You will have completed the Route No. 1 section to Ardmore and feel the urge to carry on. Instead of taking the R673 back towards Youghal, carry on the same road east towards Dungarvan. You travel along the coast road. Be careful – there are some side roads which are not signposted. The general guideline here is – take what you think is the main road, heading always eastward. Look out for the places indicated to you, and if in doubt – ask someone. You are off the beaten track but on good roads! And among friends!
The road brings you on the main N25 at Kiely’s Cross and there you turn right for 5 kilometres on the N25 until you pass the Marine Bar, or go on a few hundred yards to the Seanachai Pub which has an excellent carvery.
Then swing left on the road towards Clashmore. It is a narrow, winding country road, wooded in part, climbing gently until you have the whole landscape of Waterford below you. Carry on straight ahead and soon you come back to Clashmore.
At Clashmore follow the route towards the N25, but again this time do not go onto it. Take the underpass and after 500 metres or so, turn right. This is a small road , passing a disused Mill, passing a lovely country pub and brings you on to the N25. Turn left and carry on for Youghal. Done and dusted! Route Two!
You could have also continued on towards Dungarvan after the Seanachai, but at the end of the hill turn left at the sign for Clashmore and that will also bring you back to Youghal! That offers you a good challenging hill and again brings you in to Clashmore . You could also turn right at the same place and head towards Helvick Head, Ring and then back to Ardmore and Youghal. Whatever suits you, the legs, the time – enjoy!
Route Number 3 – the Short Run
This is a short run but you can really take your time to get the know the area with this one. The route takes you out of Youghal on the N25 towards Cork for about one kilometre and then you swing left on the Ballymacoda road – the R633.
You notice a beautiful marshy area on your left – Ballyvergan Bog –and you will turn left in the Ballyymacoda direction on the R633. Just after that left turn there is a Hide from which you can enjoy the wildlife of this very special bog which is both sea water and fresh water.
Local Ranger Pat Smiddy has written a beautiful book about the flora and fauna in Ballyvergan Bog – this contains photographs and detailed knowledge about the Bog and is well worth reading. There are 4 species of bat……. the book is available locally and is a real treat.
We continue on towards Ballymacoda. You could take a short detour (500 metres) to the Quality Hotel at Redbarn where a magnificent lounge bar enjoys unrestricted views of Youghal Bay and Capel Island.
After 3 km we reach a T Junction where the left turn would take us to Ballymacoda and Knockadoon, which we visit later, but the right turn leads us towards Ladysbridge . And it is there we are heading now. It is an undulating road with some gentle slopes and descents ( nothing too challenging for the cyclist or the walker!). Check the map below and look at the elevation! Nothing challenging here for you.
On either side of the road there are possible diversions – the Kilcredan road would lead us to a splendid ruin of a church where you will see Tyntes’ tomb – which is very similar in style to the Boyle tomb in the Collegiate Chapel in Youghal. Tynte, if you remember , was the owner of the fortified town house, (castle) which bears his name in the middle of town. On either side of Tynte are his two wives – one being the widow of Edmond Spencer – the poet who wrote the Faerie Queen. Sadly the tomb is badly deteriorated but the splendour of what it looked like can be imagined by comparing it to Boyle’s tomb in Youghal. If you do take the Kilcredan road to the church, carry on past the church and then turn , a short sharp uphill right turn , which will bring you to Garryvoe beach – there you turn right aqnd you will soon be in Ladysbridge.
Castlemartyr is straight ahead for you if you are coming from Garryvoe.
At Ladysbridge, turn right and head to Castlemartyr. You could stop in Castlemartyr where there is a nice Greengrocer’s with an excellent delicatessen and coffee shop just at the bridge. Or stop at Pat Short’s pub also at the bridge – he of the Kilnascully fame – serves a good lunch, or if you have loads of dosh, try the new hotel. Stop at the traffic lights as you will be crossing the N25 again, this time heading for Mogeely, a short run. Turn right at Mogeely and the road will bring you back to Killeagh where you rejoin the N25. It is well worth stopping to visit Killeagh Woods .
