The Dingle Peninsula in Kerry is an ideal location for a short scenic bicycle tour. This 167km route loops around the Peninsula in a figure of eight taking in many of the most spectacular views and landscape Ireland has to offer.
Around eachbend there is another spectacular vista however the highlight of the route is the section around Slea Head, which although busy in the summer, is a strong contender for the most scenic road in the country.
The route as shown below doesn’t take the most direct route, it avoids the busy roads where possible and includes two off-road sections, the stretch of beach riding near Castlegregory (not possible at high tide) and a circuit through Glanteenasig Forest Park. Both of which are easily omitted.
I recommend starting the route in Tralee as the Connor Pass is best done in that direction however the loop west of Dingle Town is most dramatic if done in a clockwise direction.
Over the 167km there is 2500m of height gain most of which is concentrated into two notable ascents, Conor Pass and Bóthar na gCloch.
Climbing up Connor Pass.
The Conor Pass is a spectacular road through the Slieve Mish mountains that connects the north and south sides of the Peninsula. It’s a tough climb but the views more than make up for it. It’s much better if tackled from north to south as this means you are climbing the narrower, winding roads and descending the straighter, faster roads. Plus the views are much better on the north side and you will be better able to appreciate them at a slower climbing pace.
Descending Bóthar na gCloch.
The other climb is really two climbs, after the climb northwards out of Annascaul you lose some height before climbing up again over Bothár na gCloch. The last section of the latter is really steep so be warned.
The vast majority of the route is on road with the exception of the stretch along the beach and the forest roads in Glanteenasig, these would be rideable on everything but an out and out road bike. Any bike with more than 30mm tyres should be fine.
Those looking for rougher terrain should check out the route taken by the Dingle Way.
You could extend the route slightly by keeping close to the coast after Ballferriter passing through the villages of Murreagh and Feohanagh. It would also be possible to take a more direct route on busier roads at a few points which could reduce the distance a fair bit.
Beautiful quiet backroad near Ballyferriter.
Most people will probably opt to do it in three days staying overnight in Cloghane and Annascaul. If you do it in two days then Dingle Town is probably the best place to stay. The whole area is geared towards tourists so there are plenty of accommodation options including hotels, B+Bs and hostels.
There is also lots of potential for really nice wild camping spots, suggestions include Glanteenasig, Connor Pass or some of the beaches on the western end of the peninsula.
As regards getting to the start Tralee is easily accessible by bus or train. I have marked the route as finishing in Castlemaine but you could either continue on to Killarney or else complete the loop and return to Tralee.