The Nitty Gritty:
Distance: 85 Km
Height gain: 530 Metres
Details: Leaving Tralee via Oak Park on the old part of the N69, direction Listowel, you get most of the climbing for this route done as you leave Tralee.
Cross the roundabout for the new ring road and head North towards Listowel and Tarbert.
This is the main road but is greatly improved and quite a fast road to Listowel.
On this route you don’t really pass through any towns or village as such until you reach Listowel. Follow the road over the bridge and past the square on your right. Once past the square keep to the left and follow the signs for Ballybunion. A little way past the Supervalue store, you should veer to the right.
This road is the R553 and is virtually a straight line passing on top of bog through Lisselton and on to Ballybunion. This road is about 15 km long and can be nice as it was for us today. But on a bad day with the wind blowing in from the sea it’s pretty difficult.
Once in Ballybunion the are several options for a break with a wide choice of shops and cafes. Continue through Ballybunion
keeping the sea on your right and head towards the famous golf club. You pass a good bit of the greens and fairways from the road as well as a nice view of the modern club house.
After the golf club the road swings to the left and joins up with the R551. Stay on this road, crossing a bridge over the River Feale followed by a steady climb into Ballyduff. As you enter Ballyduff the road swings to the left at 90 deg, but take the Coast Road for Causeway to the right at the cross.
This road is quite straight and offers beautiful views of Ballybunion and Loophead in Clare. Keep moving past the water tower and eventually take a left at Ballynaskreena Cross to Causeway. Down the steep hill into the village and straight through the cross roads in the direction of Kilmoyley and Lerrig.
At Lerrig Cross keep left and follow the road to Ardfert coming into the village past the Hurling pitch. At the top of the hill follow the round and take a left at the T junction.
This brings you onto the R551 and 8km from Tralee.
Experience: This was our Saturday club spin with The Chain Gang. 12 of us left the Meadowlands at 9 and headed North. The day had a chill in it but for the time of year it was perfect. Sun and very little wind.
As a group we worked well and made Ballybunion in 1.5 hours.
We kept up a similar pace heading back towards Tralee and even managed a quick puncture stop for Cora in Causeway.
I have to say this was one of the best club rides of the season and was well orchastrated by Tómas Crowley. Great group of people and a perfect day for the weather, it does make the difference.