Though it's not exactly a MTB mecca, if you find yourself in Ireland, there is some decent riding to be had in the Ballinastoe trail network, about 30 minutes outside Dublin.
I hooked up with a tour company, which can be found at www.biking.ie -- we were staying with some friends, so I brought along their 13-year old son, who had never ridden trails before.
Our guide was 2-time Irish Olympian Tarja Owens, who was as helpful, friendly and mellow as could be. We rented a couple Trek aluminum hardtails, nothing fancy, but they shifted, braked, and pedaled well. They also have some duallies in their rental fleet, which, in hindsight, might have been worth the extra coin. Trails are pretty rocky in sections, and with the omnipresent Irish precipitation, the extra traction and comfort would have been nice. The network has a little bit of everything -- fireroad, twisty singletrack, even a few boardwalk areas over sensitive lands (wouldnt call them skinnies, though, theyre pretty wide).
The ride was about 2.5 hours long, and I'd guess about 15 miles or so. The kid hung in there and was stoked afterward -- another convert made!
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Thread: Riding in Ireland
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