Ballyhoura Mountain Bike & Walking Trails

06th oct. 2023


Activités en plein air

Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails are the largest trail network of its kind in Ireland. 98km of trails including forest road climbs, tight twisty singletrack with loads of ups and downs, board walk, tight turns and technical rocky sections are guaranteed to leave you smiling.

The trails range from the moderate 7km Greenwood Blue Route to the demanding Castlepook Red Route, over 50km in length! The loops between are Mountrussell Blue Route 17km, Tech Red Route 28km and the Garrane Red Route 35km. You can find out all you need to know about these cycling routes here.

No stranger to the tracks and trails of the Ballyhoura Mountains is local superstar, Oisin O’Callaghan.

As a 7 year old boy in third class he would tell his teachers he wanted to be a mountain bike world champion when he grew up. Fast forward a few years and in 2020, at just 17 years old, Oisin won the UCI Junior Mountain Bike World Championships which were held in Austria which was the first time that any Irish rider won gold at the event, and ultimately gave Oisin the hunger to strive for more titles. Oisin’s accolades didn’t go unnoticed, and he was awarded RTE Young Sports Star of the Year that same year.

“It all started with seeing my Dad going out mountain biking. Living close to the Ballyhoura Mountains, it was natural to go out and have fun with my friends. It progressed from there."

Oisin had the perfect mentor in his father Chris, co-owner of TrailRiders, the mountain bike shop and service provider at Ballyhoura Trailriders Mountain Bike Hire & Sales and Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails, Ireland’s largest mountain bike trail network in Ardpatrick, to help pursue his ambitions.

This was only the beginning for Oisin and just this past month Oisin reached new heights by claiming gold in the men's downhill final at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Series. The now 20-year-old Oisin produced the best performance of his fledgling career to claim victory in Snowshow, West Virginia, his first World Cup victory, with a time of 3:07.624.

"It's surreal," O'Callaghan said after his win. "I think I am about to have a heart attack. I have a pain in my chest right now.

"I just kept going and near the bottom, I was able to push through. There was only a small bit left, so I kept working."

Regarding Ireland taking the first two podium spots, he said: "First time ever. Doing it for the boys at home."

But, the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails aren’t just for the elite, far from it. The trails offer something for everyone. Travel influencer, Jess Glynn, from Ratoath in Co. Meath, recently visited the Munster Vales and took to the saddle at Ballyhoura Trailriders. This was Jess’ first time ever trying mountain biking and here’s how she got on.

Jess Glynn at Ballyhoura MTB Trails

Mountain Biking

If you’re not fond of two wheels, that’s no problem at all. Many people choose to explore the Ballyhoura Trails on foot. This region offers an abundance of different trails and looped walks, just waiting for you to discover them.

The Ballyhoura Nature Trail, located at the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Centre is a 40-minute 2km investigation of over 20 hidden creatures in the woods that kiddies, and adults alike, have to uncover on their walk.

The start point of the trail is located at the car park and it is a wonderful way for children to investigate the many creatures that live in the forest.

Nestled amongst the trees are little creatures that you have to keep your eyes peeled to uncover. Use our handy guide to see what animals may be hidden, and as you find them, tick them off your list!

The second looped walking trail in the Ballyhoura Mountains is the Greenwood Trail which is a moderate trail at 4.8kms and takes roughly 1hr 50 mins to complete. This is a delightful trek through the forest taking in local streams. Unfortunately, the Blackrock Loop is closed until further notice.

This autumn, don't miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Ballyhoura Mountain Bike and Walking Trails. With its stunning landscapes, vibrant foliage, and crisp, invigorating air, Ballyhoura offers an unforgettable outdoor experience like no other. Whether you're an avid cyclist, a nature enthusiast, an aspiring photographer, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, this destination promises serenity and adventure in equal measure. So, come and explore the vibrant colours and natural wonders of Ballyhoura this autumn, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Note: There is a pay barrier at this Forest Park. Parking Fee: €5.00 Per Car. A contactless payment system is in operation. Annual Access Card €40.00 which can be purchased via Coillte website.

Location: Ballyhoura Trail Centre, Ardpatrick, Co. Limerick, V35 H263

We would ask all visitors to respect this area and #LeaveNoTrace.

A special thank you to Visit Ballyhoura for providing us with the fantastic footage featured in this video and for their ongoing efforts in promoting this beautiful destination.

Please show your support by following Visit Ballyhoura on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so you can stay up to date with everything that’s happening in the Ballyhoura region.

We would also like so extend our gratitude to Oisin O’Callaghan (@oisinocallaghandh) and Killian Callaghan (@killiancallaghan) for generously giving their time to feature in this production. You can follow along on their mountain biking journeys on Instagram, linked above.