Big Fella 200

Date: 10th September 2022

Closing Date: 7th September 2022

Organiser: Mike Law

Address: 11, The Crescent, Rockfield, Church Road, Blackrock, Cork.

Entry Fee: €5, plus fees.

All entries must be made on Eventmaster only.  Cycling Ireland Licence is required.  One-day Licence is available for €10 if required, this will be charged automatically on Eventmaster if you do not provide a valid current Cycling Ireland Licence Number.

Start location : Ballincollig, Co. Cork

Difficulty/Climbing (from * to *****) ****


This route is based loosely on that taken by General Michael Collins on the day of his death in 1922. “Loosely” – partly because much of his route was out-and-back and partly because no-one really knows exactly which way they went due to many roadblocks in the area.

Starting in Ballincollig, the route takes riders out towards Macroom closely following the North side of the River Lee. On reaching Macroom, the route crosses the river and passes the edge of the Gearagh, a submerged glacial woodland. On reaching the outskirts of the village of Killmurray, riders will have to deal with a short steep hill. This incline also created difficulties for Collin’s convoy in 1922, with troops having to get out of their tender car and push the four tonne “Sliabh na mBan” armoured car up the slope. The route then runs cross-country, passing through Newcestown (where Collins’ car was briefly separated from the convoy)before reaching Bandon.

Leaving Bandon , the route starts deviating from the original Collins route and heads West towards Dunmanway before swing South-West though Drinagh and onto Skibbereen. On reaching Skibbereen, riders will skirt the town centre and leave to the South of the N71, passing through the fishing village of Union Hall, followed by the yachting village of Glandore. After passing through Rosscarbery, riders will then reach Sams Cross and the “Four Alls” pub, owned at the time by Collins’ cousin. Collins birthplace is not on the route but only 1km away from this point.

After Sams cross, come Clonakilty and Ballinascarthy (birth place of Henry Ford’s father – a fact commemorated by a silver Model T at the crossroads) before riders once again reach Bandon and start the climb North towards Beal na Blath and the ambush site which is marked by a railed-off large cross on the right hand side of the road.

Collins died at the scene and his body was brought back to Cork via the small villages of Cloughduv and Aherla – riders will pass through the same villages before eventually reaching Ballincollig and the finish.

For added historical completeness, riders ccould make the following additions
1) Start at the Imperial Hotel on Cork’s South Mall
2) In Skibbereen, route via Bridge street and the Eldon Hotel
3) At Sams Cross, visit the Collins homestead
4) Finish at the Shanakiel Hospital in Sunday’s Well, Cork.

However this will add over 20km (and further climbing) onto an already arduous course.

Prospective participants should note that the route is quite difficult, given the undulating nature of the west Cork countryside, and the total climbing is around 2,500m, significantly more than the 2100m predicted by the GPS file.

See also