Castleisland -> Ballydesmond -> Rathmore -> Killarney
This 79 Kilometre route has everything a good cycle should, it’s a good distance, has some great scenery and a tough climb to boot. This route also takes in part of County Cork and passes some very historic terrain.
Start in Castleisland and head out the R577 in the direction to Scartaglin. After about 3K a gradual gradient becomes more and more apparent. There is a sharp, short incline just before the village of Scartaglin which you will reach after 8Ks of cycling. Continue straight on throught the village, towards Ballydesmond where there is a welcome descent, a great time to freewheel, because there won’t be many opportunities for the next while!
Here the road surface is pretty good but a long 8K climb starts that is tough and deceiving with a road that doesn’t look that steep but will deaden your legs. At the top of this climb you have a great view over Ballydesmond which you will be decending to next. On the way into the town there is a monument at Tooreengarriv Glin, where there was an ambush during the War of Independence. At this stage you have 21K cycled.
Just after passing the town, there is a right turn signposted for Rathmore and Knocknagree (R582). This road is narrow and has lots of twists and turns, but will lead you out to Rathmore after about 11K. At Rathmore, turn right onto the N72 and follow the signposts for Killarney. Most of the road from here on in is pretty level and rolling and you will reach Killarney with 55 K cycled.
At Killarney head out the main Tralee Road (N22). This road can be tiring enough on legs that are fit for home with some short climbs that are energy sapping. Turn right at Farranfore leading you back to Castleisland.
|Elevation:||+ 748 / – 748 m|
|Max Gradient:||16.2 %|
A tough spin but very enjoyable with this route taking me to areas that I don’t visit too often. The great thing about this route is that is has a load of options for shortcuts if you are feeling too tired, e.g. turning left at Barradubh to head back to Scartaglin and Castleisland if you don’t feel like heading through Killarney.