In October 2011 South Laois Tourism launched the first of Laois Cycle Trails. This project is carried out in conjunction with Laois Partnership, Laois County Council and Failte Ireland. An official opening of the trails will be held in late Spring 2012 – please check our Events page for news on the opening closer to the time.
Route 1A is 48.48 kms starting anti clockwise from Durrow which has all services and travels out the Kilkenny road. Turning left you cross the Tallyhoe Bridge which spans the River Nore. 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. Turning left in the village in the directon of Fermoyle Cross Roads on your left is Attangh Fly Fishing Museum. Turning right at Fermoyle Cross Roads you move in the direction of Ballinakill. You will pass on your right Ladywell where pilgrims congregate during August of every year.
On arriving in Ballinakill you cross the road into Chapel Street and a short distance on the trail turns left where the Mass Lough comes into view. On your right a short distance on is the rear entrance to Heywood Gardens. Before re-entering the town Gills Pond is on your right while Ballinakill Swimming Pool is on your left. Turning left into the square in Ballinakill which has all services you will then turn right and continue in the direction of Lisbigney. You will traverse a long straight road before turning right at Brandra Cross Roads. 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 reaching the Swan Cross the trail turns right in the direction of Ballacolla. A short distance on is Moyne Polo Grounds on your left. The road continues round to the right on a tree lined section before you reach the village of Ballacolla which has all services. Turning left in the direction of Rathdowney you pass the Sports field and Community Centre on your right and continuing for 3kms you pass The Old Manor School and under the new M8 Motorway with Grantstown Lake and Wood on your right and as you approach the entrance to Coolacuragh Wood and Nature Reserve also on your right the trail turns left towards the finger post where the trail turns right and continues over the bridge spanning the Erkina River. After passing Aughamart Priory and Castle Aughamart Bridge carries you over the Goul River.
At Oldtown Construction the trail turns left in the direction of Cullahill and as you pass over the new M8 Motorway the site of the ancient burial grounds uncovered by its construction is located on your left. You now approach Cullahill which has all services from where you cross the old Cork/Dublin road and continue uphill by the Community Centre leaving Cullahill Castle on your right as you leave in the direction of Ballykealy Cross Roads where you turn left uphill in the direction of Durrow. This section of the trail and the Ballagh as you approach Durrow boasts spectacular scenery from where Kilkenny City can be viewed. You are back in Durrow.
There are three smaller routes within. The B route or Cullahill Route is 14.72kms, The C Route or Ballinakill Route is 21.44kms and the D Route or Ballacolla Route is 27.40kms.
Route 2A 8.16kms trail of the Cullahill Mountain starting in Cullahill Village the trail goes right at Cullahill Castle in the direction of Guathabaun and will bring cyclist through the spectaculor sceney of the Cullahill Mountans where seven counties come into view before returning back to the start point. Alternatively cyclists can take the opportunity to continue on to the village of Guathabaun and link up with the Kilkenny Cycle Trail.
Map Boards with accompanying maps will be erected courtesy of Failte Ireland at the following locations – Durrow, Cullahill, Ballacolla, Ballinakill and Atanagh. A further 9km cycle route on the N77 from Durrow to Abbeyleix has been established with markings on both sides of the road. This will present cyclists with another opportunity to cycle in a safe environment.