On the 6th of June we wore our October cycling gear and kept referring back to how lovely April was. The Dog Daisies couldn’t care less. This is what cycling in Ireland is all about!
One of our group’s stalwarts brings us on an annual spin over the Caha & Healy Pass every June to celebrate his birthday. This was our third year doing this short route from Kenmare and it never disappoints. The long stone tunnel at the top of the Caha Pass is always a thrill to cycle through. It was hand hewn through rock just after the Great Famine of 1847 and an air vent mid-way always gives an eerie shot of light with a sprinkle of rain water as you aim for the end of the tunnel and cruise through into Cork. It’s a grande entrance for four and a half Kerry men to the Rebel County.
The Healy Pass was next and the best side to climb it is the Cork side. It winds and weaves its way up the mountain. Towering over you in the sky is the top, which is easily identifiable by a white painted bridge arch and grotto. No fear of any golden arches finding their way to this remote spot thankfully. The Healy Pass road is another construction of the Great Famine and is to me, one of the most enjoyable climbs in Ireland. You double back, climb, turn & twist at a steady 5% for just under 6km. You hardly see more than 100m in front of you before another switchback or turn arrives. The lad you are within touching distance of catching disappears right in front of you, and then reappears way up over your left shoulder!
On this spin we sought out Pedals & Boots in Lauragh. This gem of a Café, as the name suggests, welcomes weary cyclists and offers smooth and strong Badger & Dodo coffee with great home baked food. Our group got stuck into scones & hot loaves of brown bread just out of the oven! It’s a popular spot as a variety of cyclists pulled up. From hardened Audaxers parking their steel bikes to us carbon weekend warriors, all were fed well and mounted their steeds ready for Lauragh’s steady climb and the speedy descent back to Kenmare.
The loop is 85km long with 1200m+ of climbing so it’s well worth a trip !