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Slieve Blooms Long Cycle Loop Directions

Section 1

0 to 10km

On leaving the train station turn right and ride alongside the high stone wall to a t-junction where you turn left. At the roundabout turn right by taking the third exit.

Go down this street, pass under the railway tracks and go straight through a roundabout. Soon this road bends left, and you take the right turn on this corner. Ignore all turnoffs and [5km marker] turn left at the t-junction you reach.

Follow this road and you reach a t-junction with the R423 where you turn left again., signed Mountrath. Ignore the signs for the Slieve Blooms in the other direction. This route approaches them from the south.

Section 2

10 – 20km

Cycle on and take the second right turn, after 2.3km. It is on a left hand bend and is signed Mountrath. Keep on this road for 4.3km and you [15km marker] reach a t-junction with the R440. Turn right, signed Kinnitty.

The next right turn is signed The Slieve Blooms, but keep straight on. You soon pass Lacka Church on your right.

Section 3

20 – 30km

Keep straight on and past a picnic spot.

Take the fourth right after the church, signed The Slieve Bloom Mountains. It’s a two-lane road. You go up and down [25km marker] before reaching two hairpins where the short, steep climb begins properly.

This is the hardest of the day’s three climbs. At the top, the highest mountain in the range is on your left, Arderin.

Go over the top and down the other side. Be careful of the surface, which is poor in parts.

Section 4

30 – 40km

Keep descending When you reach a t-junction go right and up [35km marker] a small rise. Go down the other side and right when you reach another t-junction.

Section 5

40 – 50km

You ride into Kinnitty. When you get there, turn right on the R440.

Go east and at the edge of the village the road forks. Otherwise stay right on the R440. It is a gentle climb [45km marker] with a good surface.

Near the top you turn right when you reach a t-junction and keep climbing. The views from the top are superb.

Section 6

50 – 60km

Descend the south side of the R440 [55km marker]. Take the first left turn at the bottom of the descent, signed Clonaslee.

After a while you begin the climb to The Cut. It has a superb, even gradient all the way up and is an enjoyable climb.

Section 7

60 – 70km

Keep climbing. There is a car park just after the top where you can stop to enjoy the view.

Stay on the road and descend [65km marker] the other side.

Section 8

70 – 80km

Turn right on the R422 at the t-junction at the bottom of the hill. Then leave the village on this road. Take the third right turn down a narrow road. It’s a few metres after the main road bends left, then right.

Stay on this road [75km marker] until you reach a t-junction, where you turn right. Go down a hill.

Section 9

80 – 90km

Turn left at another t-junction and then take the first right.

Follow this road to another t-junction, turn right over a bridge and then immediately left. After a while this road bends right, then left 50 metres later. Ignore turnoffs on both corners.

Keep going [85km marker]. You turn left at a t-junction with the wider R423, then take the first right.

Take the second right turn, on a left-hand bend.

Section 10

90 – 96km

Ignore a right turn at a fork and then take the first left soon after. Turn left at the crossroads you reach and ride into Portlaoise on this wider road. When you reach a roundabout, turn right (third exit).

Turn left (first exit) at the next roundabout and this road takes you to a t-junction with the N80, where you turn right.

When you pass under the railway, turn left immediately and you reach the train station.