The Priest's Leap

Ballyvourney to Glengarriff Cycle

Distance: 88km
Climbing: 1400m

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An extraordinary ride over 4 mountain passes straddling the Cork-Kerry border, with an optional fifth climb to a remote lake at the end if you have the legs. This is a beautiful part of the country. You finish in the picturesque coastal town of Glengariff.

You will ride some of the best roads in the region on this route. You can combine it with the Mallow to Ballyvourney ride to make a two-day trip.

There may be 5 climbs but this route is very flexible – you can skip the last 3 or just the last one and go straight into Glengarriff. Perfect for you if you want to be flexible.


The distinctive Paps mountains lie close to the N22 as it crosses the Cork-Kerry border.

Borlin Pass is a lovely, quiet pass heading south from Kilgarvan.

The Priest’s Leap is a quiet, spectacular ride over the Caha mountains. The name derives from the legend of a priest being pursued by soldiers over the mountain. From the top, he had his horse perform an almighty leap and landed in the town of Bantry, some 13 km away. There is a plaque in the town on the spot where he is reputed to have landed.

Bonane Heritage Park is a short distance off the route and has numerous historical attractions spread around a large site.

The Caha pass is the main road from Kenmare to Glengariff over the mountains.

Barley Lake is a small, picturesque lake reached by a steep (32% in one section) cul-de-sac. From the top it is only a walk of a couple of minutes to see the lake.

Garinish Island has a host of exotic plant life.

Bamboo Park – Thirty different species of Bamboo and other tropical plants are in this park.

Ballyvourney to Glengarriff Cycle Useful Info

You start off on the N22 from Ballyvourney but after a kilometre or so it widens into a three-lane road as it goes uphill so there is plenty of room for traffic. The second and third climbs are on quiet roads. Caha Pass is on a main road but the lanes are very wide for the vast majority of it. The last climb of Barley Lake is a dead end – it’s very narrow and rarely has cars on it.

Ballyvourney can be reached on the Rosslare – Waterford – Cork – Killarney – Tralee bus service from Bus Eireann.

Useful Links

Bus Eireann

Mallow to Ballyvourney



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