Centered around the town of Nenagh, the North Tipperary Cycle Network consists of three scenic cycling routes around the north Tipperary countryside. Signposted routes pass Lough Derg, small riverside villages, and farmland, before looping back to Nenagh. They vary in length from 30km (18 1/2 miles) to 67km (41 1/2 miles). Maps and other information can be found at www.everytrail.com. To hire a bike, contact Moynana, 4 Cecil Walk, Nenagh (www.moynans.com; 067/31293).
As many as 15 species of Irish water birds—including mute swans, coots, gadwalls, and gray herons—can be seen at the Marlfield Lake Wildfowl Refuge, several miles west of Clonmel in Marlfield. On your way, you will pass signposts for St. Patrick’s Well, less than 1.6km (1 mile) away, a tranquil spot with an effervescent pool of reputedly healing crystalline water and an ancient Celtic cross rising from the middle of the pool. Legend has it that St. Patrick himself visited here.
The River Suir, from Carrick-on-Suir to Thurles, was once one of the finest salmon rivers in Europe, but recent excessive trawling at its mouth has threatened its stock. It's still a decent salmon river, especially in the February run and from June to September. Trout (brown and rainbow) are in abundance here in the summer. Here you'll find some of the least expensive game fishing in Ireland; single weekday permits cost around €40. Trout permits are issued by local fishing clubs, and prices vary. The fishing season lasts from St. Patrick's Day to the end of September. Get in touch with the local tourist offices for more details. To orient yourself and to consider your options, pick up a copy of Angling on the Suir, a helpful pamphlet put out by the Tourist Office. The River Nore and the nearby River Barrow are also known for good salmon and trout fishing.
Once the most popular riding center for miles around, Melodys Nire Valley Equestrian Centre closed its doors after 30 years. At the moment there are no stables that we know of offering trekking and trail riding in the Nire Valley -- really the best riding territory in this part of Ireland -- but a little further afield you could try the Clonmel Equestrian Centre, Mongarrif, Clonmel, County Tipperary (087/244-6302).
If you're staying in the area, you're welcome to swim at the Clonmel Civic Swimming Pool (052/21972), near the Market Place, which also has a handy gym and sauna. It's open Monday to Friday 9am to 9:45pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am to 7:45pm. Call for specific public swimming hours, as it might not be open for general access at all times of day.
The courts of the Hillview Sports Club, Mountain Road, Clonmel (052/21805), may be used by visitors.
In the Clonmel area, you’ll find some excellent river and hill walks, some more challenging than others. The most spectacular is the ascent of famed Slievenamon, a mountain rich in myth. Inexpensive, detailed trail maps for at least a half-dozen walks are available at the Clonmel Tourist Office on Sarsfield Street, Clonmel.
The Galtee Mountains, northwest of the Knockmealdowns, offer some great long and short walks. For trail maps and other assistance, contact the Glen of Aherlow Fáilte Society, Coach Road, Newtown (www.aherlow.com; 062/56331). It’s open daily June to October from 9am to 6pm (hours vary the rest of the year). One particularly beautiful trail—a 3-hour round trip—loops around the crystalline waters of Lake Muskry, on the north side of the range. (Ask for directions in Rossadrehid, west of Bansha on the R663.)
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.