Follow Jane O’Brien’s favourite route along the coast of Kenmare, stopping for spectacular views of the Caha mountains and sprawling green gardens in Lauragh, or pop into a pub at Bunaw Pier.

Recommended by  Jane O’Brien

What to expect:

The cycle is almost 40km (taken from the Little Bo Peep Triathalon in Kenmare) and takes about 2.5 hours to finish, though I am a bit of a slow cyclist myself.

Why I love this route:

It has a little bit of everything, but views and stops along the way are the best part!

The Route:

For the first 15km, the road is relatively flat and travels along the shore of the Kenmare River before climbing up to Carriganine, a summit of 176 m. This is a moderately steep climb, but well worth it for the spectacular view from the top of the Caha mountains and the gorgeous valley beneath it.

caha moutains kenmare
The view of the Caha Mountains

It’s an interesting downhill ride with a few tight bends thrown in, and care will be needed here.

At the turn off for the coastal road in Lauragh, you will find Derreen Gardens. It is well worth stopping here and spending an hour or two walking around the garden. There is small tea room here as well, on the campus of the gardens.

derreen gardens kenmare
Derreen Gardens

From Derreen, continue on the road as far as Teddy O’Sullivan’s pub at Bunaw Pier. If the weather is nice, definitely stop to enjoy the view of the harbour and enjoy a pint and fresh mussels.

Teddy O'SUllivans
Teddy O’Sullivans

When facing the pub, follow the road to the left, going along the edge of the bay before turning inland. Here, the road takes you through some old woodlands and past the Tuosist Parish Hall and Post Office before taking you back onto main Kenmare, namely Castletownbere Road.

Once back on the main road, a short cycle will bring you to the Cloonee Lake House overlooking Cloonee Lakes. Weather permitting, enjoying a drink at this pub will give you the most incredible views. You can also rent boats here, or go fishing if you’d like.

cloonee lake kenmare
Cloonee Lake

Once arriving back in Kenmare, there are coffee shops and restaurants for all tastes and accommodations listed for easy access on their website.

With regard to clothing, this is Kerry and it rains a lot! Make sure you have adequate rain gear for the trip, it’ll be a necessity.

Personally, I have a road bike and because of the climb up to Carriganine, you will need adequate gears. At the very least, carry a spare tube and tyre levers in case of a puncture while on the road. Additionally, make sure the brakes are in good working order, particularly for the descent into Lauragh and the steep bends there.

If you need to pick up something for the trip, Kenmare has a bicycle shop called Finnegan’s Cycles, and they have everything a cyclist could need with very friendly service. If you don’t have your own personal bicycle, you can even rent one from them!

For more information on the Derreen Gardens in Lauragh.

For more information on elevation, here is a link from mapmyride for elevation along several different checkpoints.

Map and Description of the route.


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