Here we present a selection of great routes for you to enjoy, compiled by Dr. Kieran Groeger. More information can be found at his website, http://cycleyoughal.wordpress.com. Routes 1-5 are here and routes 6-10 are here.
The Short Run (Route No. 3)
This is a short run but you can really take your time to get the know the area with this one. The route takes you out of Youghal on the N25 towards Cork for about one kilometre and then you swing left on the Ballymacoda road – the R633.
You notice a beautiful marshy area on your left – Ballyvergan Bog –and you will turn left in the Ballyymacoda direction on the R633. Just after that left turn there is a Hide from which you can enjoy the wildlife of this very special bog which is both sea water and fresh water.
We continue on towards Ballymacoda. You could take a short detour (500 metres) to the Quality Hotel at Redbarn where a magnificent lounge bar enjoys unrestricted views of Youghal Bay and Capel Island.
After 3 km we reach a T Junction where the left turn would take us to Ballymacoda and Knockadoon but the right turn leads us towards Ladysbridge. And it is there we are heading now. It is an undulating road with some gentle slopes and descents (nothing too challenging for the cyclist or the walker!).
On either side of the road there are possible diversions – the Kilcredan road would lead us to a splendid ruin of a church where you will see Tyntes’ tomb – which is very similar in style to the Boyle tomb in the Collegiate Chapelin
Youghal. Tynte, if you remember, was the owner of the fortified town house, (Tynes Castle) which bears his name in the middle of town. On either side of Tynte are his two wives – one being the widow of Edmond Spencer – the poet who wrote the Faerie Queen. Sadly the tomb is badly deteriorated but the splendour of what it looked like can be imagined by comparing it to Boyle’s tomb in Youghal. If you do take the Kilcredan road to the church, carry on past the church and then turn, a short sharp uphill right turn, which will bring you to Garryvoe beach – there you turn right and you will soon be in Ladysbridge.
Castlemartyr is straight ahead for you if you are coming from Garryvoe.
At Ladysbridge, turn right and head to Castlemartyr. You could stop in Castlemartyr where there is a nice Greengrocer’s with an excellent delicatessen and coffee shop just at the bridge or at Pat Short’s pub also at the bridge – he of the Kilnascully fame – serves a good lunch. Stop at the traffic lights as you will be crossing the N25 again, this time heading for Mogeely, a short run. Turn right at Mogeely and the road will bring you back to Killeagh where you rejoin the N25. It is well worth stopping to visit Killeagh Woods .
Killeagh Woods where the colour which seeps through the trees is hauntingly beautiful. Each season has its charm, its light, its shadows. The entrance to the woods is behind the Old Thatch pub in Killeagh, on the turn of the road. It is an old wood – dating back to pre-Christian times and holds many ancient and haunting memories. You might chance upon the early Christian baptism area, or the medieval roadway, or just take one of the wonderful walks through the woods.
The Blackwater Cycle (route No. 7)
This is a glorious spin – up one side of the Blackwater river and down the other.
To start with, we head towards Youghal Bridge (take the Waterford Road) where we take a turn left before instead of crossing the bridge. We pass Ballynatray Demesne – where Stanley Kubrisk’s film “Barry Lyndon” was filmed, other parts were filmed across the river outside Clashmore, while the castle battle scene was at Cahir Castle in Tipperary.
We have a short but steady uphill climb ahead of us – not too steep but still a climb! Then we find ourselves passing Glendine Church which is a little gem hidden away off the road and much used for romantic wedding locations. Our next stop is Knockanore and from there we descend towards Strancally Castle, Strancally Tower and the water’s edge. Soon we catch a glimpse of Dromana House – ancestral home of the Fitzgeralds and later the Villiers- Stuart family. Look carefully – the modern house is built on the foundations of the original castle.
And soon we arrive in Cappoquin where we turn right and head back down the river on the other side, over Dromana Bridge and past Dromana House and into Villierstown. You can stop in Cappoquin, in Villierstown or Clashmore if you want refreshments.
