This itinerary, starting and finishing in Killarney, concentrates on the Iveragh peninsula – renowned in particular for the spectacular coastal scenery on the Ring of Kerry. This tour will appeal to those who have done some bicycle touring before and who enjoy the challenge of a few hills.
Riding south from the town of Killarney you cross over the Roughty River on Morley’s Bridge and start a gradual ascent on tiny country roads, before eventually arriving in the scenic Gougane Barra. From there you head north toward Glengariff, where you have the option of taking the boat out to Garinish Island. From Glengariff you head along the beautiful shoreline of the Beara Peninsula toward the pretty town of Kenmare. Riding West from Kenmare you on the legendary Ring of Kerry route that follows a circular path around the Iveragh Peninsula. Yu arrive that evening in the popular Waterville town for a two night stay, including various options for loop rides. Finally, you head inland via quiet country lanes to head toward your final destination of Killarney.
Touring Muckross House in Killarney
Riding through the Gap of Dunloe
A boat trip to view the gardens on Garinish Island
Staigue Fort – the finest ring fort in Ireland
The beautiful strand at Waterville
Derrynane House, ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell, the Liberator
Enjoying the traditional music sessions in Kenmare’s lively pubs
A trip to the Skellig Islands
The fabulous views of McGillicuddy’s Reeks
7 nights accommodation with breakfast
All routing, maps, cue sheets and gpx tracks
Emergency telephone support
Meet, greet and bike fitting
Hybrid bicycle rental
Touring bicycle rental
Road bicycle rental
300 (for two people)
Arrive in Killarney. On arriving in Killarney, you can check into your accommodation and pick up your bike and equipment (if renting). Spend the afternoon exploring the town and/or go for a short warm up ride in the Killarney National Park.
Killarney to Gougane Barra 56km / +766m (L) Riding south from the town past Muckross Abbey, you turn east past Lough Guitane to Glenflesk. Continuing south from the village you cross over the Roughty River on Morley’s Bridge and start a gradual ascent on tiny country roads to the pass which marks the county border. The route continues through forests and atmospheric moorland before dropping down to the village of Ballingeary – and the chance for refreshments. You might choose at this point to extend the ride with a loop around Lough Allua to the east of the village before riding the final few kilometres to the beautifully located Gougane Barra.
Gougane Barra to Glengarriff 57km / +508m (L, S) If you didn’t ride the Gougane Barra Forest loop or the Lough Allua loop towards the end of yesterday’s ride, you have the option to do one or both before heading west. After a short ascent, it is downhill all the way to meet the coast at Ballinakill. Here you have the option to ride south along the water to Bantry, and perhaps tackle the Sheep’s Head Peninsula loop, or alternatively to head north to Glengarriff and take the short boat trip across to explore Garninsh Island.
Glengarriff to Kenmare 58km / +659m (L, S) Leaving Glengarriff you strike out along the southern shore of the Beara Peninsula, enjoying some wonderful coastal scenery on the way to Adrigole. Here you turn north to cross the Peninsula via the beautiful Healy Pass which marks the border between the counties of Cork and Kerry. Dropping down from the pass you can visit Dereen Gardens before stopping for a pub lunch by the harbour in Bunaw. Continuing around the coast, you cross the Kenmare River to arrive in bustling Kenmare.
Kenmare to Waterville 62km / +748m Riding west from Kenmare you on the legendary Ring of Kerry route that follows a circular path around the Iveragh Peninsula. The quaint village of Sneem offers mid-morning refreshment possibilities. A little further on and you have the option to ride away from the coast to visit Staigue Fort (8km round trip). At the village of Caherdaniel you turn off the Ring to Derrynane House, the ancestral home of Daniel O’Connell (the Liberator), one of the most revered Irish political leaders of the 19th century. A climb and descent from here brings you into the resort of Waterville at the western tip of the peninsula.
Waterville Loop 51km / +628m (L, S) Today’s loop ride takes you around the spit of land to the northwest of Waterville through Ballinskelligs to Portmagee. This is the departure point for the boats going to The Skelligs – if you want to include this on your itinerary you will have to book well in advance, and arrive in Portmagee by 09.30am. From the village you have the option to extend the ride by crossing the bridge and riding around Valentia Island before returning to Portmagee and continuing on the last leg back to Waterville.
