Length: 53 km
Width: 2 lanes
Surface quality (out of 10): 7
Highest point: 796 metres (2,605 ft)
Operating times: open all year
Route: from Carlow to Wexford
Mount Leinster Road Description
Mount Leinster is the highest paved road in Ireland and a mountain pass that offers a great road to drive. It’s located in the province of Leinster, Ireland, in the Blackstairs Mountains. The highest altitude reaches 796 metres (2,605 ft) above the sea level. The area also is a popular location for hang-gliding enthusiasts to launch from. Even though the altitude is not so high, it offers beautiful views of the Irish countryside.
Those driving this road will see that it’s in a dreadful condition, as well as challenging. But that’s what makes people want to come here and test it out. It’s narrow, and the barriers along the edge don’t offer a lot of protection. At the foot of Mount Leinster, around 8 miles away from east of Borris, you can find the Nine Stones, a landmark point many people come to see. You can get there by taking the 2RN access road that leads to the summit. This access road is closed to normal traffic.
The highest paved road in Ireland
The summit of Mount Leinster also represents the border of Carlow and Wexford and the highest point in both of these counties. Overall, the road taking you there is narrow, steep and winding, so perfect for those that love a thrilling ride. You will also find some nice twists on your way.
If you want to do some sightseeing, the Nine Stone stones is a popular monument people visit in the area. There actually are ten stones arranged in a line, the largest one being about 50 cm long. The origin of the stones is unknown.
There are two routes you can take to reach the summit. If you start from the Borris side, in County Carlow, the ascent is 11 km long and the average gradient 6.9%. The last two kilometres before reaching the summit are the steepest ones, and the gradient here is almost 16%. If you start from the Bunclody side, in County Wexford, the climb is 13 km long, and the average gradient is 5.9%. The same as on the other route, the last kilometre is more difficult and features a gradient of 16.3%.
The surface of the road is made of old asphalt, so the condition of the road isn’t that good. Also, when it snows, chains or snow tyres can be required.
Photo sources: https://www.buzz.ie/latest/buzz-walk-of-the-week-mount-leinster-215647, https://rotharroutes.com/tag/mount-leinster/, https://www.geograph.ie/photo/6501974