Cycle Limerick to Athlone Directions
0 to 10km
Take the north exit on the Parkway Roundabout and turn right immediately. Follow the cycle path to a t-junction, turn right, and then left at the t-junction with the main road, following the cycle path all the time.
At the roundabout (Groody Roundabout) you turn left to leave the main road, following the sign for the university. You then take the third left, by two large flagpoles, and enter the University of Limerick grounds.
When you reach a roundabout turn left. Go through the next roundabout and then cross a bridge over the river.
The road bends right, then left, and at the next bend there is a left turn down a very narrow road. It is to the right of a car park. Take this.
When you reach a t-junction, turn left, cross a stone bridge, then immediately go right [5km marker]. At the next t-junction, turn right and cross a bridge.
Keep straight and this road brings you straight into Clonlara Village, where you turn right at the crossroads on the main street.
Go down the hill and take the first left turn.
10 – 20km
Go along a straight and at the first right hand bend, turn left over the stone bridge. Keep on this and you will reach a t-junction with the R466. Turn right and cycle into O’Briensbridge.
On the other side of the village you cross [15km marker] the River Shannon on a pretty stone bridge.
Crossing the river here you cross back into Limerick and go through the village of Montpellier.
You need to take the first left which goes uphill at a green to stay on the R466. Leave the village and take the second right turn (it is shortly after the first right), just after you cross into Tipperary.
After you cross the railway tracks, turn left at the t-junction with the R445, and then immediately right by the church. Go up the hill and through a crossroads.
20 – 30km
Then you cross the bridge over the R494. After 2.0km the first right turn goes over the motorway. Go uphill to a t-junction and then turn left. There are great views along this road.
Ignore the first right turn and [25km marker] you reach a fork. Keep right (the higher road).
Go up the hill, down the other side and you reach a t-junction – turn right. Soon you reach another t-junction (go right at the fork a few metres before it). Turn right on the R499. Ignore the immediate right.
30 – 40km
After 2.0km, take the first left turn on the R500. Silvermines Mountain is on your right.
Stay on this road for 7.2km, as you cross disused railway tracks, the road narrows [35km marker] and then you pass under the motorway.
40 – 50km
You then enter Nenagh. Turn left when you reach a t-junction, cross the bridge.
You reach the town centre and the one-way system forces you down a left turn. Turn right at the next junction and then left at the first crossroads, right in the centre of town.
Go straight through a mini roundabout. Ignore two right turns in quick succession. The third right leads uphill in to a small estate. Take the fourth right turn down Bulfin Road. It’s the last turn before you reach a roundabout.
Ignore [45km marker] all turnoffs for 13.3km and keep straight.
50 – 60km
Keep straight [55km marker]. When you finally reach a t-junction turn right. You pass a church and graveyard and then take the first left (on a right-hand bend), following the sign for Birr.
60 – 70km
You pass a small church at The Pike. Go straight through the crossroads here and [65km marker] after another 10.1km you reach a t-junction with the N52.
70 – 80km
Turn right on the N52. This road takes you into Birr. Follow the signs for the town centre, going left at the t-junction you reach. Stay on the N52.
Continue until you reach Emmet Square, with a column in the middle of it. At the column take the second left turn that leads straight ahead and around the corner is the entrance to Birr Castle Demesne, with its observatory.
Continue past the Demesne on the R439 and you leave town [75km marker]. Keep going.
80 – 90km
After 8.4km you reach Taylor’s Cross, the first crossroads.
Turn right here on the R438, signed Athlone [85km marker] and then ride another 8.0km to Cloghan.
90 – 100km
At Cloghan, take the second exit at the roundabout in the centre of the village, where there is a stone wall on the left and a large house on the right, facing the roundabout. It is signed Belmont.
This road [95km marker] takes you over the Grand Canal and then into the village of Belmont. Ride straight through it.
100 – 110km
Keep straight for 7.7km and then turn right at the t-junction with the R444. Then keep straight [105km marker] all the way to Ballynahown, where you turn left at a t-junction with the N62.
The only way to Athlone from here is on the N62.
110 – 117km
It is quite narrow for 6.2km, when you reach a t-junction. Turn left here [115km marker] and continue into Athlone on the wider road. The first roundabout you reach is the Creggan Roundabout.
Go straight through, taking the second exit. The next roundabout soon after is the Dublin Road roundabout.