The Three Counties Loop
This spin of around 58km takes us from the foothills of The Blackstairs Mountains in Bunclody, north along the banks of The Slaney River from County Wexford into Counties Carlow and Wicklow.
We meet in Bunclody at the GAA park on Church Road (At the top of the Main Street in Bunclody, turn left at the Church of Ireland. This is Church Road, and the entrance to the GAA Park is up Church Road oppsite the Health Centre on the right hand side).
We leave the car park and turn right down to the main street where we stop at the bottom of Church Road. We go across the road and turn right down Main Street and we turn left across the square and down onto Chapel Road. Here, we cross The Slaney for the first time and we cycle up out of the town. After FCJ Secondary School, the road goes around to the left. We take this road and cycle to the picturesque village of Clonegal. Once we cross the bridge over the Derry River at Clonegal we are in County Carlow. Huntington Castle and The Weaver's Cottage are on the left as we go up the street.
At the top of the street, we turn right and head for Shillelagh in County Wicklow. These are all quiet rural roads. After a few kilometres we leave County Carlow and enter Wicklow as we cross the Derry River. Just after the bridge, we go north on the R725 as far as Shillelagh where we can take a water break if necessary.
Following this road to Tinahely, we pass several small Wicklow Hills on the left and part of The Wicklow Way runs very close to this road. We go through Ballyraheen Crossroads and Ballyshonogue (Baile Sionnach) and after around 8km we reach Tinahely where we take our coffee break. There are some hilly parts on this section.
Tinahely is a quiet rural town with some very interesting shop fronts, church buildings and a market square. The old courthouse is a very attractive building and is now used as a theatre and exhibition space.
After the break, we cycle out of the town until we reach the R748. Here we turn right and head south in the direction of Coolboy. From Coolboy, we continue for another 6/8km until we reach the R725. At the main road, we turn right and after a short distance we reach the small town of Carnew and we can take a further water break here if necessary.
Shortly after leaving Carnew, we reach Slapper Doyle’s Cross where we go left for Bunclody on the R746. After around 5km, we leave County Wicklow and cross the border back into Wexford. There are a few more hills on this section but nothing too strenuous. The roads are quiet, the scenery is beautiful and there’s lots of deer in the forestry plantations close to the road. We cross over the border into Wexford near Ballingate. From Drumderry, it’s a short spin to Corragh and back into Bunclody. We turn right at the roundabout and go up Main Street. At the top of Main Street we turn right up Church Road. The GAA pitch car park is about 200 metres up this road on our right hand side.
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I live in Castlebridge in Co. Wexford and I am a keen leisure cyclist. I try to get out as often as possible and enjoy cycling mostly within my own locality. I would love to see more people out on their bikes, taking advantage of all the health and social benefits that cycling has to offer.