One of the shorter routes in my book ‘Cycling South Leinster, Great Road Routes’ is the Timahoe Loop at only 33kms in length and 334 metres of climbing. The route is steeped in history and there are stunning views of rolling woodlands, hilltops covered in light Oak and Chestnut trees, brilliant green pastures interspersed in summer time with fields of golden barley and wheat, a veritable feast for the eyes.
The route begins in Timahoe, a pretty village off the beaten track that contains one of Ireland’s finest Round Towers, standing 30 metres high and featuring a stunningly carved Romanesque Doorway.
Timahoe derives it’s name from Tigh Mochua, St Mochua founded a monastery here in the 7th century (what an interesting century to have lived in Ireland!). The Round Tower came much later, in the 11th Century and it was and is a sightg to behold on all approaches to the village.
There is a very interesting and unique sculpture on the grounds called ‘Mochua’s Desk’. It shows his three pets each of which performed an important task: the rooster woke him for early morning prayers or Matins, the mouse nibbled at his ear if he fell asleep during prayers and the fly landed on the word the saint had paused at before falling alseep!
Midway through the cycle and after leaving the village of Stradbally, it is impossible to miss the imposing Rock of Dunamase. The hilltop fortress is an impressive ruin and the imagination runs riot trying to visualise what it was like in it’s complete state. The views from the top are incredible and it is a great stopping off point for some sightseeing.
‘Cycling South Leinster, great Road Routes’ was published by Collins Press and is available online from the publishers, from bookstores nationwide or directly from myself.
Nothing beats being there!