2004 - Ireland

Introduction

Cycling route map

My friend and I went two weeks cycling through Ireland. If you've read my previous reports you'll know I normally make some longer trips, but that was because of various circumstances not possible. So this year a trip of only two weeks. But next year we'll make a big cycle tour of at least three months through Northern America.

First day: 18 June 2004

Here is my report of the trip through Ireland: On 18 June 2004 we left Amsterdam (Netherlands) by plane and flew with our bikes to Dublin. In Dublin we did some shopping for food and camping gas bottles. After this we cycled into the Wicklow mountains (R115). We make a big climb towards Sally Gap. And just before Sally Gap we pitch our tent for the night after cycling some 45.14 km.).

Dublin center
Wicklow mountains campsite

Sally Gap - Moylisha: 86.42 km.

A visit to the very nice monastic site "Glendalough" and its "round tower". We cycle through Laragh, Glenmalun, Aghavannagh and Hacketstown. Some pretty nice climbs are along this way. On some farmer's ground we place our tent for the night.

Sally Cap
Glendalough
Wicklow mountains climb

Moylisha - Bennetsbridge: 67.38 km.

The road goes up and down. Especially the climb to the pass at Mount Leinster (Blackstair Mountains) is a long one. But the downhill afterwards was also very impressive (maximum speed of 61.5 km/h). We stay at a camping about 4 km from Bennetsbridge.

Fred driving

Bennetsbridge - Ardpatrick: 120.28 km.

Started the day cycling towards Cashel, thereby passing the Kelly Priory. In Cashel we visit the "Rock of Cashel" (an old castle). After this we cycle the scenic route "Glen of Aherlon", with fantastic views at the Galty Mountains. Again in Ardpatrick we can place our tent on a farmer's land.

Galbally ruins

Ardpatrick - Ballyvourny: 83.16 km.

We had a lot of rain today and therefor we started our trip late today. From Millstreet we cycled on a very, very nice little road through the mountains to Ballyvourny. In the Public Park of Ballyvourny we pitch our tent.

Ballyvourny campsite

Ballyvourny - Waterville: 109.99 km.

Across the mountains towards Kenmare. We drive on the "Ring of Kerry" (clockwise) with a lot of wind against us to the west. It's a very nice road with vies over the Kenmare River. Against stormy winds we climb the Coomakesta Pass. At the top we have a very nice view over the Atlantic Ocean. A long downhill against the wind brings us in Waterville were we find a Bed & Breakfast room, were we stay for the night.

Derrynasaggart mountains
Sneem break

Waterville - Tralee: 84.91 km.

After a nice breakfast we cycle to Caherciveen and Brenleigh. We continue our trip over the "Ring of Kerry" to Killoglin and Castlemaine. From here towards Tralee we take a nice little road across the Slieve Mish Mountains. This gives us a very beautiful view of the surroundings (Kerry, etc.). After cycling through Tralee we find a camping just outside of town (on the R556).

Slieve Mish Mountains view

Tralee - Lehinch: 100.43 km.

Across small mountain roads we find our way to Moyvane. We take the ferry of Tarbert across the river Shannon towards Killimer. We cycle further north and reach the coast again at Quilty. Just before Lehinch we find a camping were we can pitch our tent with a beautiful view at the Atlantic Ocean.

Lehinch campsite

Lehinch - Kilbeacanty: 73.32 km.

Along the coast we cycle to the "Cliffs of Moher"; very nice. After this we cycle across small roads to "The Burren". We visit "Kilmarduagh' (old church and round tower) along the way towards Gort. At the end of the day we are allowed to pitch out tent on a sports field.

Cliffs of moher
The Burren road

Kilbeacanty - Mounthrath: 107.33 km.

In the morning we started cycling through the "Slieve Aughty Mountains" Before Portumna a have a flat tire (the only problem we had during the whole two weeks). We have a good wind so we decide to continue our tour through the "Slieve Bloom Mountains". In Mounthrath we can pitch our tent again on a farmer's land.

Slieve Bloom Mountains descent

Mounthrath - Carlow Cross: 124.08 km.

A good wind from the south helps us to drive fast to the north towards Edenberry. After we reached Trim, we drive across small farmer's roads along the "Bective Abbey" and reach the "Hill of Tara". We visit this historic site (some nice views over the surroundings here). At night we are able to find a place for our tent on a farmer's land.

Bective Abbey

Carlow Cross - Giles Quay: 88.09 km.

Again the wind is helpful today and blows us northwards toward Navan and Kingscourt (across the R162). Here we leave the main road to avoid the traffic and cycle across small roads towards Dundalk. Along the R173 (a busy road) we reach the camping at Giles Quay.

Giles Quay - Rush: 100.11 km.

This time we have to cycle southwards and the wind is not so helpful anymore. We follow the coast along Balbriggen, Sherries and Rush. In Rush we place our tent on the "South beach Camping". Here we stay for another day before we have to cycle again to the Dublin Airport.

Rush - Dublin airport: 21.22 km.

Again with the wind against us we cycle to the Dublin airport for our flight back home. The roads are busy here so some careful cycling is required. We arrive at the airport safely and on 2 July 2004 we fly back home.

Epilogue

Ireland has been a very nice country to cycle through (at the end we cycled more than 1200 km in two weeks). There are many small roads where there is very little traffic, which makes cycling very pleasurable. Most campings are along the coast, so if you want to cycle though the center of Ireland, you'll have to find your own place to camp. But the farmers are very friendly and when asked will mostly say yes to placing your tent on their land.
While we were in Ireland the weather changed every few hours; windy, rainy, but also nice and sunny. In overall we had good weather. But the rain clothes were never to far away, so that we were prepared for any change in the weather.

Looking back we had a super cycling time again! Looking forward to our next cycling trip already!

Current weather

Current Dublin weather