Cycling the Enchanting Royal Canal Greenway

The enchanting Royal Canal Greenway

The enchanting Royal Canal Greenway is a 130 km off-road greenway in Ireland. It will be one of the longest cycle trail greenways of Ireland on completion. Most of the work has been completed now and is ready to launch the greenway soon for tourists. The Greenway track along the level towpath of Royal Canal. It was constructed between Dublin and Longford in the 18th century to connect the River Liffey and River Shannon.

The Waterways Ireland has redeveloped the greenway now. The purpose of the recreation of the greenway is the reconnection between Maynooth in Co. Kildare to Longford Town and Cloondara. The Royal Canal Greenway has some bits of the National Famine Way. The Greenway starting from cosmopolitan Maynooth passes through a good range of counties Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, and Longford.

The Royal Canal Way Ireland trail follows grass, gravel, and sometimes asphalt roads from the Dublin suburb of Ashtown and stretches 105 kilometers to the town of Cloondara in Longford.

There is a good variety of overnight accommodation options along most of the route, but some sections are relatively easy to navigate and return to your starting point by public transport. In addition to the beautiful unspoiled expanses of countryside the route offers, there are a number of significant examples of late 18th-century industrial heritage buildings to appreciate along the way.

In Mullingar, County Westmeath, the Royal Canal Greenway meets the Old Rail Trail, which then heads southwest towards Athlone. Plans to further develop this greenway to Galway are well advanced and, when completed, will form part of the EuroVelo network of long-distance cycle routes in Europe from Galway to Moscow.

ABOUT THE ROYAL CANAL GREENWAY

The construction work of the 146 km long Royal Canal began in 1790. The canal was built to connect the River Liffey in the Irish capital Dublin with the upper River Shannon. In 1817, the construction work of the canal was completely finished. Royal Canal ran in opposition to the Grand Canal that went on an almost parallel route course not more than thirty kilometers (30 km) towards the south.

The Royal Canal stretched from Dublin to the River Shannon, cutting its way through Enfield and surrounding areas. The flyboats became the most popular mean of traveling or to transport goods. These horses were used to run these flyboats. Earlier the diggers and excavators aged, this mind-blowing scheme is a testament to the engineers, stonemasons, and many laborers who worked on the 146km manmade channel.

In the middle of the 19th century, the two canals were rendered unnecessary by the arrival of the railways. In 1950, the Royal Canal started destroyed due to negligence and disrepair and was officially closed by the official authorities in 1961. In recent decades, the canal has been reinstated for the entertainment of locals and tourists. The towpath is now designated as a marked national route.

The Royal Canal Way. Along its route are bridges over 200 years old and Abbeyshrule buildings that are over 800 years old. Rustic and industrial landscapes combine to spin fields, pretty waterside villages, working locks, and historic landmarks. Deep Sinking, Blanchardstown (4 km); Fingal Council have appointed design engineers to examine the problem of upgrading the deep sinking.


PLAN YOUR GREENWAY CYCLE

ROYAL CANAL GREENWAY SECTIONS

Dublin Phase I: Guild St. to Upper Sheriff St. 0.5 Km

Fingal: Ashtown, 10th lock to 12th lock atCastleknock; 2.5 km.

Kildare to Longford: Maynooth Harbour to Richmond harbour on the River Shannon; 120 km.

Longford:  Longford Town via Killashee to Richmond Harbour, Clondra; 16.5 km

How Long will it take me to Cycle?

Not sure how long it’ll take to ride the Royal Canal Greenway?.

The Royal Canal Greenway is a 130km off-road greenway. Most chunks of the greenway are in the construction phase. You need to check on section breakdowns above to estimate the exact time required of the Greenway for a typical user to cycle in one day.

ROYAL CANAL GREENWAY ROUTE

There are four different sections on the Royal Canal Greenway. All sections are marked with the Greenway symbol and a white directional scroll arrow and are perfect for average healthy people.

Royal Canal Way is ideal for walkers, runners, and cyclists of all age groups with enchanting and ravishing views of the clean main road, trail, and banks. Most people speak the local language here. Google helps in better translation to understand.

