The Great Rugby Cycle 2021

The inaugural Great Rugby Cycle 2019 covered 1,133 miles in March 2019 from John O’Groats to Land’s End in support of the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

The Great Rugby Cycle 2020 due to the COVID19 pandemic had to be postponed for a year. The Great Rugby Cycle 2021 will cover over 1000 miles in an anti-clockwise direction around Ireland in ten days from the 1st of July, taking in some of the finest scenery Ireland has to offer. The peloton will be joined along the route by rugby legends, sporting stars and celebrities from TV and Film to raise awareness and funds for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

THE LONG WAY! 1,133 MILES Around the Island of Ireland

  • Scenic route avoiding the main roads to take in some of the most picturesque scenery the ‘Emerald Isle’ has to offer.
    ▪ Fully supported cycle lead by experienced riders with mechanical assistance.
    ▪ Full nutritional support on the ride.
    ▪ Cycle with and get to know some legends from the world of rugby.

The Itinerary...

Thursday 1st July Leaving from Stormont Estate , home of the Northern Ireland Executive the peloton will head through the outskirts of Belfast along shore road to Larne, where it will then follow the stunning Antrim coast before climbing over the Glens into Ballycastle. Take in the views along the North coast as the group heads via Bushmills and into Portrush.
Day 1 – Strava Route

Day 1 Highlights – from Anthony Campbell on Vimeo.

Friday 2nd July 
The second day follows the North coast from Portrush via Castlerock and Limavady following the border south though Strabane and the counties of Tyrone and Fermanagh before we cross into the Republic of Ireland at the North end of Lower Lough Erne before heading West to the Coastal town of Bundoran and the destination of our second night’s accommodation.
Day 2- Strava Route

Day 2 Highlights – from Anthony Campbell on Vimeo.

Saturday 3rd July 
The majestic Atlantic Ocean will be in view for the majority of the ride as the group heads south out of Bundoran towards Sligo and then follows the coastal route until Ballina then we head West passing through Crossmolina before we head south with Lough Conn on our left, with Castlebar only a few miles South.
Day 3 – Strava Route

Day 3 Highlights – from Anthony Campbell on Vimeo.

Wednesday 7th July 
We are on the home straight now. Day seven is a long 110 miles from Cork into Wexford. A relatively flat start to the ride before the 40-mile mark as we cross into County Waterford when a few climbs test the legs. Following the coast we head through Dungarvan before a few more climbs around Killmacthomas. We take the ferry at Passage East and cross over in County Wexford for the final 25 miles into Wexford.
Day 7 – Strava Route

Day 7 Highlights – from Anthony Campbell on Vimeo.

Thursday 8th July 
The peloton now heads North as it follows the coast along the Irish Sea with views across to Wales (weather permitting!). Crossing into County Wicklow just outside Akrow before we head through Wicklow, Greystones, Bray and the Southern districts of Dublin.
Day 8 – Strava Route

Day 8 Highlights – from Anthony Campbell on Vimeo.

Friday 9th July 
The penultimate day is a nice flat 100 miles from Dublin up to the coastal town of Newcastle, home to the world famous, Royal County Down Golf Club. The route passes through Malahide, Balbriggin, Drogheda and Dundalk before crossing the border just before Forkhill. A climb up to Newry before we descend into Warrenpoint and follow the coast in the shadow of the Mourne Mountains before arriving into Newcastle.
Day 9 – Strava Route

Day 9 Roy Taylor – from Anthony Campbell on Vimeo.

Sunday 4th July
The peloton leaves Castlebar heading South passing Lough Mask and Lough Corrib before stopping off in Galway for some lunch. Hopefully some of the Connacht Rugby Management team can join us for a few miles. Taking in the view of Dunguaire Castle before entering Burren National Park before getting to Limerick after a relatively flat 105 mile in the saddle.
Day 4 – Strava Route

Day 4 Highlights – from Anthony Campbell on Vimeo.

Monday 5th July 
We are not taking the direct route from Limerick to Killarney instead the peloton will head West along the coast, passing through ‘Gin’ but not stopping for a Gin and cycling past the front door of Ballybunion Golf Club but no time to stop for 18 holes on their Championship course. Views to our right of the Atlantic Ocean and Tralee Bay as we cycle into killarney. Well deserved Guinness awaits as we are now half-way through the challenge.
Day 5 – Strava Route

Day 5 Highlights – from Anthony Campbell on Vimeo.

Tuesday 6th July 
Day 6 is the biggest elevation climb. Heading through the stunning Killarney National park we take on Molls Gap or Ceim an Daimh, the mountain pass on the N71 road, which is also of the ring of Kerry route, offering views of the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. Its an impressive 260 metre elevation gain. One more climb on the Manister North as we move from County Kerry into County Cork then it’s a flat cycle into Cork.
Day 6 – Strava Route Day 6 – Alternative Route

Day 6 Highlights – from Anthony Campbell on Vimeo.

Saturday 10th July 
The ‘ceremonial’ 82 miles on the last day is a beauty. The group will follow the coast out of Newcastle turning right at Clough and follow the the coastal route through Ardglass before catching the ferry at Strangford over to Portaferry. Now on the Ards peninsula we head south and then up the outside through Millisle, Donaghadee and round past Groomsport. One last climb up Craigantlet before the peloton rolls back into Stormont.
Day 10 – Strava Route Part 1
Day 10 – Strava Route Part 2

Day 10 Highlights – from Anthony Campbell on Vimeo.

Support for 2021 Great Rugby Cycle The Cyclists

Lucy Phillips

Cameron Steele

Catriona Wheeler

Corinna Osborne Patterson

Jeff Aiken

Jeff McHenry

Laurence Denvir

Margaret Kearney

Niall Hopkins

Nigel Carr

Rob Sanderson

Sarah Hart

Sophie Lagan

Steve Brown

Becky Long

Tony Clare

Stuart Thom

Dougie Thom

Michael Glass

Ryan Thom

Kieran Beattie

Elizabeth O’Connor

Malcolm Lowe

Bryan Fitzgerald Healy

Alyson Lowry

Philip Buchan

Fergal Hanna

Stevie Barlow

David Greaves

Ollie Phillips

Simon Danielli

June McMinn

Stewart Porter

My Name’5 Doddie Foundation

Who setup the Charity?

Doddie Weir OBE is one of rugby’s most recognizable personalities. He earned 61 caps for Scotland during a successful playing career, represented the British and Irish Lions on their successful tour to South Africa in 1997, and won championships with his two club sides, Melrose and Newcastle Falcons.


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