The Birr Cycle routes will guide you to some of the scenery and sights surrounding the town of Birr and its neighbouring towns and villages.
They explore much of the west and south Offaly taking in the Slieve Bloom Mountains, the river Shannon and the extensive peatland landscape which shows the many different aspects through harvesting and afteruse.
LOOP 1 BIRR 73KM; LOOP 1A BIRR 16KM; LOOP 1B BIRR 44KM
Travelling east towards the foothills of the scenic Slieve Bloom Mountains, the full loop is a challenging enough spin, but with 1A and 1B offering a shorter way back there is something here for everyone.
Climbing steadily out of the town, the route levels off before the early Christian monastic site of St Kieran. Kinnity and Cadamstown are two interesting and scenic villages ideal for a snack stop. At Kilcormac you can choose to opt for a straight run back to Birr along the bog road (1B). Alternatively continue through the scenic Lough Boora Parklands, and then into Cloghan.
LOOP 2 SOUTHERN 47KM; LOOP 2A MONASTIC 30KM
Start off down the main road to Roscrea. For Route 2A turn left up a short and steep hill onto a plateau of high ground called Crinkhill; For Route 2 stay on the main road until the right turn at the little pub called The Black Bull, which marks Sharavogue and then on to Shinrone Village.
Mount Joseph Cistercian Abbey and College signals the start of the return leg. The route remains quite hilly until you reach a junction with a view of Leap Castle. Continue on then to the St Kieran monastic site, before an easy descent back to Birr.
LOOP 3 SHANNON HARBOUR 49KM; LOOP 3A CLOGHAN LOOP 13KM
This is a figure of eight loop to the north of Birr. Start off along the outside of the castle walls and turn left through the demesne farmland. Continue on through the crossroads to Cloghan for refreshments.
You can take the short route across to the Clononey Castle. The return leg of this cycle route will bring you through Shannon Harbour and Banagher Town, before a fast downhill road returns you to Birr.
Maps for all routes can be viewed and downloaded here – Maps