A sign for the Military Road, with Kippure in the background

Thomastown – Mount Leinster – Dublin Cycle

Distance: 195km
Climbing: 3133m

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This is the toughest ride we could find – the big one, starting at the train station in Thomastown, County Carlow.

You ride north to Dublin over most of the toughest climbs in the area, including Mount Leinster – the highest climb in Ireland.

There are options to shorten the second half of the route and skip some climbing if you are not feeling good enough on the day, but don’t doubt the severity of this route.

Most of it is extremely scenic.

You can split the ride in two by staying in Glenmalure or Laragh.


Jerpoint Abbey is close to the start point.

Nine Stones is a terrific viewpoint on the shoulder of Mount Leinster.

Mount Leinster is the toughest and highest climb in the country.

Adelaide Memorial Church in Myshall is a small scale replica of Salisbury Cathedral.

Altamont House and Gardens are superbly laid out.

Slieve Maam Is the first climb after reaching the Military Road.

Glenmalure – The Shay Elliott Climb is legendary among local racers. There is a small memorial to Shay Elliott at the top of the climb.

Glendalough is one of the most popular sites in Leinster.

Wicklow Gap links the east and west sides of the county. Turlough Hill is a reservoir reached by a short climb from the top of Wicklow Gap.

Sorrell Hill is one of the quietest climbs in the area.

Sally Gap is a famous crossroads in the Wicklow Mountains.

Kippure is a short, hard climb to the TV Mast overlooking Dublin City.

Thomastown – Mount Leinster – Dublin Cycle Useful Info

You start with a warmup climb before tackling Mount Leinster. The toughest part is the optional route to the summit from the pass. You then pass through rolling countryside before reaching the Military Road – built by the British government in the early 1800s to root out insurgents hiding in the Mountains.

From then on it is a series of tough climbs. You need to be fit and experienced to tackle this, whether you do it over one or two days.

Thomastown is on the Dublin to Waterford rail line, with several trains per day. Irish Rail has times and prices.

Useful Links

Irish Rail



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