07 Apr 2021
Ireland's newest outdoor adventure attraction is ready to be enjoyed by all, just as soon as we are able to travel again.
Traversing the lush green landscapes of Ireland’s Ancient East towards the mighty River Shannon in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, the Royal Canal Greenway was officially opened on 24 March.
The longest greenway yet on the island of Ireland, the 130km off-road trail runs east along the route of a 225-year-old canal from cosmopolitan Maynooth in County Kildare, and through counties Meath and Westmeath to Cloondara in County Longford.
The towpath route passes 90 bridges, 33 locks, 17 harbours and four aqueducts, not to mention stunning Irish scenery and a plethora of restaurants, pubs, picnic spots, shops, accommodation options, bike hire offerings and attractions.
Along the way, rustic and industrial landscapes combine, with rolling fields, pretty waterside villages, and historic landmarks all around. Whether you are planning a car-free week escape or just want a couple of days away from the hustle and bustle of life, this is a greenway that has something for everyone.
The choice is yours whether to explore on foot or cover more ground on two wheels. With gradients kept to a minimum, the Royal Canal Greenway is generally level and surfaced and there are plenty of places to rest.
Walkers, runners and cyclists of all ages and stages can complete the entire 130km in one visit or explore a whole series of designated shorter routes ranging from 6km to 15km.
Royal Canal Greenway, County Meath
Pedal along tranquil paths bursting with wildlife and nature, watch barge boats pass while exploring on foot, stop and take in the sights of the canal’s heritage of locks, aqueducts and bridges, or break off into some of the offshoot trails, which include the bulk of the 165km National Famine Way.
The town of Mullingar in County Westmeath is an ideal central location to base yourself for exploring the greenway. Located in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East just 79km from Dublin, this busy market town boasts excellent facilities, award-winning hotels, guest houses and activities to suit every age.
From Mullingar you can head east or west. Simply pick up a bike at a local hire shop and off you go on a journey on which you will be spoilt for choice.
If you like, it is possible to cycle between any of the main towns on the route, and as the greenway is accessible to the Irish rail network you can return by train to where you started.
The latest addition to the expansive and still growing network of amazing greenways all around the country, the Royal Canal Greenway is going to get even longer.
Eventually Ireland’s newest outdoor adventure route will link all the way to Dublin.
Royal Canal Greenway, County Westmeath
The Great western Greenway, County Mayo
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