Waterville to Killarney 62km / +570m (L) From Waterville you leave the Ring of Kerry coastal route, turning inland on quiet country backroads and climbing very gently towards Ballaghisheen Pass in the centre of the peninsula. There is a short steep section just before the summit, rewarded by a great downhill and panoramic views towards McGillacuddy’s Reeks in the distance. The Climbers’ Inn at Glencar is a welcome rest and refreshment halt before you set out on the last leg alongside Lough Acoose and on to to Killarney. If you have the energy a few kilometres before you reach Killarney there is the option to ride up to the Gap of Dunloe and back.
The standard accommodations for this region's self-guided itineraries are guesthouses and bed and breakfasts (B&Bs). Generally, these have between 4 and 10 guest rooms and the owners/providers live on the premises. In almost all cases the bathroom facilities are ensuite (self-contained within the room), and the room facilities usually include a television and tea/coffee making facilities. There is a communal reading / television lounge. Small family run hotels are also used in a few locations. The providers are excellent sources of local information.
Breakfast is always included. Most guesthouses do not offer an evening meal.
When you book a tour, your pre-trip planner will have more details about the specific facilities and services provided by the accommodations.
Examples of our guesthouses in this region include;
Dublin Bus runs an airport shuttle from Dublin Airport to Dublin City Centre, calling at the main bus station (Busaras) and railway stations (Heuston and Connolly).
From Dublin Heuston Station there are trains to Killarney (change in Mallow).
Bus Eireann runs intercity buses from Dublin Bus Station (Busaras) to Killarney (change in Limerick).
There are frequent buses (Bus Eireann) from Shannon Airport to Killarney bus station (2hrs 50 min / every 2 hours with change in Limerick). Alternatively a taxi transfer can be arranged directly to your accommodation in Killarney (reserve in advance).
Take a taxi from the airport directly to your accommodation in Killarney (ideally reserve prior to travelling). Alternatively there are frequent (hourly) Bus Eireann buses to Killarney bus station (25 min/every hour).
Take a taxi from the airport directly to your accommodation in Killarney (ideally reserve prior to travelling). Alternatively there are frequent (hourly) Bus Eireann buses to Killarney bus station (2 hrs 25 min/every hour) - change in Parnell Bus Station in Cork City).
Ireland's climate is surprisingly mild given its northern location. This is mainly due to the warming effects of the Gulf Stream which brings warm waters up to Western Europe from the more tropical Atlantic zones.
Temperamental is a fitting description of Ireland's weather. It can be very unpredictable! The old adage that it is possible to experience four seasons in one day is close to the truth. During the summertime, the warmest months tend to be July and August, when average temperatures during the day can range from 15ºC to 20ºC. A hot day in summertime could produce temperatures of 22ºC to 24ºC and on rare occasions can exceed 30ºC.
The best time to travel to Ireland for an outdoor trip such as a bicycle tour is from the beginning of May to the end of September. April and October are also possible, but the chances of encountering inclement weather increase. Towards the end of October the days are significantly shorter.
Traditionally May can provide some of the best weather days of the season. The last two weeks in June have the longest days of the year.
July and August are peak travel season for Ireland. The first weekend in August (a public holiday weekend) is the busiest of the season. School holidays are from the end of June until the end of August.
The latter half of September sees the change to autumn colours.
|Core Tour Cost||€745|
|Luggage transfers||€300 (for two people)|
|Hybrid Bike Rental||€135|
|Touring Bike Rental||€155|
|Road Bike Rental||€180|
The standard charge is based on one or two riders. A couple would therefore share the luggage transfer costs. There is then a small additional fee for the third and each additional person.
Note that the more riders in the group, the less expensive are the luggage transfers per rider.
Standard rental bicycle.
Bring your own saddle and/or pedals if you wish and we will fit them to the bike. (You must be able to remove them yourself at the end of your trip).
|Fitted with||Rear rack; platform pedals, bottle cage, fenders (mudguards)|
|Equipment provided||handlebar bag; map case; spare tube; puncture repair kit; lock; mini pump; multitool|
|On request||panniers, helmet, gel saddle cover; SPD pedals; odometer; cages and straps|
|Not fitted/supplied||lights; water bottle|
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