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Nenagh, Tipperary, Ireland

North Tipperary Cycle Routes: Loop 1 - Nenagh to Terryglass

Cycle the Tipperary shores of Lough Derg through charming lakeshore villages and peaceful rural countryside

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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 40 miles / 65 km
Duration: Half day
 
Overview: The North Tipperary Cycle Network, with the town of Nenagh at its hub, offers three loops varying in distance from 11km to 67km with numerous shorter alternative loops. Each cycle offers pleasant views of the local countryside while Loops 1 and 2 provide stunning lakeshore panoramas. Numerous picnic stops are dotted along the route as well as a number of award-winning pubs and restaurants.

Loop 1, total 65km, takes the cyclist along the eastern shores of Lough Derg through the lakeside villages of Dromineer and Terryglass. The return journey comes back via the town of Borrisokane and is mostly along flat roads surrounded by open countryside. There are shorter routes available 1a (11km), 1b (28km) and 1c (46km) all of which are signposted, which may be taken along the route.


Tips: All routes begin in Banba Square, Nenagh, just opposite the Courthouse. Nenagh is very accessible, located just off the main M7 motorway from Dublin to Limerick. A cycle lane has been created to enable the cyclist safely exit the town from Banba Square.

The routes are signposted in both directions and cyclists can choose to travel clockwise or anti-clockwise. This guide describes the route in a clockwise direction.

Bike Hire is available from a number of operators around Lough Derg:
Moynan's Bike Shop, Nenagh, Tel. +353-67-31293;
Planet Tri, Killaloe, Tel. +353-61-622062;
Murray's Cycle Hire, Portumna, Tel. +353-90-9759596;

Note that the route utilises a mix of national, regional and local roads. The regional and national roads can be busy, particularly in the summer months. Cyclists are advised to exercise caution on these stretches.

Points of Interest

Information
map

Banba Square, Nenagh

The Trailhead for all three North Tipperary Cycle Routes is located in Banba Square, Nenagh. Some information on Nenagh and on things to see and do is provided below. To begin Loop 1, cycle out O'Rahilly Street with the courthouse on your left. Continue on the cycle lane out the Dromlin Road until you reach the main N52 road. Caution is advised crossing this busy road and after about 700m turn left at the Y-junction (if cycling the loop in a clockwise direction). After that, you will then shortly come to a T-junction at the R495 where you turn right for Ballycommon.

Nenagh, the administrative capital of North Tipperary, is the eastern gateway to Lough Derg. The town (pop. approximately 8,000) is very accessible, being just off the main M7 motorway linking Dublin and Limerick. It offers a wide choice of accommodation, eating places and other services for the visitor. With its central location within easy reach of many pleasant villages on the shores of Lough Derg and the lake itself, Nenagh is an ideal base for touring and exploring the region.

Noted for its friendly welcome, the town has a trading history stretching back over 1,000 years. Its name is derived from the Irish word, ‘Aonach’, meaning a market or gathering place. As visitors gather today in the pleasant town, there’s much to see and do there and all around.

The impressive sight of Nenagh Castle and its circular tower, currently under restoration, stands 30m (100ft) in height. This calls to mind the great castle built by the Norman Butler family in the 13th century, which was the scene of much turbulent activity down through the centuries. The castle stands in a pleasant green, surrounded by trees.
The old gaol, nearby, with its beautiful octagonal Governor’s Residence, is now an interesting visitor attraction. The Nenagh Heritage Centre is housed in the former governor’s house here, and offers fine insights into the town’s rich historical past, including its status as a major Anglo-Norman stronghold.

Nenagh has a well-earned reputation as one of Ireland’s food capitals, offering a top quality dining experience with a particular emphasis on locally-produced and organically grown food.

Nenagh Tourist Office (Tel. +353 67 31610) opens during the summer season and offers the visitor details on booking accommodation, places to eat, routes to take, maps, guides and books, places to visit, things to do and information on national and local events.
Junction
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Ballycommon - Ballyartella

At the crossroads beside the Thatched Cottage pub in Ballycommon, turn right for Ballyartella. This pub & restaurant has lovely outdoor seating and is renowned for serving fine food and drink. So if you feel like refreshments already, feel free to drop in!

The Y-junction here marks the junction for Loop 1a, which is an easy-going 11km loop. Turn left to continue on the main route or turn right to return to Nenagh.

The mill race and the ruins of Ballyartella Mill are designated national monuments. Ballyartella Bridge is a fine example of a surviving medieval 5-arch stone bridge, the present structure dating from around 1720. The area at Ballyartella Bridge provides a picnic area overlooking the weir and there is a visitor centre and shop at the nearby Hanly Woolen Mills.
Building
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Dromineer

Dromineer is one of the oldest villages located on the Lough. Once known as the 'Port of Ormond', Dromineer offers a range of visitor facilities and services including accommodation, a pub-restaurant and places to eat.

