Up to €500,000 is due to be spent as part of the second phase of a three phase plan that will see the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails, based near Ardpatrick compete with the very best internationally.

It is planned that the investment will be completed ahead of Ballyhoura Trails staging the European Marathon Championships in June.

The free-to-use Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails feature over 100km of cross country single track trails, regarded now as the finest mountain bike trail network of its kind in Europe.

The facility already attracts 50,000 visitors a year to the area and according to the manager of Ballyhoura Failte, Fergal Somers, the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trails “are a real success story and it is forecast to increase to 100,000 visitors over the next five years.”

The economic value to the Ballyhoura region is valued at close to €3 million.

The investment will see a number of new technical mountain bike trails developed, plus training loops and skills loops. Ballyhoura Forest Park now hosts a variety of recreational trails including mountain bike trails, nature trails, orienteering trails, geo catching, fell running trails, walking trails, trim trail and horse tracking trails.  

This investment is a partnership of Ballyhoura Heritage and Environment Ltd, Cork County Council, Limerick County Council, Coillte, ESB and Ballyhoura Development Ltd. 

The trails will host the European Marathon Championships in June 2014. A cycling event of this calibre has never been hosted in Ireland previously and the event has the potential to deliver close to 8,000 bed nights to the region and contribute €1 million to the local economy. 

This event is also a key event for the Limerick City of Culture whose support is making the event viable. The very best European bikers will come to Ballyhoura for approximately ten days The project has raised sufficient funding to date and will be launching a fundraising campaign shortly to raise €100,000 which will be needed to complete the project. All the trails in Ballyhoura Country are free to use.