During a couple weeks trip in Ireland I headed off to find some mountain biking trails. Most of the woodland in Ireland is owned by a state sponsored forestry company called Coillte and information for their outdoor projects can be found coillteoutdoors.ie. One of the main areas I read about was Ballyhoura, just a two hour drive from the Dingle peninsula where we are staying with friends.
When I showed up at the parking lot I was one of five cars, it costs 5 Euro to park which usually I would avoid but it does help contribute to the trail maintenance so I went ahead and paid to park my old pink car with even older mountain bike strapped on the back. The site has bike rentals but why rent when you can ride a classic bike! I headed off up a trail that I had marked on my GPS, I was hoping to ride 50km but the longest trails are closed for wind turbine construction 🙁
The trails here have some features built in, like berms, rock gardens and short north shore wooden sections. Most of the trickier riding is protected with large CAUTION signs but many of the features would be the same level as Bridle Path on Mount Seymour. It seems like there may be other trails to discover but time is not on my side. The main trails are fun, if you like smooth trails with potential for speed and optional “technical” sections, rock gardens on the fully rigid bike are not too much fun but some of the small drops I found felt good. The scenery is typical of the UK/Ireland although you are removed from the roads and traffic which is nice.
A thin covering of gravel covers most of the trails although there are some muddier sections, luckily the rain held off until the end of the ride before the hail started. I had considered trying another loop but with cold hands and a front tire flat I called it a day and headed into the now full car park, some nice expensive bikes on show, I am starting to get used to people staring at the bike trying to figure out why anyone would ride it 😉