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Nenagh, Tipperary, Ireland

North Tipperary Cycle Routes: Loop 3 - Nenagh to Cloughjordan & Borrisokane

Cycle to Ireland's first eco-village in Cloughjordan on a 67km loop bringing you into the heart of rural Ireland

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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 42 miles / 67 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 3, 67km, is a relatively flat cycle visiting Cloughjordan, home of Ireland's first ecovillage, returning to Nenagh via Borrisokane along quiet inland roads. An alternative shorter journey Loop 3a, may be taken along this loop.


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 an anti-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 3, cycle down Kickham Street towards the centre of town following the Route 3 signs. Turn left up Pearse St and after 600m turn right onto Bulfin Road. Leaving Nenagh behind, continue out this quiet country road.


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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Clashaniskera

This junction in the townland of Clashaniskera is about 10km from Nenagh. Turn right here. After about 2km you will come to a T-junction where you turn left. 1km later you will reach the junction with the regional road the R490. Turn right here for Cloughjordan.
Food/Dining
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Cloughjordan

Historic Cloughjordan is a pretty village, situated in the rural countryside of Tipperary. In recent times it has become famous for hosting Ireland's first eco-village but with accommodation, fine pubs, cafes and restaurants as well as a vibrant art and crafts community, there are plenty of reasons to stop and stay a while!

Although inhabited in prehistoric times, records indicate that a formal settlement began by the Norman invaders in the 13th and 14th centuries. The story goes that one of these Norman families, the De Mariscos, had taken part in the Crusades for the Holy Land and had brought back a stone from the River Jordan. This stone was built in to the doorway of his castle and that's how the village got its name - "The Stone of Jordan". This castle was later incorporated into Cloughjordan House in the 17th century. Cloughjordan House now offers B&B accommodation and can also be viewed by appointment, It is also one of the region's leading cookery schools, for more info see www.sarahbaker.ie.

The arrival of the railway in 1864 established Cloughjordan as a major market venue. Although this waned over time, a lively street market is still held every second Saturday.

Cloughjordan is also famous as the birthplace of Thomas McDonagh, poet, playwright, and one of the leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916. As a signatory of the Proclamation of the Provisional Government during that rebellion, he was executed by firing squad in 1916.

In more recent times Ireland's first eco-village has put Cloughjordan on the map. This is an ambitious project set over 67 acres to create a sustainable development for eco living. Tours are available every Saturday, for more information see www.thevillage.ie. It is also possible to stay in the Ecohostel in the heart of the eco-village, see www.djangoshostel.com.
Animals/Wildlife
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Knocknacree Woods

About 1.5km from Cloughjordan you will reach a cross roads, turn left here. Approximately 500m later you will pass the entrance to Knocknacree Woods on your right.

Knockanacree is a very attractive, mostly deciduous woodland of circa. 110 acres. It has a very special place in the hearts of local people and initially formed part of the estate of Knockanacree House, some of the original footpaths from this time can still be seen in the woods. The current woodland is approximately 55 years old, being replanted on the site of an older estate plantation. A network of pathways have been developed by the local community in the woods providing fine nature walks which are well worth a stop.
Junction
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Modreeny

The junction here in the townland of Modreeny marks where a shorter alternative route (Loop 3a) to Borrisokane can be taken. This shortcut will shorten this cycle loop from 67km to 46km. To go directly to Borrisokane, turn left and after a short distance the road merges onto the R490. Veer right for Borrisokane which is about 7km away along this quiet country road.

To continue on the main loop turn right. After 6.5km you reach the junction at The Pike.
Junction
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The Pike

Turn left at the crossroads in the direction of Ballingarry. St. Patricks Church on your right dates from 1833 and retains most of its original form and character from that period.
Junction
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Ballingarry

Caution is advised at this junction as you briefly join the busy N52 road before taking a left towards the village of Aglish. The Glue Pot is a very popular family-run pub in Ballingarry and if you take a small diversion, there is also a pleasant amenity area a short distance along the N52 on the right hand side.
Junction
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Kylebeg

This junction in the townland of Kylebeg marks where the loops turns left for Borrisokane. Follow this peaceful local road for 5km until it reaches the junction with the N65.
Junction
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N65 Junction, Borrisokane

Turn left here for Borrisokane. Exercise caution on this part of the route which uses the main N65 Nenagh-Portumna road for a short period.
Food/Dining
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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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Carneybeg Cross

About 3.5km from the cross at Carney 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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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.
Food/Dining
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Ballycommon - Ballyartella

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. 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.

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.

Turn left in Ballycommon following the R495 for about 1km. Take a left and follow the signs in the direction of Nenagh. You need to cross a staggered junction on the busy N52, and caution is advised here. After that, follow the Dromlin Road to return to the trailhead in Banba Square.
Pictures in this guide taken by: ShannonRegionTrails, (c) Sarah777, licensed for reuse, (c) Dylan Moore, licensed for reuse, (c) John M, licensed for reuse, (c) Mike Searle, licensed for reuse

North Tipperary Cycle Routes: Loop 3 - Nenagh to Cloughjordan & Borrisokane Map


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