Giro d’Italia fever hots up in south Armagh

April 21, 2014

Anticipation of one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events continues to gain momentum throughout south Armagh as local areas prepare to showcase the county’s natural beauty for next month’s Giro d’Italia.

The multi-stage bicycle road race for professional cyclists is held primarily in Italy, over a three week period in May and June each year, however every other year its opening stages are held outside its home country of Italy.  This year Northern Ireland is set to host the opening stages and on day 3, Sunday 11th May, the Giro will travel through the south Armagh villages of Newtownhamilton, Belleek, Lislea and Forkhill en route to Dublin.

With excitement building, local communities are busy ensuring the route is made welcoming for cyclists and spectators with numerous special events and celebrations planned along the Giro route, many themed in pink, the colour of the overall leader’s jersey (Maglia Rosa).

South Armagh will be joining in with lots of family fun, starting at the village of Newtownhamilton, which the cyclists are expected to reach around 1pm on May 11th.  An official spectating area is being  set up at the Commons Newtownhamilton, Village Green, Belleek, The Mountain  House, Lislea Community Centre and The Forge  Forkhill.

The community of Belleek has entered into the full swing of the pink theme by painting the entire wall of the village’s spectating area in the pink colours and logo of the world renowned cycling event.  Plans are also afoot for a display of pink bikes in the village in honour of the Giro d’Italia.

The Southern Cycle for Health scheme is also hosting a week of cycling activities from 5-9 May 2014 to mark the arrival of the Giro and to give people the opportunity to try out or get back into cycling.

Adults and families can get involved in a programme of free cycle rides in the Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon, Dungannon, Newry and Mourne areas.  All cycles are led by qualified Cycle Leaders and everyone registering will be provided with a bicycle, helmet and safety equipment for the cycle.

The Cycle for Health scheme which has been running in the Southern Trust area for over 5 years, offers free access to cycle training, bicycles and safety equipment to organisations and groups.

The programme also provides free Cycle Leader training for anyone working or volunteering for a statutory or community group or organisation within the Southern Trust area.  Once trained, Cycle Leaders are asked to commit to delivering at least two Cycling for Health programmes per year for the public, a group, service users or employees.

For more information on your local Giro Week Cycle or Health programme go to for a full outline of the programme or contact Sabrina Lynn on Tel: 028 3831 1525 or Email.

If you wish to spectate and experience the Giro d’Italia travel throughout south Armagh, it is advisable to get to one of the spectating areas as early as you can !

For further details