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Anyone ridden in Co. Kerry?

mendipmashermendipmasher Posts: 12
edited March 2011 in Road beginners
We (the family) are going to Kerry for a couple of weeks in July and I've been given a special dispensation to take the bike (mainly to give me something to do in the early mornings without waking everyone else!).

I'm used to riding the hills around here (Mendips) but will the mountains in Kerry be doable for a normal cyclist like me? I would be keen to hear your experiences - good routes, climbs to avoid etc.

I have a standard 50/34 11-25 compact which gets me up the Mendip hills (just). Will that be suitable or should I get something with a few more teeth on the back?


  • LangerDanLangerDan Posts: 6,132
    I know Kerry but don't know the Mendips so I can't compare directly, but I think your gearing should be fine. As for routes, it will depend on where you are staying. There are some very worthwhile spins based out of all the main towns. A few years ago I stayed in Killarney and did exactly as you are planning - out early (7-ish) for a spin for 2-3 hours and back by the time everyone was awake.

    A few typical spins ~(some can be done in a couple of hours, some will be considerably longer) for the area would be

    From Killarney
    i) To Tralee via Killorglin, Castlemaine and over the "Short Mountain", back the main road from Tralee to Killarney
    ii) Ride out to Fossa, over the Gap of Dunloe (this is narrow, steep in parts and partially surfaced in spots and used by jaunting cars from 9-ish onwards so its best to hit it before 8am), up to Molls Gap and descend into Killarney
    iii) Killarney -Molls Gap - Kenmare - Kilgarvan - Clonkeen and back to Killarney
    iv) It is possible to ride the Ring of Kerry (> 110 miles) but in July the traffic (esp tour buses) can be a monumental pain. There is an organised Ring of Kerry cycle in July with 4,000 participating where the numbers tend to overwhelm the buses!

    From Tralee
    i) Ride out to Camp and over the climb to Annascaul, south to Inch and along to Castelmaine and over the shrot mountain to Tralee.
    ii) Ride to Camp and Castlegregory and over the Conor Pass (the highest public road in Ireland and a tough [email protected] climb to boot - allow 30-45 minutes), descend to Dingle and back to Annascaul then back to Tralee via Camp or Inch / Castelmaine

    From Dingle
    i) You can "reverse" the Tralee route ii) above
    ii) Out around Slea Head, Ballyferriter.
    ii) For a longer spin, we rode this route a few weeks ago - tough but fantastic scenery ~ 85 miles

    From Kenmare
    You can head North towards Molls Gap and Killareny but there are soem fantastic climbs in the area such as the Healy Pass, Caha Pass (Tunnel Road) and Priests Leap (the latter is an absolute stinker)

    The roads in Kerry (as well as most everywhere else) have taken an absolute pounding from the Winter & the lack of funding for the local authorities so are not great in areas but they just add to the character building!
    'This week I 'ave been mostly been climbing like Basso - Shirley Basso.'
  • Many thanks for the useful information, Dan. I'll cut this out and take it with me.

    We're staying at Caherdaniel - about 25 miles west of Kenmare on the Ring of Kerry so hopefully some good routes around there and I'll try some of the climbs around Kenmare you suggest. I can always put the bike in the car if I want to try something different (such as Conor Pass?)
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