a lane or path using “no entry, expect cyclists” signs. Acts as bypass of very busy streets.
River Liffey mini-greenway plus Irish National War Memorial Gardens
Where: Along the south bank of the River Liffey at the Irish National War Memorial Gardens
Quality: Mixed
What: A route which could be a lot better for little money.
Northstrand Road
Northstrand Road – Fairview route
Where: Northstrand Road, Dublin
Quality: Poor.
What: The busiest route for cycling entering Dublin City Centre has narrow shared bus lanes. It’s very poor. Due for upgrade. Number of bicycle users likely due to a number of main routes converging into one near the city centre.


Grove Road

Grove Road 
Where: Grove Road, Dublin
Quality: Poor

What: Poor quality only made half decent because the traffic is usually heavily congested at peak times where more bicycles clear junctions than cars do.


Ryder’s Row / Capel Street contra-flow
Rathmines route
What: One of the busiest cycle routes at rush hour


  1. Reading this for the first time. Commendable attempt to inform Dublin residents and visitors of cycling options in the city and suburbs, but noticed you didn’t include the reasonably decent approximately 7-mile northboind motorised-segregated cycle path in the south-eastern suburbs from Loughlinstown Hospital to Donnybrook Bus Garage and the corresponding southbound route, which probably have been in existence for at least 20 years.


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