Following the relocation of the 7th century monastery dedicated to Saint Mo Cheallóg, the town of Kilmallock, County Limerick has prospered on its riverside site. From this important centre cyclists can follow the routes established since medieval times into surrounding countryside. Cyclists will enjoy magnificent views of the Ballyhoura and Galty Mountains all along the way, as well as ancient sites preserved in an unspoilt landscape.
Loop 1: 70kms - 5 hours
Loop 1A: 22kms - 1½ hours
Route 1 is a circuit around the periphery of the Ballyhoura Mountains. The road follows the contours of the mountain foothills to the town of Doneraille, where there are ample opportunities for refreshment. There is one major climb on the eastern leg of the circuit; the mountain pass between Glenosheen and Glenanaar. Ascending to 307 metres you will encounter breathtaking scenery here to reward your efforts. The entrance to the specially developed Ballyhoura Mountain Bike centre is located along this section.
Loop 2: 83 kms - 5½ hours
Loop 2A: 16 kms - 1 hour
Loop 2B: 41 kms - 3 hours
Loop 2C: 64 kms - 4+ hours
Route 2 is a trip east to the Glen of Aherlow. There are fine views of Seefin, the highest peak of the Ballyhouras and of Galtymore Mountain. Having negotiated the first hill at Slievereagh you arrive into the beginnings of the Glen of Aherlow where you can decide which of the shortcut options are appropriate. Continuing on into the heartland of the glen, past the villages of Galbally and Lisvarane you will finally encounter the iconic and very steep climb of Aherlow. Although not a particularly long climb, the tortuous hairpins and the magnificent views from the Christ the King statue make this “one to remember” for those who complete the entire circuit.
Loop 3: 62 kms
Route 3 is a leisurely spin to the amenity area at the scenic Lough Gur. Take time to visit the stone forts at Carraig Aille (7th - 11th Century). Other castles and archaeological remains are also to be seen nearby. The area between Lough Gur and Knockainey is composed of short steep hills, but elsewhere on the route the gradients are gentle. The roads are quiet and relatively traffic free. Watch out for the De Valera cottage near Bruree, childhood home of Ireland’s third president.
Loop 4: 70 kms
Loop 4 is a shorter spin around some pleasant wooded hills near the townlands of Glenroe and Castle Oliver. You will pass the ornate gatehouses of the privately owned castle as you cruise along these secluded roads. Refreshments may be had at Ardpatrick or Kilfinane.