Howth warning signs extend frosty welcome to fast cyclists

Cartoon posters en route to Howth Summit pedal message this is not ‘Tour de France’

Cyclists pedalling their way to the recreational hotspot of Howth this bank holiday weekend have been warned to slow down as it’s “not the Tour de France”.

The message is set out on one of a number of cartoon posters that have appeared on the road up to the peninsula’s summit, which do not offer the warmest welcome to two-wheeled visitors.

The signs give no clues as to who put them up but could be seen to illustrate the acrimony felt by some residents toward the regular pelotons that circle Howth Head.

One of them shows cartoon elephants on bikes filling the road and leaving in their wake a congested line of motorists. In another, the smiling cyclists declare: “We own the road right?”


The signs reflect frustrations at the increase in cyclists in recent years who are attracted to the scenic and challenging circuit which includes a steep climb and fast downhill run.

Speedy wheels

“It does surprise me. It’s a lot of effort for someone to go to and I don’t think that sort of approach is going to be in any way constructive,” said local Social Democrats councillor Cian O’Callaghan.

Mr O’Callaghan said that, in the last few years, the popular tourist destination has experienced a sharp increase in visitors of all kinds.

Locals are perturbed by some of them speeding through the village. Traffic-calming measures, for both cars and bikes, have been installed to slow things down.

“My perception of it is that there is a growing number of cyclists not causing issues coming down the hill; it’s still a minority going at a dangerous speed,” Mr O’Callaghan said.

He said motorists irritated by cyclists and vice versa make up a small proportion of those who use the loop road. “I think if people have concerns about cyclists they should speak to some of the cycling groups and open up a dialogue.”

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times