08 Sep 2020
Glorious unspoilt countryside and traffic-free walking or cycling make Ireland’s greenways a perfect outdoor pleasure.
Imagine wending your way on foot or bicycle along miles of scenic trails inhaling pure fresh air, enjoying fabulous views and experiencing the ultimate away-from-it-all feeling – that’s what Ireland’s greenway getaways can offer.
The island has a number of greenways ranging in length and difficulty. There are stretches that suit all fitness levels and others that are more physically demanding, but all offer sublimely beautiful surroundings that lift the spirits and calm the mind.
For ocean views go west to the 42km Great Western Greenway in County Mayo. Snaking alongside Ireland’s famous Wild Atlantic Way touring route, the greenway passes through striking landscapes and heritage towns, past ancient archaeological artefacts and beside golden beaches.
A designated European Destination of Excellence, the greenway is split into three sections, featuring the relatively flat Achill to Mulranny portion and the more challenging Mulranny to Newport and Newport to Westport stretches.
Highlights along the way include stately Westport House, the Deserted Village – a haunting reminder of Ireland’s past – and the spectacular views around Clew Bay.
Waterford Greenway in Ireland’s Ancient East is the island’s longest off-road cycling and walking trail (46km) and, as it follows the path of an old railway line, is mostly flat.
Stretching from the Viking city of Waterford to the port of Dungarvan, it offers not only stunning views but also a peak into Ireland’s history as it passes a number of historic sites including Woodstown Viking Site, Kilmeadan Castle, Kilmacthomas Workhouse and the gardens of Mount Congreve.
Handy for those on a Dublin city break, the Grand Canal Way and the Royal Canal Way are waymarked trails that run almost in parallel along the towpaths westward from the city. Stretching far into the west the routes include on- and off-road sections.
Passing through many towns and villages, these are informal routes punctuated by locks and give a glimpse into the island’s industrial heritage.
Elsewhere on the island are shorter greenways that are perfect for one day excursions. The Great Eastern Greenway connects Carlingford with Omeath and at just 7km provides a relaxing afternoon’s activity along the peaceful banks of the lough.
Whichever greenway you choose, take things at your own pace, stop and start where you will, travel for an hour or for several days and lose yourself in Ireland’s majestic landscape.
Royal Canal Greenway
Need more resources? View our images and videos from across Ireland