Dromineer’s beach facilities can cater for swimmers, while windsurfers, sailors and those who like to cruise can avail of the modern and safe harbour facilities. The attractive harbour area is overlooked by the ruins of an 11th Century tower house with Cantwell and O'Kennedy connections. Dromineer is also home to the Lough Derg Yacht Club which is the third oldest sailing club in the world, founded in 1837. Each August it holds its annual regatta. For those who want to try sailing for the first time, or just improve their skills, Shannon Sailing School, is located in Dromineer. Full details of the tuition packages and facilities can be found at www.shannonsailing.com.

The village also serves as the trailhead for two stunning linear walks. The 65km Lough Derg Way traverses along the shores of Lough Derg and the River Shannon all the way to Limerick City, revealing all of the magnificent scenery that the area has to offer. Another option for walkers is the 10.5km “Sli Eala”, or "The Way of the Swan", which takes an inland route through rolling countryside along the banks of the Nenagh River. Information on both these walks is available at Lough Derg House where guiding services are also offered.
The eminent Dromineer Literary Festival, held in late September, invites participants of all ages and backgrounds for writing competitions, workshops, readings and literary-related events in a weekend of activity in this tranquil lakeside setting.

From Dromineer, the route turns south and after about 2.5km turn left. After another 1.5km turn left again at the T-junction. You will then shortly come to Y-junction where you veer right for Puckane.
Building
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Puckane

Puckane, or Puckaun, is a pleasant village just a short distance from Lough Derg that is home to a number of thatched traditional style cottages which are available for hire. Services in the village include pubs and shops. A vibrant Craft Shop & Tea Rooms a little north of the village is also worth checking out. Wood Art products made in its own workshops are the centre piece attraction at the Puckane Crafts showroom which also displays pottery, glassware, clothing and other items made by local and national craftspeople.
Watch out for the stone entrance here, which is a reminder of the big house era. This served as the main entrance to the former Johnstown House, built in the 1770s and long demolished.
Another point of interest in the village is the church, built in 1859, which has a Harry Clarke studio stained glass window.
Junction
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Knocknacartan Cross

About 2km from Puckane is the junction for Loop 1b (28km). Turn right here to return to the trailhead or continue straight on the R493 to follow the main Loop. After about 2km the main loop turns left towards the lakeshore.
Viewpoint
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Skehana

A pleasant amenity area along this stretch offers fine views of the lake and is a nice place to stop for a break. To the south you can see Illaunmore, (meaning "The Big Island"!) which is the largest island on Lough Derg and one of the largest inland islands in Ireland. In the early 20th century it was inhabited by 14 families and there was even a school on the island.

The cycle route now continues towards Coolbawn. There are some hills on this section, but if you need to pause to catch your breath you will be rewarded with great views of Lough Derg behind you!
Junction
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Coolbawn

To follow the main loop to Terryglass, turn left here, rejoining the R493. Alternatively you can join Loop 1c which will take you back to Nenagh for a total cycle of 46km. To do this turn right and then take an immediate left in the direction of Kilbarron.

The tiny village of Coolbawn is tucked away on the eastern shores of Lough Derg in an idyllic and tranquil setting. A popular touring location for visitors in North Tipperary, the village is also the setting for an extensive, privately run holiday village resort. The Coolbawn Quay resort includes a well-equipped marina and fine accommodation, extensive spa and restaurant facilities.
Building
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Ballinderry

This is a quiet and attractive village located in the north eastern part of the lake. There is an impressive, large all-metal mill wheel and derelict mill adjacent to the village. The water wheel once powered an important distillery.
The village projects an image of peace and tranquility – and makes a great stopping point. Relax and take in the beauty on the inviting seating and picnic tables provided throughout the village. Take time also to spot the many features of wildlife on the river bank. Two charming pubs, Elsie Hogans and The Tavern, offer great atmosphere, music and food.
The centre of Ballinderry is only 3.2km (2ml) from pretty Kilgarvan Quay, a popular visitor destination for cruisers. Kilgarvan boasts an excellent restaurant named Brocka on the Water and a renowned antiques shop, Kilgarvan Antiques which offers a large selection of crafts, gifts and antique furniture.

