Our Guide to Cycling in Wicklow

Up there with some of the most scenic places to cycle in Ireland is County Wicklow, nestled in between Dublin and Wexford it is home to some of the most enjoyable climbs, scenic routes and home to some of the nicest cafes in Ireland. This guide will showcase some of our favourite climbs, cafes and places to see for when you’re next cycling in the Wicklow mountains. If you’ve been fortunate enough to cycle through the Wicklow mountains you know just how fun it is to spend a day exploring them, many cyclists in Leinster have very fond memories of cycling in Wicklow, or doing the iconic Wicklow 200 sportive - or not so fond memories depending on the weather! Wicklow is a notoriously mountainous and hilly county and the weather can sometimes be unpredictable, so our advice for you is to always go prepared for whatever the weather!

The Wicklow mountain roads are mostly hilly, and generally quieter for cycling than surrounding areas making it an ideal place for cyclists to spend a Sundays training spin.

Some of the most iconic climbs are within the Wicklow mountains, including Sallygap, Wicklow Gap, and the Shay Elliott climb. Both Sally and Wicklow Gap are considerably longer and more gradual than the Shay Elliott but the Elliott climb is a classic hard undulating Wicklow climb. Sallygap is most likely the most well-known road for cycling in Wicklow. Depending on which side you climb the Sallygap climb, it’s 19kms from Dublin and 18kms from the Laragh side, ascending 497 metres while heading up the climb, this is no easy feat. The Wicklow Gap climb via Laragh is a shorter climb being 7kms, but it goes up 480 metres in those 7 kilometres.. The other side of the Wicklow Gap via Hollywood climbs 480 metres in 17 kilometres.

There is another side of the Sallygap climb from Roundwood up past Luggala which is called the steepest side due to the short steep ramp in the middle of the climb, but the views down to Lough Tay (Guinness Lake) make the suffering worth your while! We suggest if you’re new to the area or live further away then you’re comfortable cycling to the hills, it might be the better option to drive to Roundwood, park up and head up the Sallygap climb. Once you reach the crossroads turning left at the top follow the signs for Glendalough/Laragh, enjoy the descending all the way into Laragh. Once you reach Laragh you can enjoy a coffee or a cake at the café there, then follow signs back to Roundwood on the flat(ish) road home. Wicklow is home to the iconic Shay Elliott race running for the last 63 years, which is one of the hardest one day races in the country, which of course goes over the Shay Elliott climb, this is a great race to spectate and can easily be incorporated into your Wicklow spin.

Another great spin known to many in Wicklow is the 3 Peaks cycle, which takes on climbs such as Aughavannagh, Slieve Mann, and the Shay Elliot climb to name a few.. Many of these climbs are challenging but very doable, and once you get to the top then you can truly admire the views of the surrounding beautiful Wicklow landscape below.

If you decide you want to try and ride in a new terrain this weekend why don’t you give a few of the climbs mentioned in this blog a go? Your legs might not thank you for it but the views are worth it.

Until next time. Sam Gilmore!!