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South Laois Cycling Route C

Take a High Nelly bicycle around this memorable countryside trail.
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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 15.2 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Affectionately known as the 'Elephant and Castle Trail'. Why the curious name? Well if you look closely enough at the outline of the... more »

Tips:  Enjoy this app offline with the EveryTrail Pro app. Ensure you're in good health and are wearing a high visibility jacket - there are ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Vintage bicycle museum

Bob's Bar features a little museum containing artifacts from years gone by out the back. The museum is a must-see on your visit to the area. However, it is upstairs that Bob has really 'gone to town' with his vintage bicycle museum. It's a very personal experience with each and every bike having a picture of its owner with their words on happy... More

2. Durrow brick memorial

The Durrow Brick Company was established in 1890, and flourished for a time until its eventual demise and the dismantling of the works at Attanagh in 1922. This small memorial with genuine Durrow brick is a small testament to their once great status. Perhaps more fittingly, there are scores of buildings around Ireland and Dublin in particular that... More

3. Tallyho bridge

Tallyho bridge refers to the hunting term that commenced a hunt and it was here that hunts gathered in days gone by. Overlooking the river Nore, it is effectively on the border between Laois and Kilkenny.

4. Attanagh post office

Coming into the border village of Attanagh (emphasis on the 'tan') you'll notice the remnants of the old Attanagh railway station. This was a hive of activity when Lord Ashbrook would be having guests, when the Durrow bricks were being transported or when the sugar beet was being delivered by the local farmers to be brought to the sugar factory in... More

5. Irish Fly Fishing and Game Shooting Museum

Approaching the village of Attanagh on your right is the old Attanagh railway station House which closed in 1963. In Attanagh village to your right is the bridge crossing the Owenbeg River which divides counties Laois and Kilkenny - take note of the resplendence of black and amber. Turning left in the village in the directon of Fermoyle Cross... More

6. Fermoyle crossroads and Ladywell

Turning right at Fermoyle crossroads, you'll be cycling in the direction of Ballinakill. You will pass on your right Ladywell where pilgrims congregate during August of every year.

The cult of the holy well was deep rooted in the religious traditions of this part of the country, but Ladywell is the sole survivor of holy wells in this and... More

7. Masslough turn off

On arriving in Ballinakill you cross the busy road into Chapel Street - be careful as traffic on your right will be heard before it is seen. Cycle on a short distance and prepare to turn left where you see the green post box and the sign saying Masslough Lodge. At the time of writing, there was no Route C signage for this vital turn off so be... More

8. Heywood house garden

Intrinsically linked with the history of Ballinakill is Heywood. Heywood House lies in Heywood Demesne which is passed every day by people leaving the town by the two trees and heading towards Heywood Community School. Remnants of the old demesne wall are still visible on the right hand side of the road.

The old entrance to Heywood House was... More

9. Ballinakill outdoor swimming pool

One of the great treats of the area is this outdoor swimming pool - where else could you go in Ireland for some exercise on a High Nelly and get in some more old style exercise with a swim? Bring your bathing togs and towel and come out refreshed and ready for the tail-end of this scenic cycle ride. Bob swears by a swim here every morning.

Take... More

10. Brandra crossroads

Before re-entering the town of Ballinakill, Gills Pond is on your right while the churches and Ballinakill Swimming Pool is on your left. Carry on down the hill into the old style square in Ballinakill which is worth observing for its perfectly preserved edifices; you will then turn right and continue in the direction of Lisbigney. You will... More

11. Crossing the N77 main road

Your cycle down the backroads in interrupted as you cross the busy N77 - be careful. you'll be turning left but more or less crossing about 20 metres therefter to carry on the tour. It's both signposted and there's an unusual landmark of a house that has been partially burned down.

12. Dunmore demesne

Then your journey bring you to Watercastle Cross and the junction with the old Cork/Dublin road. Crossing this junction and continuing downhill over Watercastle Bridge which also spans the River Nore you pass on your left the entrance to Dunmore Demesne and on your right the entrance to Moyne Demesne.

On the audio, hear from High Nelly club... More

13. Swan road turnoff

On reaching the Swan Cross the trail turns left towards the Dunmore demesne car park which you might recall if you've walked the Leafy or Dunmore looped walks.

Turning right at Swan Cross takes you in the direction of Ballacolla and a short distance on is Moyne Polo Grounds on your left - there's posh for ya.

On the audio, hear from High Nelly ... More

14. Rath turnoff

After the car park, you'll come to the N77 main road - you'll be taking a right turn into Durrow and a warm welcome back to Bob's Bar, which is on your right after going over the new bridge in Durrow. We'd recommend doing that tour of the vintage bicycle museum after the trail when you've had a chance to truly savour the bikes' majesty. However,... More