Ireland has some wonderful countryside to explore, whether it is the towering mountains of Macgillicuddy’s Reeks, the Cliffs of Moher or the many beautiful loughs. However, for an all-in experience to enjoy while staying in a luxury hotel, there is nothing to beat the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trail in County Limerick. Quite simply, this is a trail to take the breath away for all sorts of reasons.
The sheer size of it for starters: it is a network of 98 km of trails. Then there is the variety. Fancy hurtling along a forest track between the trees? There’s plenty of that. Open moorland spaces, boardwalks over marshes and exposed rocky areas are all there to be discovered and enjoyed.
Of course, not everyone climbing on a bike has the same skill or experience levels. The trails come with varying degrees of difficulty, so beginners can enjoy a gentle introduction and perhaps take in a shorter ride, such as the 6 km Greenwood Loop. Alternatively, hard-core riders can go for something very demanding, like the 50 km Castlepook Loop. The trickier sections of the more difficult circuits really are something for the adrenaline junkie. Imagine guiding a bike down a steep downhill along a narrow boardwalk that winds between trees. Or better still, don’t imagine – go out there and do it. With so much ground covered, it is good to know that the trails are served by a wide array of public facilities.
The Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Park has a secure car park, map boards, toilets, showers (these will be much in need on warm days!), bike wash facilities and catering facilities. The site is monitored by CCTV. Mountain biking is not the only activity available at Ballyhoura. You can go horse riding, while the area also offers great walking. There are several circular walks through the hills and valleys, with the Galty walk being the most adventurous as it includes a climb of Galtymore, one of just a handful of Irish mountains over 3,000 ft in height. In short, Ballyhoura is a wonderful place for an outdoor adventure.