Old fashioned Kerry

Posted: November 8, 2014 · By: Dave Elton · Comments: 0
Under: Cycling, North Kerry

A morning spinning around the countryside of North Kerry

The Nitty Gritty:

Route: Tralee-Kerryhead-Ballyduff-Lerrig-Ardfert-Tralee
Atlantic view from Kerryhead
Distance: 78 km

Height gain: 505  metres

Difficulty:  6/10

Details: 

Take the R551 out of Tralee passing through Ardfert and then into the centre of seaside town Ballyheigue.

Past the castle on the right and keep the ocean to your left, just keep on peddling. The road is delightfully twisting, the area rugged and sea bracing. There are a few average climbs but nothing too taxing. Kerryhead gives you fabulous views of Loophead in Clare, the Shannon estuary and in the distance the wonderful Cliffs of Bromore.
Re-grouped and moving off
At approx. 36 km take a left following the Wild Atlantic Way sign and onto the North Road. This road takes you further into North Kerry and onto Ballyduff. Take a right back onto the R551 and through the centre of Ballyduff. Here you have options for refreshments.

Keep on going in a Southerly direction and joining onto the R556. At approx. 59 km take a right at the top of the hill heading towards Lerrig. From here you have a fairly quiet road bearing left at Lerrig Cross and back into historical Ardfert. Retrace you incoming route then back to Tralee.

Experience:

Another Saturday club spin with the Chain Gang and off on a route that we’ve not been on for a long time.

Weather wise a possible soaking was on the cards, but not certain and the wind has been way worse this year.
Spaced out on Kerryhead
So 12 hardy Chain Gangers headed towards Kerryhead. The roads were quite wet and starting to show the effects of winter. The first real test was beyond Ballyheigue as the vista opened up, but so did the clouds and the gradients. Make no mistake this is always a testing route and always takes cyclists by surprise. Other than the hills, a herd of cows out for their morning exercise on the western tip of Kerryhead took us by surprise. Nothing more to do than sit behind them until they’re ready to find their field of choice.

We were soon onto the North Road and to be honest it wasn’t too bad. I’ve known this stretch of road to be a pleasure and sheer hell, so more of a pleasure today. Into Ballyduff and coffee inside one of the local supermarkets, (€1.80) with the promise of a sit down area when renovations are complete.

We huffed and puffed our way out of Ballyduff (hilly) before leaving the busy main road and back onto the country lanes towards Lerrig and Ardfert. Heading west the wind slowed us a bit, but once out of Lerrig, the road twists and turns, and the high hedges afforded us a bit of shelter. On reaching Ardfert beware! Heading past the Gaelic pitch and taking a sharp left you hit a deceptive hill. Hit the low gear fast or you could find yourself grinding to a halt!
The rocky road to Lerrig
On the home stretch and 8 km to go. Nothing much more to report except for yours truly as I punctured again about 3 km from home. No roadside fixes today though. Pump up the tyre and hope it holds (which it did) until home. New tyres ordered now! Well it is winter!

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