Ballyvourney to Glengarriff Cycle Directions
0 to 10km
Starting from The Mills Inn on the western side of Ballyvourney, ride west on the main road – the N22. It is 6.5km to the top of the pass. The N22 is a busy road, but it widens soon after leaving the town and there is an excellent shoulder after that [5km marker]. From the top there are superb views of the Paps to the north. Descend the other side.
10 – 20km
Take the first left turn which is clearly signposted for Kilgarvan and Kenmare [15km marker]. It is 14km on the R569 to Kilgarvan.
20 – 30km
Keep riding towards Kilgarvan [25km marker]. Take the first left after the Mace shop. The road twists and crosses a river before reaching a t-junction.
Go right and around the corner. Ignore the right turn here and follow the sign for Bantry. Keep on this road as it slowly climbs uphill.
30 – 40km
Keep riding [35km marker]. The trees will disappear and the views open up. It’s a beautiful climb.
40 – 50km
There is a long, gradual descent [45km marker] on the other side. At the bottom, ignore a left turn and keep going straight along a long flat stretch.
50 – 60km
Keep riding straight ahead. Eventually you will reach a t-junction. Turn right over a bridge. This road bends left but you take the right turn that leads straight ahead. Go straight and [55km marker] take the first right turn after 100m.
This is signposted as The Priest’s Leap. It is 6km to the top. Parts are intimidating in their steepness but the second half of the climb is more enjoyable. There are incredible views behind you to Bantry Bay.
The road is very narrow but there is rarely traffic on it so it’s not a problem.
60 – 70km
At the top there is a cross on the left side of the road from where the leap is said to have been made. The descent of the Priest’s Leap is steep.
You can see all the way to the MacGillycuddy Reeks in the north. It is one of the nicest parts of Ireland [65km marker].
Ignore the first left turn on a sharp right bend (this is almost a t-junction) and take the next left down a very narrow road after a couple of corners. After 2.1km you will reach another t-junction.
Keep right and soon you will reach the N71 between Kenmare and Glengariff. Take a left here. The road is narrow but will soon widen on the gradual climb up to Caha pass.
70 – 80km
Keep going uphill [75km marker]. You pass through a short tunnel at the top and enter County Cork again. Stop at the first right turn after the top. From here you can see the road to Barley Lake.
Before you descend, you have the option to ride a couple of kilometres along the main road before returning, for some extraordinary views over Glengariff.
Take the right turn down a very steep hill. At one point the road bends right, while a track goes straight. Keep right on the good surface. At the bottom you reach a t-junction. Take a left, signposted Barley Lake.
Take the next right, also signposted. Soon the climb will begin with a brutal stretch of 32%. Keep going – it gets easier.
80 – 88km
At the top there is a tiny car park. It’s a couple of minutes walk to great views of Barley Lake.
Descend the way you came, all the way back to the small bridge where you come to a t-junction. Go right this time, not the way you came. Ignore the right turn soon after.
Go straight [85km marker] and after many turns you will reach the N71. Go right and it is 1.5km to Glengarriff.