Rochestown to Baltimore West Cork
Former Cork Hurling Manager
Why this trip?
This is a wonderful experience of easy, gentle cycling with a plethora of things to see, things to explore and restaurants to sample the good food of rural Cork. You can stop in most of the villages to stay the night, enjoy the local hospitality and cycle on or finish the route in the morning…
It’s the cyclist’s choice.
Need to Know More?
Route Rating ➤ Moderate
Distance ➤ 163 km
Climbing ➤ 1,758 meters
My favourite cycle starts from home in Rochestown, Cork, and heads eastwards into the village of Passage, made famous by John Spillane’s song. As you pass the port of Passage, the River Lee sits on your left with cargo ships on their way to Cork and the cross-river ferry to Cobh. Further down the road you come to Monkstown with the renowned Bosun restaurant on your right flanked by the Catholic and Protestant churches. Heading on towards Rafeen you pass the golf club and turn left on the main road to Ringaskiddy. Cycling down through the village you pass the Perry Street Market Café, a beautiful restaurant, and on down to the National Maritime College. Straight ahead of you is the beautiful cathedral town of Cobh, flanked by Haulbowline and Spike islands in the harbour and with a skyline dominated by the cathedral.
Leaving Ringaskiddy behind, you take the back road into Carrigaline and turn left to Crosshaven. The road takes you along the river which is full of yachts and small boats and stunning regattas in the summer. Through the town and up the hill to the Camden Fort Meagher which defends this area from attack by sea and is well worth a visit, great history. You’ll have a wonderful scenic view of Cork Harbour in all its majesty with Spike Island, Cobh, the White Gate oil refinery and Trabolgan stretching out below you. It’s a wonderful sight and a five minute rest at the 30km mark is well-earned and serene.
A left out of Crosshaven takes you through Myrtleville and Fountainstown villages and past beautiful beaches, perfect for swimming in summer. Then it’s on through Belgooly and a left turn just before you reach Kinsale. Down this road you come to Charles Fort which, like Camden Fort, was built to defend the town and has spectacular views across the bay. Kinsale itself is a wonderful experience with beautiful food, restaurants and coffee shops where you can stop and explore for a morning or afternoon.
Leaving Kinsale across the bridge takes you to the Old Head of Kinsale with its majestic golf club – it you get the chance, it’s a must-do, an incredible experience with stunning views and outrageous golf shots. As you leave the Old Head, the Speckled Door restaurant is well worth a visit for a coffee at least, after which you cycle down into Ballinspittle. With the sea on your left, cycle up to the Ballinspittle Grotto for a prayer and then head down into Garretstown beach which is calm and placid, a perfect home to swimmers and windsurfers.
Cycling on up through Timoleague onto Courtmacsherry, the scenery across Rosscarberry and into Glandore is amazing, the peaceful villages of rural Cork at their best – this is a real copperfastened local’s experience
Out of Glandore, the road takes you to Leap and down into Union Hall, a vibrant fishing village, and onto Skibbereen before finishing in Baltimore, a tiny but beautiful seaside spot with plenty of accommodation options.