The Nitty Gritty:
Distance: 49 km
Height gain: 303 metres
Details: Leave Tralee in the direction of Killorglin on the N70. Just a few km’s outside Tralee you will be climbing for about 5 km. It’s a steady climb without any major hills, but still requires a certain level of fitness. Enjoy then a 5 km decent which is also gradual, followed by a relatively flat ride into Castlemaine.
On passing through Castlemaine take a left turn on the R561. The cycle to Firies is about 10km, the road has minimal hills and does at times have busy periods of traffic.
Along this stretch you have nice views of the area from where you just cycled from and you are from here very much in the middle of the country-side.
There’s a slight pull and then fast decent into Firies (follow the road around to the right). Take another sharpe right in the village and then a left towards the Church. Once past the Church take a right and follow the locally known “bog road” to the N22. This is a nice quiet road in quite good condition rolling through farm land and forest.
Once you reach the N22 (with garden centre to your right) take the left turn back to Tralee. This is a busy road but with a wide and smooth inside lane which makes the ride back to Tralee relatively fast and safe.
Experience: Five of us out on this Thursday morning spin from O’Donnells. I must admit it seems a long time since I did the hill to Castlemaine and I felt it. That’s winter for you! As expected it was quite windy coming down towards Castlemaine but have experienced far worse. The road to Firies was rairly quiet but we stayed mainly in single file.
We took our banana break at Firies Church. It was nice to break onto the lovely quite winding road as it was safer to double up and chat. On the way back to Tralee on the N22 we used the chain and shared the load as the wind was fairly brisk.