Cols of Kerry
- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
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Cycling Safaris is going green on our Sportive tours and focusing on our own emerald garden.
The glossy cycling magazines always manage to lure you towards the wonderful cols and mountains made famous by the Tour de France, Giro and the Vuelta. These classic climbs reign supreme on every cyclist's bucket list.
How about tackling some of the best climbs in Ireland instead? The absolute height and length of Ventoux or the Tourmalet can not be replicated here, but that does not mean all climbs are easy. Neither does it mean that the scenery is not sublime with equally great places to stop over each night.
We can arrange private groups on request and self guided tours from anytime from summer through to October.
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Arrival in Killarney
On arrival in Killarney you should make your way to your accommodation and explore this bustling town. If you have time you could visit Ross Castle a wonderfully restored 16th Century Norman Tower House overlooking Lough Leane. You can even hire a boat from here and row out to a 6th Century monastic site located on one of the nearby islands. Ross Castle is about 1.5 miles from the town.
Molls Gap ~ Priests Leaps Loop : 120km (1745m)
The day begins easily enough meandering through the National Park. It is worth a moment to stop at the lovely Torc Waterfall before heading to Molls Gap , a climb that brings you via the famous Ladies View en route. It is a fast downhill to Kenmare which makes an ideal stop for a coffee before heading out to tackle Priests Leap. This climb skirts into the border of Cork and perhaps less well known, is one of the toughest. Over 4.6km the gradient averages 8% topping out at 463m, however it is the maximum gradient at 17% that really tests the mettle. From the top Bantry Bay lies before you along with a technical descent before heading back to Killarney.
Killarney ~ Dingle : 125km or 135km (1540m)
Once again the day starts gently enough allowing the legs a chance to get going before tackling any of the climbs. The first climb of the day is the beautiful Gap of Dunloe, which although not very long has some quite steep sections, especially near the top. The road then descends into the spectacular Black Valley, a wonderfully quiet road sandwiched between the National Park and Carrauntoohil. Inevitably there is a climb to leave the valley then descending a while skirting past Carrauntoohil to then cross the Macgillycuddy's Reeks via Ballaghbeama Pass. It is only 3km long from this side but averages 6.7% with the last 500m sections plenty steeper, but another wild and wonderful landscape all the same. The route is much flatter now heading out to Inch beach. There are then a few short pulls on the small backroads to avoid the traffic and arrive in Dingle, a town that needs no introduction.
Slea Head Loop : 60km
Today is a much easier cycle, perhaps you can consider it a recovery ride, as the truly spectacular Slea head awaits. This is a ride that is best left unhurried so as to take in the spectacular scenery. The ride is fairly flat as it passes Ventry beach but includes a few short climbs where the road twists and turns offering fantastic views of the Blasket Islands. Other distractions include the Blasket Island visitor centre, the Gallarus Oratory, and the remote and pretty Brandon Beach, where Brendan the Navigator began his epic voyages. After a short climb, there is a long gentle descent back to Dingle, where the extra time can be spent checking out the ludicrous number of pubs.
Dingle ~ Killarney: 75 km (1170m)
The last day includes one the better known and higher roads of the trip. Almost immediately leaving Dingle the Conor Pass climb begins. It is a straight 7km up to the top at 410m where on a clear day spectacular views can be had. Perhaps the most unusual feature of the climb from this side is the consistency of gradient. It averages 5.7% and has no sharp steep sections or false flats.
The descent is twisty and scenic demanding concentration before the flat road ahead with its normal tailwind offers some fast riding to the passing Castlegregory (a small detour if you like) to the village of Camp. The last of the climbs is another remote road to Caherconree. The road begins easily enough with a few short climbs and descents before emerging onto a wild mountainside. Here the climb proper begins gradually getting steeper until the last 500m that touches 20%. The view is spectacular towards the Iveragh Peninsula. There is then a descent back to the coast and some nice backroads to finish back in Killarney.
- 5 nights accommodation in 3 & 4* accommodation
- Luggage transfer on Day 3 & 5
- Fully Researched cycle routes
- Route details and maps
- GPX cycling files
- Cycling Safaris Gilet
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SELF GUIDED TOUR PRICE:
€685.00 per person sharing
€185.00 Single room supplement if travelling with others
Possible to price this tour for a group, please email with your group requirements
Self Guided Tour Information
Self guided tour is available from July to October and can start any day of the week.
We will organise your accommodation, luggage transfer and GPS route details and maps
Private group tours with a guide and back up support van are available on request
This tour starts and finishes in Killarney. It is up to each cyclist to make their own way to and from the trip and assumed that they are bringing their own bike.
It is possible to rent road bikes in Killarney, please advise us on booking a tour if you would like more information on this
There are many places to choose from in Killaey but our first preference will be Dromhall Hotel or something of a similar standard and location in the town
Dingle too has its choice of accommodation. One of our favourite guesthouses is An Capall Dubh. A beautiful house set in a courtyard in the heart of the town. All the advantages of staying in the centre of Dingle but in a calm oasis!