Dromana Bridge will take you aback!
And then back to Youghal. At Clashmore, the easy way will be to go through the village, towards the main road, but just before you meet the N25, carry on through the underpass and take the next turn left. This brings you on to the N25 without having to cross the main road. It brings you past the old mill, a nice quiet pub and then you are skirting the water all the way into Youghal.
Otherwise, at Clashmore you could cross the bridge, go up the hill and come over the top of the hill to descend onto Youghal Bridge.
Once there, you know the way back!
The Vee (Route 9)
This is really the most wonderful spin which has everything a cycle route should have – enough of a challenge to keep you interested, enough inherent beauty to take your breath away, lots of places for refreshments and a sense of wholeness and satisfaction at the end.
To start – head up the Tallow Road and on to Tallow itself. Go straight through the town until you reach the Bride Bridge. Across the bridge you have a choice – go up the narrow hill in front of you or take the more leisurely uphill route on your right. Then it is on to Lismore along a glorious tree lined roadway which you want to go on forever. But Lismore awaits you!
The castle is a home of the Duke of Devonshire and a favourite location for the rich and /or famous to visit, fish, relax and holiday. It can be visited – and there is an Ice House at the riverside (Ask about this).
As you come into Lismore, you come to a central spot with the castle on your left and the main street straight ahead. Turn left and cross the bridge. Go straight ahead, taking the road for Clogheen and The Vee. you have a long but gentle climb ahead of you, with gentle sheep taking just a causal glance at passing strangers, and depending on the time of year and the weather – magnificent scenery, little old cottages almost smothered in rhododendron, streams dribbling down the montainside and a silence which is almost palpable and occasionally broken by bird calls. Breathe deeply and like Wordsworth – it will flashback on your inward mind which is the bliss of solitude!
The route on this occasion is the short version – up to the Vee – you will know when you get there ! But you can carry on past the Vee and down into County Tipperary, turn right at the bottom of the hill and you are heading for Dungarvan and from there it is a short spin back to Youghal.
You can also turn back a mile or so until you come to a turn in the road – taking the left hand side brings you to Mount Melleray – an old monastery which welcomes visitors of all faiths and none and where our beloved poet Sean Dunne wrote so beautifully of the “sound of silence” which he found so palpable there.
After Melleray you carry on downhill back to Cappoquin and from there you take the road back to Youghal.
When you reach the Vee you have three options
1 – At the Vee, turn back for about one kilometre and then turn left for Mount Melleray and Cappoquin ( my favourite).
2 -Continue down past The Vee but at the edge of Clogheen turn right and continue on until you come to Newcastle where you turn right for Cappoquin. This is a tough climb and brings you into Cappoquin. The descent is great but the road is lonely.
3 At the Vee, turn back and come straight back to Lismore along the same road you came up, and follow the river to Cappoquin – a most beautiful route also along side the Blackwater, the remains of the canal on one side, the turrets of the castle receding gently in the background as you go along a very gentle road.
Whichever route you pick will bring you to Cappoquin. At the eastern end of Cappoquin you are following the road to Clashmore, Youghal going down the Waterford side of the river.
Take the Dromana Drive road through the woods along the riverside. It is undulating but gentle.
If, when you are in Cappoquin, you want a longer cycle, go on to Dungarvan and then head back to Youghal via the N25 or – tougher still ….. turn left after leaving Dungarvan and head to Helvick Head, Ring, Ardmore and Youghal …. or go up the hill out of Dungarvan and turn right at the Seanachai pub area and head for Clashmore and Youghal. Or at the foot of the sweeping hill out of Dungarvan to Youghal you could turn right and this will bring you to Clashmore after a steepish climb.
Lots of choices!
As always – it is the journey and not the destination which is important.
That is a different kind of cycling – here we enjoy the trip first and foremost!
More routes and some great information available for the cycling enthusiast at Dr. Groeger’s cycle blog.