The Hill of Tara (118km, 798m)

Hill of Tara route map


Categorised climbs: The Hill of Tara

I ride this route about once each year, early in the spring when the training plan calls for longer rides but the mountain roads might still be sketchy.  Running through the gentle farmland of north county Dublin and county Meath, it’s eminently suitable for fixed gear riding.

The most tedious aspect of the route is getting out of the city centre — it’s a full 14km of urban traffic until you get to St. Margaret’s. After that you’re mostly on quiet minor roads until you cross the Royal Canal on the way back into Dublin — even then the run through Castleknock and Phoenix Park is one of the more pleasant ways back into the city.

Keep your wits about you when making the turn off the R156 at 85km — it’s on a sharp left-hand bend and you need to go most of the way around to get any view of oncoming traffic.

There are plenty of refuelling opportunities on the way out — there are shops in Oldtown, Garristown, and Duleek, and a petrol station just after you cross the N2 around Balrath. Maguire’s cafe at the top of the Hill of Tara is ideally placed for a lunch stop, more than halfway through the ride, and an easy start afterwards so you can digest a little. It’s probably bedlam during tourist season though.

There’s not much after that — the only business in Dunsany is a piano tuner — but the post office in Kilcloon (88km) has a small shop if your stomach is rumbling.

Yellow Robin Reliant three-wheeler van in the livery of Trotters independent Trading from the sit-com Only Fools And Horses, parked in front of a pebble-dashed pub wall in Ardcath
New York – Paris – Peckham…Ardcath

Thoughts, hopes, exhortations?