Rás na mBan Returning to Kilkenny

Rás na mBan returns to Kilkenny in September and Ireland’s international bike race for women has a number of exciting new innovations for its 17th edition.

Two All-New Stages!
New Stage Finish on The Rower
Popular Kilkenny City Centre Race the Finale

This year’s race is the seventh edition of the popular international stage race to be based in and around Kilkenny and features two all-new stages, another new finish location and the return of the double-helping of racing in Kilkenny on the final day.

Kilkenny County Council has supported the event since 2016 and once again, starting on Wednesday September 6th, Ireland’s best riders will fight it out over five days for the coveted Kilkenny County Council green jersey for best rider based in Ireland.

Riders from all over Europe, the USA, Oceania, Africa and Asia as well as the best of Ireland’s international- and locally-based racers will descend on Kilkenny for the event which showcases the beauty and variety of roads and landscape of the Leinster county.

Sunday 10th September, the final day of racing will again feature a double helping of top class racing starting with the fifth stage 2.5km time trial set against the backdrop of one of Kilkenny’s most iconic landmarks.

The race will end with the popular hour-long Kilkenny City Circuit Race on the familiar 2.1km circuit starting on The Parade in front of Kilkenny Castle, a spectacular and high octane end to the five days of racing.

While team rosters will also be revealed in due course, Rás na mBan has once again attracted Olympic, World and European Championship riders to face the best of the local talent.

Along with the race for the overall title, the best locally based talent is vying for the highly coveted green jersey awarded to the Kilkenny County Council Best Irish Rider. The leading Irish rider will be presented on the podium after each stage and will be recognisable in the bunch each day by the distinctive green Kilkenny County Council Best Irish Rider jersey.

Stage finishes in Callan, The Rower, Mountrath, Tramore and Kilkenny City feature in the 400km week of bike racing.

In welcoming Rás na mBan back to Kilkenny, Cathaoirleach Michael Doyle said:

We are thrilled to once again host Rás na mBan in Kilkenny.

“This international bike race for women has become a cherished event in our community, showcasing the beauty and variety of our roads and landscapes.

“Kilkenny County Council has been a proud supporter of this race since 2016, and we are excited to witness the new innovations and challenges that the 17th edition will bring.

“We look forward to welcoming riders from around the world and crowning the best Irish rider with the coveted Kilkenny County Council green jersey. This race is a testament to the strong partnership between the Council, An Garda Síochána, and the Organizers, and we are committed to making it a resounding success once again.”

Race Director Valerie Considine is looking forward to returning to Kilkenny, the hub of Rás na mBan since 2016.

“The move to Kilkenny seven years ago has been overwhelmingly positive for Rás na mBan. The beautiful countryside and wonderful support from Kilkenny makes planning the route of a pillar event for cycling in Ireland an absolute pleasure,” says Considine.

“The route we have assembled for 2023 will challenge the riders and offer an opportunity to further showcase the beauty of Kilkenny City and County.

“It’s particularly gratifying for us to be able to bring top class women’s bike racing to the people in such an iconic setting as Kilkenny Castle.

“We’ve had wonderful support from Kilkenny County Council and An Garda Síochána throughout the planning of this event and they have helped smooth the not inconsiderable process of bringing top class bike racing to the county.

“Our major backers continue to make this race possible and it’s gratifying that we have retained the support of so many partners for another year.”

Route Details

Two all new stages, a new finish on day two and the return of the two-stage finale around the walls of Kilkenny Castle are among the highlights of the 2023 Rás na mBan route announced today.

Top bike racers from all over the world will return to Kilkenny in the first week of September for the 17th running of an event which attracts Olympians and world championship riders to face the challenging roads of Ireland’s Ancient East.

Ireland’s international stage race for women returns with a familiar format featuring four road race stages of varying length and difficulty, a time trial and a circuit race which for a sixth time centres on the beautiful city of Kilkenny.

The 2023 running of the event begins on Wednesday September 6th with six stages taking place over five days in and around the race base in County Kilkenny.

Once again, the route offers a variety of challenges from testing hilly stages including the stage three climb of ‘The Cut’ in the Slieve Bloom Mountains in County Laois followed by the demanding Tramore stage in County Waterford on the penultimate day to the stage five time trial on Sunday where riders will ride solo against the watch on the new Kilkenny Castle course.

For a third year the race begins in the west of Kilkenny County on Wednesday 6th September with a stage finish in Callan and two laps of a 13km finishing circuit which will offer spectators at the finish line three chances to see the riders during the day.

The other stages cover roads which will be familiar to fans of Rás na mBan from previous years while also introducing new challenges for the riders. The day two race to The Rower includes a grippy and spectacular conclusion to a demanding stage.

The day three stage in the Slieve Bloom mountains features, for the first time a finish in Mountrath after the climb of The Cut following a start in Portlaoise.

Saturday’s all new stage in County Waterford starts and finishes in Tramore along with a ride which returns along the Copper Coast on what will be one of the toughest days of racing across the week.

The final day of the race brings the riders back to Kilkenny city for two stages centring on the imposing edifice of Kilkenny Castle, one of the most popular visitor sites in Ireland.

In the morning the riders will face a 2.5km time trial around the walls of the castle as the specialists against the watch have an opportunity to offset the advantage enjoyed by the climbers on previous stages.

The final stage of the week is the hugely popular circuit race in Kilkenny City Centre, the fastest stage of the week, approximately an hour and fifteen minutes of high octane city centre racing after which the champion of Rás na mBan 2023 will be crowned.

Full route details and map links for the 2023 Rás na mBan see below.
Note: Timing and route details remain provisional.