The Cycle Route continues along the R493 and you are now approximately 4.5km from Terryglass.
Food/Dining
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Terryglass

Twice voted as Ireland’s tidiest village, Terryglass has all the attractive features and facilities which make the village a splendid holiday base.
Two outstanding pub/restaurants, the Derg Inn and Paddy’s Bar, a church, school and community hall, a delightful Craft Shop located in the old Protestant Church and fine accommodation options are among the amenities.
Just a short stroll away is a major marina on Lough Derg extended in recent years at the Quay, which is highly popular with those hiring cruisers, sailors, barge owners, water skiers and anglers. Good shore fishing can be had from the pier while, for the boat angler, there are especially good shoals of specimen rudd as well as bream, tench and pike in the bay.
Pleasure boat trips can also be taken from the harbour on the lake in the summer season, which also has picnic, BBQ and children's play facilities. This area is one of special beauty which overlooks the lake between Terryglass and Portumna on the Galway side.
The pretty village has a long and distinguished history, with a monastery being founded there by St Columba in 549 A.D. The famous Book of Leinster was produced at the monastery about 1150 and can now be seen in Trinity College, Dublin. The abbey was destroyed by the Vikings in 1164, but keep an eye out for a remaining wall from this abbey, which can be seen at the back of Paddy’s Pub in the village.
Another feature to watch out is the Catholic Church opened in 1886, which was designed by Daniel O'Connell, a grandson of the famous Irish 19th century leader, “The Liberator” of the same name. The graveyard next to the church was donated on condition that the gravestones would be uniform in size so that rich or poor, would all be equal!
Each year, in late August, the village welcomes visitors from all over to the popular Terryglass Arts Festival.

The Loop now turns back towards Nenagh, so you will need to turn right in the centre of the village, following signs for Borrisokane. This leg is a relatively easy 10km cycle through lovely countryside on flat roads.
Food/Dining
map

Borrisokane

Located in the ancient barony of Lower Ormond, Borrisokane in North Tipperary is steeped in history – its name is derived from both Gaelic and Norman origins. The name “Borris” comes from the Norman French “Burgage” or “Borough” meaning a centre of population, and "okane" is likely to derive from the anglicisation of the name O'Carroll, also known as the Clan Cianacht. The town today has a population of approximately 1,100 and offers a pleasant visitor base within easy reach of Lough Derg and the many attractions of the area.

The town was founded in Cromwellian times, in about 1661. In the preceding centuries, the lands of Lower Ormond had been subject to numerous conflicts between the invading Normans and the native Irish clans of the O’Kennedys, O’Briens and O’Carrolls. Ruins and remnants of medieval castles and settlements can be found in the hinterland of Borrisokane, each with their own story to tell. For more information see www.borrisokane.com. There also are many sites of architectural heritage interest in the town itself, including the Church of Ireland on Main St. (1812), former miller's house on Mill St. (c.1815), and Borrisokane Court House (c.1850) -which was the former Workhouse.

There is a pleasant picnic area by the bridge at the top of Main Street which makes a nice place to stop. The town also provides a full range of services - shops, accommodation, pubs and places to eat - making it an ideal base to explore the surrounding countryside. The tourist information office located at the Old Church, Mill Street, Borrisokane can provide you with information on where to stay and things to do in the area, tel +353-67-22175.

To continue the cycle loop, head down Main St and turn right at Crawfords Grocery Shop. This is the Finnoe Road. You are approximately 21km from Nenagh
Junction
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Cross at Carney

If coming from Kilbarron on Loop 1c, turn right here to head back to Nenagh. The main loop coming from Borrisokane also passes this junction.
Junction
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Carneybeg Cross

About 8km from Borrisokane you will come to another junction just after Ryans Pub. Follow the signs as the road veers to the right.

Johnny Ryans is one of the oldest pubs in the area and with outdoor seating is a great place to stop on this leg.
Junction
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Prospect Cross

If taking Loop 1b, after about 1.5km from the cross as Knocknacartan, you will reach a T-junction with an arched gateway. Turn right here to return back to Nenagh.

If you are on the main loop coming from Carney, turn left at this T-junction.
Junction
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Knigh Cross

A 13th Century Norman castle overlooks Knigh Cross which is where the route crosses the regional road R493. Cyclists are advised to exercise extreme caution crossing this junction.
Junction
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Ballyhogan Cross

If coming from Ballyartella, turn right at this junction to follow Loop 1a bck to Nenagh. The longer loops approach this junction from the opposite direction.
Junction
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Kilbarron

Kilbarron is a peaceful village along this stretch of Loop 1c. There is a pub and shop in the village if you wish to stop for a break. The pretty country church in the centre of the village dates from about 1810.

About 3.5km from Kilbarron you will reach at T-junction in the townland of Carney.
Pictures in this guide taken by: ShannonRegionTrails, (c) John M, licensed for reuse, (c) Mike Searle, licensed for reuse

North Tipperary Cycle Routes: Loop 1 - Nenagh to Terryglass Map


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