A new guide to the best cycling routes in South Leinster is set to be launched later this week. ‘Cycling South Leinster – Great Road Routes’ by Turlough O’Brien includes routes in Counties Kildare, Carlow, Wexford, Kilkenny, Laois and Offaly, and it’s full of clear directions, colour photos and maps to guide you on your way.
Turlough O’Brien’s interest in cycling grew out of his family’s involvement in the GAA. O’Brien, who is manager of the Carlow Senior Football Team, said, ‘My father, Jim, was County Secretary when I was a young teenager. During the summer holidays I was enlisted to deliver the post by bicycle to the club secretaries across County Carlow. I quickly got to know the beautiful townland names and the shortest routes along the back roads of the county. And it went from there!’
In his new book, Cycling South Leinster – Great Road Routes (The Collins Press, price €14.99), O’Brien puts his experience to good use, covering just short of 2,000km of road routes and involving almost 20,000 metres of climbing! He’ll launch his new book on Thursday 15 June 2017 at 6.30p.m. in Teddy’s Restaurant, Fairgreen Shopping Centre, Carlow. Brian Carthy, RTÉ GAA sports correspondent and commentator, will be the guest speaker.
South Leinster has a surprising variety of terrain, boasting canals, blanket bogs, rolling woodlands, golden beaches and brilliant green pastures interspersed with fields of golden barley. Quiet roads with excellent surfaces make this beautiful corner of Ireland perfect for exploring by bike, with some great climbs and descents, notably in the Slieve Bloom Mountains, adding exciting challenges.
O’Brien continues, ‘More than roads for cycling or training routes – it is thirty bicycle journeys through the ages and opens up an unspoilt region off the beaten track. The routes are circuits to allow you start and finish at the same place, and are of varying distances. Many of the routes intersect to form a necklace of routes, allowing you to combine routes if you desire to extend your cycling.’
A journey through this picturesque countryside is also a trip through the ages, with many historical places of interest along the way. Break your journey with pit stops at round towers, restored mansions with attractive gardens like Emo Court, traditional lighthouses such as Hook Lighthouse, or the birthplace of Ernest Shackleton or the resting place of Wolfe Tone.
The graded routes suit all abilities, and are illustrated with a colour map, photos, a gradient graph, and key facts and statistics. Information is also provided on the many natural landmarks and historical sites en route. Each trip guarantees a terrific day out for the curious cyclist.