Motorcycle Touring In Ireland
Our Motorcycle History
I have been riding motorcycles – primarily BMW’s but also Vincent’s, KTM’s, BSA’s, Honda’s, Kawasaki’s, Bultaco’s and Suzuki’s since I was about 8. My Father, now in his 70’s, is still riding and has had primarily Vincent’s but also Triumphs and BSA’s and my mother has been riding with him all of these years. On his bored out ’51 Vincent, he can still leave me in the turns if I do not have my wits about me --- a little embarrassing!
As members of the Vincent Owners’ Club, The Munster Vintage Motorcycle & Car Club, UKGSer, and The BMW Club UK/Ireland, we are active riders and participants. Active in rides and vintage shows, we conduct our very own GLENLOHANE VINTAGE SHOW here each summer.
EXCEPTIONAL MOTORCYCLE TOURING LOCATION & ACCOMODATION
In my experience and research, I find that most motorcycle touring operations pay little attention to the actual accommodation. Hence, one has to pack up all of one’s gear and travel from place to place. Here at GLENLOHANE, we are ideally situated in the centre of the SCENIC SOUTHWEST of Ireland. We are an Historic House and you can leave all of your gear here as all of the fantastic sights are within a day’s ride in any given direction. We have safe garaging, work benches, tools and bike cleaning facilities. I have a friend/riding pal only a mile away who is a chief mechanic with a state-of-the-art motorcycle workshop – if needed. Also, we can offer the names of several Irish motorcycle rental agencies for people who are not bringing their own machines.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION....
The roads in the Scenic Southwest are ABSOLUTELY STUNNING and are very free of traffic by international standards – especially the roads that we know! Our location is one of the main reasons guests select to stay here along with our reputation for comfort and friendliness. To this end, if you have ever come across the insightful website Bestbikingroads.com, it is made by bikers/for bikers and it offers amazing insights, commentary and routes on the best motorcycle touring roads to take. Click on the link and you will see for yourself that all of the most amazing roads in the Scenic Southwest of Ireland are quite literally right outside our front gates!
After a great Irish breakfast discussing routes and plans for the day, you can leave your bulky gear here and set off for a wonderful day’s touring. Ireland is not given to rushing and you can return here for a great dinner and relaxation in front of the fire with your bike put away safe and sound.
SAMPLE MOTORCYCLE TRIPS IN THE SCENIC SOUTHWEST
As we ride often, we know of tons of other, fantastic motorcycle
touring day trips to Blarney, Cork City and its roundabouts,
Kinsale, Clonakilty, Skibberreen, Schull, Tipperary and others.
Here are just a few:
Limerick – Clare – Galway
We can go North through the picturesque village of Adare to the Tarbert/Killimer Ferry across the Shannon Estuary and, from there, on up the coast to The Cliffs of Moher. Then, swing East through The Burren with its unique and rugged landscape and back down to Limerick City – Europe’s City of Culture for 2014. From there it is an hour home to Glenlohane.
Killarney – Kenmare
Straight West to Killarney and the famous lakes. Visit Muckross House for some beautiful views and then on up through the National Park, Ladies’ View and the mountain pass at Molls Gap. Drop down into Kenmare – a pretty town with lots of Restaurants and pubs. All this area is mountainous. Then, AN ABSOLUTE MUST is a trip up over The Healy Pass with its fantastic views and down into Glengarriff which is the only town in Ireland with Palm Trees on the main street! From there, it is about one and a half hours home through Macroom and Millstreet.
Cork – Youghal
Cork City is about an hour South. Then go East into Midleton with its Irish Whiskey Distillery and on to Youghal where Sir Walter Raleigh was once Mayor and where his house still stands. This is completely different topography from the mountains and lakes of Kerry. You are now in rolling farmland with fields going right down to the beaches. One can then cut North to the pretty historic town of Lismore and visit the historic Lismore Castle Gardens. Then head back to GLENLOHANE along the Blackwater River Valley with the towns of Fermoy and Mallow along the way.
Rock of Cashel – Glen of Aherlow
After seeing our own 17th century castle in Kanturk, we go on into Mallow and pay a brief visit to Mallow Castle, which was the great seat of military power since Elizabeth 1 and which still has a heard of white deer descended from the first pair given by her. We go East down the Blackwater River Valley through Fermoy down to the historic town of Lismore and then North through the Knockmealdown Mountain pass called The Vee to Cahir Castle and the quaint Swiss Cottage. Another 15 minutes gets us to the Rock of Cashel which was the home of Brian Boru (O’Brien) a thousand years ago when he defeated the Vikings outside Dublin in 1014. From there, we swing Southwest down the Glen of Aherlow by the Galtee Mountains and home.
The Dingle Peninsula
Head West through Ballydesmond, Castlemaine and along the coast road past Inch Beach to Dingle town – the home of Fungi the porpoise. Good eating in Dingle and then on to Slea Head at the end of the peninsula. You are now in a Gaeltacht area where all signs are in Gaelic and where many speak this language only! Visit Galarus Oratory and The Beehive Huts built by the Vikings 1,200 years ago. Return via the breathtaking Conor Pass and Tralee, then Castleisland to home.
In summary, if you want to see the best of Ireland and take the actual roads that Irish bikers work all week long to escape to, The Scenic Southwest is Ireland’s very best and it can compete with any country in Europe – and with little or no traffic!! Plus, if you might like to stay in an elegant, warm and inviting historic home and trade ideas, routes and stories of riding, we would – quite simply – love to have you as our guests. Lastly, should you prefer to have a personal guide, this can also be arranged with advance notice.
Happy Motorcycle Touring!
Gordon Sharp Bolster