A bicycle trip around Tipp with a golden centre
Cycle series: This route reveals Tipperary in all its rustic splendour
Near New Inn, Co Tipperary
The pretty Tipperary village of Golden is the centre of this route, although the route does not pass through it on account of the extremely truck-dense N74. Instead you start in on the Horse and Jockey Road, north of Cashel. Take the road to the left of the Esso garage, the R660. After 200m go left, passing under the world-famous Rock of Cashel, and after 300m go right, on to the R505. This is a lovely road that passes through some of the rustic splendours of north Tipperary: rolling countryside, abundant streams, ponds, woods and lots of peace and quiet. After 4km, cross Camus Bridge over the river Suir before the road veers left by 90 degrees. From here it is 10km to the appealing wooded hamlet of Dundrum, home to a fine country house hotel of the same name.
At a T-junction in Dundrum, take a sharp left and go left again at a fork. This is the R661 to Tipperary town. If you’re lucky enough to cycle this on a rainy day in spring, revel in the drenched tree tunnels and intoxicating aromas of spring flowers. Tipperary is 1km away on a pleasant southwesterly route. Take a break in the town; Brazil’s cafe on the main street has a small courtyard where you can put the bike.
Near the cafe is Castle Street and the start of the R664. Go down this road for 3½km to a T-junction. Go left on what’s known locally as the Mountain Road (L8214) and enjoy a great 4km stretch of woods. Thereafter the fun is over as the route necessitates a 4km section on the busy N24 connecting Tipperary to Cahir. Go right, stay in close to the ditch and grin and bear it.
Next up is the graceful village of Bansha. A fine spot for a picnic on the banks of the river Ara. At the start of the village is a road to the left. This goes northwards for 1km and through a level crossing before turning east at a small racetrack. Stay on this road for 4km to reach a T-junction. Go left for less than 1km before turning right. This road runs in a straight line for 6½km before arriving at a T-junction. Go right. New Inn appears after 3km. Continue straight through the junction; bear left for 1km before turning sharply left, north after 1km at the sign for St Declan’s Way. This is a lovely, quiet country road that leads directly to Cashel after 10km.
Approaching the town, pass the first roundabout and take the first left at the next. Continue straight to the town square and then right up the hill to return to the starting point.
- Edited extract from Cycling Munster: Great Road Routes by Dan MacCarthy published by The Collins Press, €14.99
HIT THE ROAD
Cashel Circuit, Tipperary
Cashel – Dundrum – Tipperary town – Bansha – New Inn – Cashel
Location: Co Tipperary
Height gain: 429m
Duration: 3-3½ hours
Verdict: Wonderful woods and quiet roads
Start and finish
Start at the north side of Cashel on the Horse and Jockey road, the R639. There is ample parking near the Esso garage on Ladyswell Street.