STAGE ONE. Royal Canal Greenway – Dublin

Dublin Phase I: Guild St. to Upper Sheriff St. 0.5 Km

The two short sections have been completed in Dublin. Most of the Dublin section of the Greenway that is on the northside of Dublin is in the planning phase or construction phase. It is expected to be completed by 2021.

One 0.5 km trail section between Guild Street and Upper Sheriff Street has been completed. A 2.5 km section has been completed between Ashtown and Castleknock. Enfield train station is operational from Dublin to Sligo. It has usual stops at its platform.

STAGE TWO. Royal Canal Greenway -Enfield

Fingal: Ashtown, 10th lock to 12th lock at Castleknock; 2.5 km.

Approximately 14 miles of the Royal Canal Greenway runs through Meath, with the main access points at Enfield, Longwood, and Hill of Down. County Meath Council recently installed storyboard panels at these locations which provide information on the region’s natural and cultural heritage.

Located on the main Dublin to Sligo rail line, and with hotels, country houses, and B & Bs available, Enfield is a lovely place to stay overnight on your Royal Canal Adventure. In Irish, the Enfield town is known as An Bóthar Buí (the yellow road) which arose from the cattle markets that were traditionally held. Usually, the main street of the city is covered with yellow hay.

The historic Boyne River enters Meath near Longwood, where it can also connect to the Boyne Blueway Trim. Maynooth is the commercial heart of Kildare, with a number of big outlets offering lots of retail options. The hope is the Royal Canal Greenway from Spencer Dock to Maynooth will complete on time. However, it is not clear yet by Waterway Ireland when it will be finished. This project will open a new era of tourism in the whole of south Meath, north Kildare, and north Westmeath trail.

STAGE 3. Royal Canal Greenway – Westmeath

Kildare to Longford: Maynooth Harbour to Richmond harbour on the River Shannon; 120 km.

The well-developed Royal Canal Greenway stretches 46 km through County Westmeath, from the County Meath border in the east to the County Longford border in the west of the county. A 2.5-mile spur of Loch Owel stretches north of the Royal Canal Greenway at Mullingar to the picturesque shores of the Loch Owel.

The Old Rail Trail can be accessed from Mullingar. It runs along an old railway line between Mullingar and Athlone. Plans are underway to continue the Old Rail Trail to Galway, creating a direct off-road route between Dublin and Galway! 49 miles from Dublin, in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East, the bustling market of National Famine Way and the Old Rail Trail Greenway to lively Mullingar in County Westmeath is the best spot to spend a day or a weekend exploring the Royal Canal Greenway. With excellent facilities, award-winning hotels, guesthouses, and activities for all ages, you’ll have plenty of options for your trip.

The Greenway can be toured in any direction from Mullingar. Unique to this section of the Greenway is the 22 km Royal Canal Blueway. From Mullingar Harbor, the Royal Canal Blueway Trail runs 12 km east to McNeads Bridge and 11 km west to Coolnahay Harbor.

This paddle trail is great for discovering what it’s like to dive into the water! Located in Mullingar Harbor, Blueway Activity Zone is the perfect place to hire a bike from Mullingar Bike Hire or start your Blueway water adventure. The activities area also offers to park of cycle, toilets, showers, and changing rooms on the trail.

STAGE 4. Royal Canal Greenway – Longford

Longford:  Longford Town via Killashee to Richmond Harbour, Clondra; 16.5 km

Approximately 14 miles of the Royal Canal Greenway runs through Meath, with the main access points at Enfield, Longwood, and Hill of Down. County Meath Council recently installed storyboard panels at these locations which provide information on the region’s natural and cultural heritage.

Located on the main Dublin to Sligo rail line, and with hotels, country houses, and B & Bs available, Enfield is a lovely place to stay overnight on your Royal Canal Adventure. In Irish, the Enfield town is known as An Bóthar Buí (the yellow road) which arose from the cattle markets that were traditionally held. Usually, the main street of the city is covered with yellow hay.

The historic Boyne River enters Meath near Longwood, where it can also connect to the Boyne Blueway Trim. Maynooth is the commercial heart of Kildare, with a number of big outlets offering lots of retail options. The hope is the Royal Canal Greenway from Spencer Dock to Maynooth will complete on time. However, it is not clear yet by Waterway Ireland when it will be finished. This project will open a new era of tourism in the whole of south Meath, north Kildare, and north Westmeath trail.