Or, at Castlemartyr just take the main road all the way back to Youghal. If you feel the urge to explore you could turn right at Burgess Cross ( site of old garage) and find Inchiquin Castle , of which more later and the famous old lady who lived there.
Or you could veer left at the Parish church in Killeagh up a small hill towards Mount Uniacke. On the Killeagh side of the village, you come to a T Junction where you turn right. Go straight ahead from then on and the road will bring you back to Youghal. You cannot get lost! Any right turn will bring you to the N25 and Youghal.
Killeagh Woods where the colour which seeps through the trees is hauntingly beautiful. Each season has its charm, its light, its shadows. The entrance to the woods is behind the Old Thatch pub in Killeagh, on the turn of the road. It is an old wood – dating back to preChristian times and holds many ancient and haunting memories. You might chance upon the early Christian baptism area, or the medieval roadway, or just take one of the wonderful walks through the woods.
The entrance to Killeagh Woods is behind the pub – which serves an excellent meal, bowl of soup, cup of .. or a pint! this is one of the oldest pubs in Ireland and brings with it a lovely mellow ambience, generated through the centuries. Killeagh is not a big town – but just count the number of pubs!
And if you want to visit the old graveyard by the disused railway station – go for it! you might find, among the gravestones the grave of the old shipwrecker Greatrakes who lurede ships onto the rocks at Knockadoon. He is an interesting character himself although not as famous as the the great Valentine Greatrakes who is buried at Affane.
Valentine Greatrakes played a major role in the witchcraft trial which took place in Youghal in 1661 – the trial of Florence Newton – to be more accurate , I should say the first trial of Florence Newton. He is mentioned in Samuel Pepys Diary, also the diary of Robert Boyle – the well known scientist and son of Richard , the Earl of Cork whom you have met earlier.
The second trial took place in Cork.
Route 4 Round the coast!
This route takes in some of Route No. 3 – first you could go to Ladysbridge as directed in Route No.3. – ( You take the Cork road for a kilometre or so, then turn left down the bog road, after 10 kilometres turn right and you are in Ladysbridge. But instead we ‘ll head straight for the coast via Kilcredan where you can see the tomb of Tynte who married the widow of Edmond Spenser , the famous English poet. There is one short but steep hill – short and worth it for the view of Garryvoe Bay below you – a fine beach with a good hotel, named as it might be, the Garryvoe Hotel. Turn right, along the beach road, head for Shanagarry and then on to Cloyne.
From Shanagarry you take the road for Cloyne, it is straight ahead of you, the ancient seat of Bishop Berkeley – he of whom the nightingales sang in the square.
Cloyne has a fine Round Tower – not at all like the one in Ardmore – the cap on the tower is an addition. We take the road towards Whitegate – it is a continuation of the road from Shanagarry.
You pass the monument to Christy Ring – one of the greatest hurlers who ever lived.
You come to a T Junction – there will be a shed-making place across the road – just turn right at the T Junction but at Saleen turn left and bear left after leaving the village and you follow the harbour road – it is magnificent and a gem of a roadside pub ( Murph’s ) offers a magnificent lunch in or outdoors at the water’s edge (see the photos from the Cobh Cycle).
Then it is on to Midleton where there are several places for refreshment. At the roundabout go straight through to go in to the town or turn right for Youghal.
You will be on the N25 for 5 kilometres and then you turn left for Mogeely at the Two Mile Inn Pub. At Mogeely Co- Op Stores turn left and almost immediately right for Killeagh.
But ….if the wind is at your back – take the main road! Sit up and sail home!
At Killeagh you could simply turn left and go back on the N25 which is a short run into Youghal.
You could turn right at Burgess Cross ( at the disused garage) and seek the Castle of Inchiquin – sadly not mentioned by name in road signs but the site of a wonderful story – Countess Desmond, the lady legend says lived to be 140 years old and she died after climbing some steps to pick cherries from a tree given to her by her friend, Sir Walter Raleigh. The stories about her are many – her upbringing at the court of King Edward IV, her friendship with his daughter – Elizabeth of York, her visit to Queen Elizabeth, her friendship with Raleigh, her row with Shakespeare, the story of her growing three sets of teeth, her use of Irish bog butter, her court cases, the many portraits of her, her husband Baldy Tom and his way of dealing with unwanted guests or anyone else he didn’t like! Some are possible, some are probable and some are the result of confusion but all are fascinating!
