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Mountrussell Loop, Ballyhoura

September 3, 2011

A few weeks ago, I did a pretty stupid thing by following the red route (i.e. the hardest one) at Ballyhoura on the Limerick/Cork border. This time, I tried the mid distance Mountrussell Loop (the brown route). I didn’t have my Canyon with me, so I hired a bike there, a Cube hardtail. The Loop is 17 km, almost all on excellent purpose built trails. I met a couple of guys from Utah who said they loved it, very ‘lush’ compared to home (I think just about everywhere is lush compared to Utah, but nevermind). This route is the same as used in the Singlespeed World Championship just a few days earlier (and a wetter day, by the look of that youtube clip).

One of many little timber bridges on the home run

A Cube and a typical stretch of trail.

Some stretches are open and exposed

Some are rocky (I missed my full suspension here)

Many sections are through thick, moss covered conifer woodland, like something out of Tolkein

There are of course lots of timber trails - I was nervous about these, I had a nasty fall on one last time

Its been a dry week or so here, so it was fairly grippy, especially the rough cut wooden sections

I was determined to make the right turn this time, except that....

But this looked so tempting...

So, following advice given at the trail centre, I followed the white ‘Garrane’ loop for a short while. Its huge fun, its full of dips and drops as it descends through clearcut, very exhilarating. After about 2 km, it crosses a 2 metre wide bog road. To get back to the Mountrussell Loop, you just follow this bog road uphill (left), then left again when you meet the forestry road. I’d recommend this little detour to anyone trying the Mountrussell Loop, it adds a nice little bit of variety to what is already a very diverse and fun 2 hour ride.

I made it back to the carpark to find that my farmers tan gave away my two weekends of being a roadie in summer.

Two tone, like a Polish Flag. Or something.


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  1. looks like a lovely trail philip! great that you can turn up and hire a bike, too.
    shame you couldn’t crack out the Explosif for the singlespeeds, heard the event was great fun.

    • Yes, I rode the shorter trail a few weeks ago on the Explosif, it was great (apart from the bit where I got lost and climbed an unnecessary 300 metres!). I did intend to do the sswc, but it was the same weekend as the Sean Kelly Ride, so I was caught between the two. I couldn’t persuade anyone to come with me singlespeeding so I opted for the Kelly ride because a few friends of mine were doing it (it was great too). Judging from the clips I’ve seen, the sswc was huge fun, especially as they managed to double book it in a very small village when some sort of Rockabilly music festival was also scheduled.

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