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Moneygall Kearney Loops

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The Moneygall Kearney Loops are three different loops around the ancestral home of US President Barack Obama.

The Moneygall Kearney Loops are three different loops around the ancestral home of US President Barack Obama.

4: Southern Loop: 47km (blue)
Loop 4A: Monastic Loop: 30km (blue)
Start off down the main road to Roscrea. For Route 4A turn left up a short and steep hill onto a plateau of high ground called Crinkhill, it's an old part of town once dominated by the military barracks which was later destroyed in the Civil War. For Route 4 stay on the main road until the right turn at the little pub called The Black Bull, which marks Sharavogue and then onto Shinrone Village. Mount St Joseph Cistercian Abbey and College signals the start of the return leg. When crossing the main road again at Fountain Crossroads, watch out for the drinking fountain at the corner, built into he wall. In the days before motor vehicles, weary travellers between Birr and Roscrea would stop here at the halfway point. The route remains quite hilly until you reach a junction with a view of Leap Castle. Continue on then to the St Kiernan monastic site before an easy descent back into Birr.

Loop 7: Moneygall Kearney Loop: 39km (red)
This 39km route honours US President Barack Obama's momentous 2011 visit in search of his Irish roots. It follows in the footsteps taken by his Kearney family ancestors where they lived between Shinrone and Moneygall. They emigrated in 1849, soon after the famine.

Moneygall: Start from the ancestral Kearney family house on the main street and leave the village westwards on the old main road. Soon you pass the M7 motorway, pedalling on into the rolling countryside. Pass Templeharry Church which has Obama connections and later Kilcomin Monastic site. A detour is made into Shinrone village where at the bottom of the hill, the foodstore is the site of a Kearney family home, and directly across the road in the cemetery there is a plaque commemorating the Obama visit to the family graves.

Return to Keeny's Crossroads and follow the signs for a pleasant spin through the unspoilt farming heartland of Offaly. Along the way you will find historic castles, cottages, fine period houses, old churches and ancient cemeteries. At a river on the way to the scenic village of Dunkerrin lies Wood's Hall, worked by the Kearney family when they moved to Shinrone. This water powered mill was once an important trading hub, bringing together farmers and businessmen. Although now disused you can still see the old millrace stream passing through the building.

Continue through level bog lands with occasional hills as you near Castletown and the final few kilometres into Moneygall.