Sadly, today, the castle of Inchiquin is deteriorating rapidly. It was once a huge administrative centre in East Cork.
This is Inchiquin castle today – sadly not even worth a road sign! But if you want to find it – it is part of a single day long cycle in which we visit a number of locations associated with the Olde Countess.
You could, however, visit her birthplace in wonderful Dromana House where her memory is treasured, where the various portraits of her can be seen and it is just possible – just possible – that the cherry tree which caused her death – gave the wood from which the magnificent cherry wood cabinet is made in Dromana House. That house, still owned by the Villiers Stuart family is well worth a visit and offers a magnificent view of the River Blackwater. That is part of the Olde Countess Route on this site.
Dromana House can be visited on Route 7. It is well worth it – but more of that later! A number of different portraits of her can be seen in various locations – Muckross House in Killarney has one, Dromana House has one original and copies of some of the others.. The Duke of Devonshire has another.
Countess Katherine Desmond ( wife of Baldy Tom , 12th Earl of Desmond) also kept a house in Youghal town where she became friendly with Sir Walter Raleigh who wrote about her in his History of the World – a book he wrote while waiting in the Tower of London. Her row with William Shakespeare is one o f the local legends and very hard to prove – could he have visited Youghal? Well …. in the 15th century the harbour master for Youghal was a certain Thomas Shakespeare from England! And with the theatres often shut because of the plague, maybe Shakespeare visited Youghal where his friend Raleigh was the Mayor and another friend Spencer was not far away, penning his poem – the Faerie Queen. Possible ????? the dates happen to coincide with the years for which we have no definite account of Shakespeare’s movements.
Countess Desmond is just one of a number of women you can get to know about in Youghal .
Florence Newton is another one. She was put on trial for witchcraft in 1661 – the amazing Valentine Greatrakes – known for his ability to cure people through stroking them, was involved in the case and her story, her tragedy, really, is such an accurate insight into life in 17th Century urban Ireland. If you want to know more about her let me know!
Route 5 – the inland inch run
This is a little gem of a route – not too tiring but offering a challenge at the same time. It is about 35 kilometres and has lots of variations. You start with a steady climb up the Tallow Road which gives a splendid view over the estuary and the chimney of the old Pottery .
The mud from the estuary provided the raw material for making clay bricks. Many of the beautiful buildings in Ireland and further afield were made with bricks from Youghal. One fine local example is the TSB Bank on the Main Street. If you are interested in the history of Youghal pottery, read Tony Breslin’s “The Claymen of Youghal” (2002), an interesting and well illustrated read.
Anyway – onwards and upwards we go until we reach the Half Way Bar where we turn left and go straight on until we reach Inch. It has been a steady 8 kilometre climb – which tricks you up the hill – lots of corners which you turn thinking “this is it” – but it isn’t! After the corner there is another little climb to the next corner and the next… After 2.3 kilometres you reach Lombards Bar – where you can refresh yourself. Then carry on to the Half Way Bar and turn left down down down hill. There are a number of downhill turns – don’t worry – they all lead back to square one!
Af ter the climb up the Tallow Road this is glorious travelling , most of it downhill, until we reach Inch – a tiny village.
You can get back to Youghal in a number of ways – one is to turn left at the church in Inch – this will bring you straight back to Youghal, your journey ending at the Quarry Road roundabout near the Tesco Supermarket.
You could also pass the front of the church in Inch and go up the hill to Inch National School and continue on that road to Mount Uniacke. This offers further choices- continue on to Killeagh and come in the N25, or just outside Mount Uniacke take a left turn for Youghal – go straight ahead and again you end up on the Quarry Road. a recent paperback called “Cromwell’s Revenge” tells the story of how the Uniacke family kept their land over the centuries. An easy read but a fascinating insight.
You will find excellent refreshments in Killeagh if that is the route you decide upon or you could visit Killeagh woods or both! And then back to Youghal!