Leave the Lycra at home and enjoy this quiet area of the Reeks District. Lonely Planet agrees, having voted Cromane as one of its top 50 Secret Europe travel destinations in 2014.Grab any bike for this one. Flat pedals and walking shoes will let you explore this patch of coastline. Taking the quiet Tullig road brings you to Cromane, a small rural fishing community based on a narrow spit jutting into the Atlantic between the Iveragh and Dingle Peninsulas.The quiet, ocean-kissed road down to the spit is spectacular. The calming scent of sand and seaweed greets you as fresh Atlantic air fills your lungs. A mussel plant and various fishing trawlers and boats can be found at the tip of the spit. Park the bike and take a moment, as the deep blue waters envelop you, and the mighty Dingle Peninsula and Slieve Mish Mountains stretch out to the West.Turning around, cycle back up the spit towards the mainland and stop at Jacks’ Coastguard Bar & Restaurant. Park the bikes at the adjoining public car park and go explore the beach to the West. It’s the perfect spot for exploring as you follow the craggy headland winding around boulders and rock pools.You’ll get hungry and thirsty at some point and that’s when you should visit Jacks’. The seafood in Cromane is the freshest you will find given much of it is caught offshore here. Fed and watered you are not finished your day’s cycling just yet. Though if you want to stay by the fire in Jacks and ring a taxi, we understand.Leaving Jacks’ and the sea behind you, take the next right at the junction beside the Mary, Star of the Sea RC church. Cycle along this narrow, quiet country road for 3.5km where you will round a corner at Dooks Golf Club and arrive at what locals call The Bog Road. (Don’t worry if you miss this turn, as soon you’ll connect with the main Glenbeigh Ring of Kerry road at the picturesque Dooks Bridge. Left here brings you back to Killorglin.)Follow this rolling Bog Road and soon you will have open views over Lake Yganavan with the ocean in the distance. The road cuts through an expanse of Cotton grass and wildflowers and the air is fresh. At the next crossroads take a left, where another quiet road brings you back onto the Tullig road you cycled earlier. Soon you’ll be back in Killorglin having enjoyed the sand, sea and seafood of the Reeks District.There are a few tricky junctions but getting lost in this area only adds to the experience. Strava will keep you on the right track here.
Cram stinging climbs, gorgeous lakes, mountains, and a long descent into a 40km route and you have the perfect cycle ride: short but incredibly sweet!Starting out from Killorglin, on the N70 Wild Atlantic Way/Ring of Kerry road, the first 8km of this route are shared with the cars and buses full of tourists. At the bustling Red Fox Inn, with its popular Bog Village Museum, turn left to leave the tourists and traffic behind. A quick right turn has you crossing the Caragh River and the blue expanse of Caragh Lake comes into view.For the next 6km the road is yours, as you hug the entire western side of this beautiful lake, breathing in the warm scents of wild gorse and flowers. The light shimmers off the water on calm days, when all you hear is birdsong and your wheels happily spinning along. Cycling was made for moments like this.Leaving the lake behind, the hidden gem of Blackstone’s Bridge awaits. The stone arched bridge is the perfect spot to see the Upper Caragh. In winter, the rapids roar under the bridge but in summer the low water reveals unusual black boulders, which this area is famous for. Selfies on the bridge are a must.A steady rise in the road for the next 5km carries you up to the vista of Lough Acoose. This deep, cold-water lake nestles at the foot of Caher, Beenkeragh and Carrauntoohil (Ireland’s three highest mountains). It’s a dramatic setting and marks the highest point of the day.From here the speed increases as it’s downhill all the way back to Killorglin. A quick left just outside the town brings you to the door of Jack’s Bakery & Deli, a popular spot for cyclists to load up on some tasty treats straight out of the oven.Alternatively, climb the hill up through the town for a choice of bike-friendly cafés with great coffee. For a Strava map with full details see here.The perfect short route that has everything a cyclist could want.
Oisin’s Pass and Coast Road Cruise
Escape into the highlands of Kerry and savour the silence on Ballaghasheen Pass, the highest road climb in the Reeks District.Start your journey on the Glencar road from Killorglin. The first 12km is a steady climb through wild bogs that takes you straight into the mountains. Rock-strewn fields, from glacial times, signal the summit where a short descent leads you past the haunting Lough Aoose. Here you can switch to cruise mode as pace takes over and you descend rapidly through Glencar under a lush canopy of trees before heading for the majestic climb into the Ballaghasheen Pass. The route here covers 6.5km at a four per cent gradient, with some ramps reaching 20 per cent – this really is one of the most dramatic climbs in Ireland.The lower part of the climb starts with burning legs as you tackle the foothills of Upper Glencar. You will lose yourself in a landscape that resembles the Mongolian Steppes with sweeping golden brown and rust-coloured bog as far as the eye can see. In spring and early summer, you might find a farmer cutting turf beside the road, under a fresh blue sky.Soon the narrow road rises up as you start the final 2km of this testing climb. You’ll battle gravity and fight to keep the pedals turning. It is said that Oisín, the son of the greatest hunter warrior in Irish mythology Fionn MacCumhaill, returned here after spending 300 years in Tír Na nÓg – the Irish name for the otherworld.With an average gradient of eight per cent and ramps of 20 per cent, Oisin’s blessing is hard earned. Once your heart calms down, there is a profound silence and peace at the top. The Kingdom of Kerry stretches out below with The McGillicuddy Reeks and Bridia Valley behind you, and Cahersiveen and the end of the Iveragh Peninsula ahead of you.There follows a very fast 2km descent towards Cahersiveen that demands concentration. The remaining 20km are swift with smooth pedaling and only a small drag up by a wind farm to slow the pace. Cahersiveen beckons and hot food, coffee, and desserts are well deserved.After coffee, cycle back on the N70 Ring of Kerry road for Killorglin. The legs, having rested over food, are slow to awaken, but once cresting Dooneen the speed increases as the gentle descent and a potential prevailing south westerly wind combine. Enjoy the effortless speed on an ocean road for the next 10km and take in the expanse of the Atlantic, as it stretches across the bay to the Dingle Peninsula. At Mountain stage a left onto a narrow road leads you up to the most spectacular views over Rossbeigh Beach and the Dingle Peninsula. A fast and steep descent brings you down to the golden beach and then onto Glenbeigh village.From there it’s an easy 10km back to Killorglin. This is also a great route in reverse. The descent of Ballaghasheen down into Glencar, with the Reeks as a backdrop, is stunning.
Ring of the Reeks
Looking for the kind of challenge you’ll talk about for years to come? Jump on two wheels and take on one of the great Irish cycling routes, the Ring of the Reeks.For a more detailed description check:
Reeks District is an initiative by the Mid Kerry Tourism Cluster, a non-profit community organisation.
Our aim is to help promote the region’s natural amenities, grow local employment and offer a better experience for everyone.
We rely on the continued support of our members, income from the visitor centre gift shop, grant funding and the amazing effort from everyone that helps make it all possible.