About the Route

The route is from Dublin Castle to Glenmalure Valley. 30k on road, and 23k off road. The off road section is plenty challenging. You'll need exceptional night navigation skills, or be under the guidance of someone who has them. We will provide limited guides for those who can't navigate and you must specify whether you need our guides on the registration form. We've got a GPX file of the route and Event Info downloadable from the HOMEPAGE. There will even be an Event Information Night held in The Great Outdoors in January.

It is recommended that all participants familiarise themselves with the route with first hand knowledge of the route advised. The current route is downloadable in GPX form from the HOMEPAGE. If changes occur to this during planning we will notify you.

Route Stages

  • Dublin Castle to Stone Cross - 15k
  • Stone Cross to Ballynultagh Woods - 15km
    (Checkpoint 1 and Art's Kitchen)
  • Ballynultagh Woods to Oakwood - 10km (Checkpoint 2 and Oakwoods Winter Fare)
  • Oakwood to - Art's Cross - 5km
  • Art's Cross - Table Track - 4k
  • Table Track - Barravore - 4k
    (Final Checkpoint and Finish Line)
  • Total Distance 53k

Types of Terrain.

  • 30k road walk to Ballynultagh Woods(includes 1km detour on private land at Athdown)
  • 19k hill walk to Table Track
  • 4k track walk to Barravore

Photo Credit: Colm Wright

Race Reports

"The night had got brutally cold and again the winds had gained extra force as we traveled over Black Hill."

Adrian Tucker provides an excellent account of his experience on the Art O'Neill Ultra Challenge.

Read Ultra Report

Standing on the summit of Black Hill with no visibility, the navigator gone and miles left to go, I had a moment of excitement, Jesus, this is where the fun starts.

Chris Cassidy provides an excellent account of his experience on the Art O'Neill Trek Challenge.

Read Trek Report

GPS Route Info

Plenty of info here for anyone wanting to see the graphs.

Eoin Keith's Garmin route from the 2011 Challenge. Thanks Eoin!

Eoin - Garmin

Jeff Fitzsimon's Garmin route from the 2009 Challenge. Thanks Jeff!

Jeff - Garmin


After leaving Dublin Castle at midnight we'll make our way through the streets via Harold's Cross, Firhouse, Old Bawn, Ballinascorney Gap (Stone Cross-O:075 227), past Kilbride Army Camp to the detour at Athdown(O 068 153).

The Athdown detour will be marked as it goes through private land (we ask people not to recce this section. You will cross Ballysmuttan Bridge and then turn left towards Black Hill. Checkpoint 1 - Ballynultagh Woods(O 050 109)1km from entrance You will have access to your dropped bag and hot food and drinks here. Guides will also be assigned here. Be sure to CHECK IN and CHECK OUT at every Checkpoint


Leaving Checkpoint 1 the route takes you through the woods on forest track before making the short climb to the col southeast of Black Hill at O:045 085 Continue from here over Billy Byrne's Gap and traverse the eastern side of the Glenbride valley to Ballinagee Bridge and across the road towards Oakwood and Checkpoint 2. O:033 020


In an effort to reduce erosion and avoid any dangers from swollen rivers in 2015 the recommended route is to take the forest tracks past the Oakwood Hostel and not to use the King's River path. Tree felling in this area means the safest and fastest route is to keep to the track as it bends left. When you reach the junction at O040 014 turn right and follow this all the way to the end of the track at Glenreemore Brook(O:024 007) Using the forest tracks here will help limit erosion around Glenreemore Brook. We make our way up Glenreemore brook to Art's Plaque T:036 993

The left hand side of the stream up from Art's Plaque is steep, mucky and prone to erosion so we would encourage people to ascend on the heathery slope to the right of the stream, before crossing the stream at the top of the steep ground and climbing gradually leftwards to Art's Cross at T:037 989.

It is a good idea to use 3 Lakes as a navigational landmark on the very open crossing between Art's Cross and Table Track. A rough bearing of 220 degrees southwest will get you close but you must rely on your own navigation for this particular section. If you are unsure you should try to get help from a guided group. From 3 Lakes it is effectively south to pick up Lough Brook which can be followed to where it joins Table Track. Follow the track closet to the Avonbeg River for the final few kilometres all the way to Barravore and the Finish!

Art's Challenge

click map to download JPG file (85kb)
(updated 24/12/2011)