Donnacha and Dave from Kerry Cycling have put together a list of the not to be missed beauty spots on the Ride Dingle route. Not only is Ride Dingle one of the most exciting and challenging sportives in the country, it is also very much a route immersed in history and no end of things to view.
With many natural features en-route such as Mount Brandon and The Blasket Islands to the man-made beehive huts and quaint towns and villages such as Dingle, Ballyferriter and Annascaul, Ride Dingle has something exciting to view and experience for everyone.
Here we give you the cyclist a juicy dozen of the many points and features of interest along the Ride Dingle route.
1. Dingle Town (Start/Finish): The jewel in the Dingle Peninsula crown. With its brightly coloured buildings, quaint harbour, winding streets, classy restaurants and charming traditional pubs. Here lies the starting point for Ride Dingle. Situated in a Gaelic area of Kerry, Dingle has a population of 2050 and is the main fishing port in Kerry. Founded in 16th century the town had strong trading links with Spain and France. The town is very much one of Kerry’s main tourism hubs and attracts thousands of tourists each year.
2. Ventry (8 km): A village of two halves. Ventry was once the main port on the Dingle Peninsula. At Ventry Cross keep an eye open for Paidi O’Shea’s bar and a statue of the 8 times All Ireland medal winning local.
3. Beehive huts (14 km): Dating back to 1000 BC these local dwelling oddities can be viewed on the hillside overlooking the ocean at Fahan.
4. Fahan (15 km): Just beyond the Beehive huts the road juts slightly in-land to cross a ford. Known locally and humorously as “The Upside-Down-Bridge” by taking your time and taking care this section can be crossed without too much trouble.
5. Blaskets (17 km): From the Norse word meaning “dangerous place”, the Islands are the focal point of viewing out to the west. The final inhabitants left in 1953. From here the next parish is St John’s Newfoundland, Canada. In the summer the Great Blasket can be visited via a local ferry service.
6. Coomeenoule (19 km): A spectacular but compact beach served by a twisting roadway from the main R559. This beach was used as a location for the local epic drama movie, “Ryan’s Daughter” filmed in 1970. The adjoining Dunmore Head (Ireland’s most westerly point) received notoriety in 2017 as a location set for one of the Star Wars films “The Last Jedi”.
7. Blasket Centre (22 km): Craftily designed to blend into the local landscape, the Blasket Centre is a tribute to the islands and its former inhabitants. Featured inside is an historic, literature and visual history of the islands.
8. Gallarus Castle and Oratory (35 km): The 16th century tower house castle can be just viewed from the road. Close by lies the better known Gallarus Oratory. Dating from possibly the 12th century the building is believed to have been used for various activities, including a shelter and chapel.
9. Mount Brandon (47 km): Dominating the skyline within this area, Ireland’s 8th highest peak stands at 953 metres and is/has been a magnet for pilgrims and thrill seekers alike.
10. Conor Pass (64 km): Arguably the focal point of most cyclists participating in Ride Dingle. The road rises 456 metres and 7 km from Dingle town. The descent is 5 km but far more technical than the ascent. It’s always worth a few minutes at the summit with views looking out to Brandon, north Kerry, Clare and Galway.
11. Gleann na Gealt (93 km): On leaving Camp village the road climbs steadily within a glen. Translated you are cycling within “Glen of the Mad”, but the vista more than makes up for the name.
12. Annascaul (102 km): The small west Kerry village that packs a punch. Named after the local lake and river the village comes to prominence as it’s building line the N86 after a fast descent. Keep an eye open for the South Pole Inn, the former dwelling and business of one Tom Crean. The courageous explorer accompanied Scott and Shackleton on early 20th century expeditions to the South Pole.
You’re going to love it!
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