Southwest of Dublin and southeast of Shannon, the Ballyhoura Trails Mountain Bike Centre provides access to numerous mountain bike loops totalling about 96km. It is considered the largest trail network in Ireland. There are steep climbs through dense forest, and rolling winding singletrack. The one-way loops are waymarked with color codes signs, and the loops are stacked such that one loop leads to the next.
The 41km Streamhill Loop provides an initial detour from the Garrane Loop giving a longer ride before rejoining to climb higher into the mountains. It detours again from the Garrane Loop higher up and starts some of the most demanding of the trails here with fast descents and longer climbs.
There is car park and trailhead for these trails is located 2 kms south of Ardpatrick village in County Limerick off the R512 road.
To reach the Ballyhoura Trails Mountain Bike Centre from Limerick, take the N20 south through Charleville and continue 2kms further on to Ballyhea. Turn left just after Ballyhea church and drive for 10kms to reach Ardpatrick village. Turn right and continue for 2.5 kms. Take the turn to the right, signposted Ballyhoura Forest, the car park is 1km up this road. From Dublin: take the M7 south to Limerick and join N20. From Shannon: take the N18 south to Limerick and join N20. From Cork: take the N20 to Mallow, follow the N72, signposted Waterford through the town, shortly outside the town rake a left onto the N73 signposted Mitchelstown, travel for approx. 13 km, turn left onto a minor road, signposted Ardpatrick. The car park is approx. 10km up this road. Alternatively, from Cork, take the M8 as far as exit 13, signposted Mitchelstown. Continue onto the Mitchelstown bypass, take the 2nd exit at the 3rd roundabout, signposted Kildorrery, in Kildorrery village take a right onto the R512, continue on approx. 11.5km, the turnoff for the carpark will be on your left.
The Streamhill Loop is a big ride in a remote area with some long steep climbs and technical singletrack descents with numerous features such as tight turns, small rock steps, steep sections and exposed roots and includes some of the most technical riding in the Ballyhouras. Trail surfaces vary considerably and can include loose gravel, rocks, mud and water with encroaching vegetation, trees and boulders. The highest point of this Loop is at 400m and can be exposed to bad weather, particularly high winds so be properly prepared.
From Waypoint 5 follow Blue waymarkers to where you rejoin the Garrane Loop, which you follow to Waypoint 6 where you once again pick up Blue waymarkers. Follow these then all the way to where you rejoin the Mountrussell Loop for the return leg to the car park (follow Brown then Green waymarkers). Along the way you pass Waypoint 7 where you can link into The Castlepook Loop and make this in to an even longer and much more demanding ride (see Castlepook Loop). This Loop alone is a long and demanding ride.
Overall, Streamhill Loop is the 12th most popular mountain bike trail of all 14 mountain biking rides in Ireland.