3 WESTPORT GREENWAY HIGHLIGHTS

Westport Town

One of the prettiest towns in Ireland

Westport won’t fall into the sea soon, but rather, it is a Victorian-era town on Ireland’s Most Beautiful Coastline. This vibrant coastal landscape and its 300 days of sunshine are what attract visitors to Westport and its surrounding attractions. From golf to fishing, horse riding to biking to hiking, there’s plenty to do in Westport and its surroundings!

Westport, Ireland, is a town on the edge of an Atlantic inlet on the west coast of Ireland. In the Georgian town Centre, stone bridges link two tree-lined promenades on the banks of the Carrowbeg River. 

Rockfleet Castle and Burrishoole Abbey (both to the northwest) have ties to Grace O’Malley, a famous 16th-century pirate queen. The Great Western Greenway bike and pedestrian trail runs from Westport to Achill Island in het northwest.

Just a few miles from Achill Island, this west coast town is home to one of Ireland’s most beautiful beaches – the blue flag 4-star Westport Beach has hosted international swimming events, and offers sailing, diving, kayaking and windsurfing. 

A fishing port long before tourist hype ever set foot in this corner of the country, the harbourside still bustles with activity.

The coastal region is wild and windswept, with the Aran Islands visible to the west. The modern town has a long history: it was founded in 1693 as a port for local fishing boats. In the late 18th century, it became a hub for trade with North America, facilitating the shipment of local whiskey and linen between Westport and Canada and Boston.

Achill Island

Magnificent Ocean and Mountain Views

Achill Island lies off county Mayo on the west coast of Ireland. Marked by rugged mountains and peat bogs, the island is known for its tall sea cliffs and clean beaches. It’s a perfect spot for water sports and a breezy shoreline makes it a popular place for swimming.

 Marked with rugged mountains and peat bogs, it is known for its tall sea cliffs and clean beaches. The strand (beach) at Keem Bay inspired visiting writers Heinrich Böll and Graham Greene. Keel, the island’s main village, has a sandy surf beach.

On Achill Island, the rugged mountain and peat bog countryside is often marked by picturesque meadows in the summer, with sloping woodlands thick with ferns and berry bushes for the picking.

True to its name (which means Horse Island), the terrain is a haven for riding enthusiasts, offering scenic trails and a training center for horseback riding.

Croagh Patrick

Irelands most popular mountain pilgrimage. A sacred site.

Croagh Patrick is one of the most spectacular mountains in Ireland. From the summit, many small islands can be seen in Clew Bay along with several counties on the Northern and Western seaboards.

The mountain is a pilgrimage site and the climb is known as ‘Reek Sunday’. Each year on the last Sunday in July, a large number of pilgrims, known locally as “Reekers”, climb to the midpoint of the Reek.

The walk takes about five hours and includes an ascent of 1,500 ft over 4 km (2.5 mi) to the summit shrine at Croagh Patrick. This pilgrimage follows an old pilgrim route to the mountain, said to date back thousands of years.

The summit of Croagh Patrick has been a place for pilgrimage for many centuries, it is a tough climb to the top and can take some time but the view from the top is well worth it and the feeling of accomplishment once you’ve made it is something special.

GREENWAY BIKE HIRE

CLEW BAY BIKE HIRE / WESTPORT BIKE HIRE / PADDY & NELLY BIKE HIRE / ACHILL BIKES / WESTPORT BIKE SHOP / ELECTRIC ESCAPES / BIKES & BOARDS / KILLALA BIKE HIRE

RECCOMENDED PLACES TO EAT IN COUNTY WESTPORT

It pays to have good taste. Westport’s fine selection of restaurants provides high-quality food and service at affordable prices. Whether you are looking for some traditional pub fare, a tasty light bite, or something more sophisticated, Westport restaurants have it all.

ACHILL ISLAND DINING

Achill island is home to some of the most beautiful scenic coastline and amazing food.

Achill Island has a lot of brilliant food and drink establishments to suit all tastes from Fast Food restaurants, Diners to Chipper’s, but if you are looking for something more than your usual Fish & Chips or Sausage Rolls, you might want to consider these Restaurants as well. 

Try the local taste of Achill Island with these 5 great restaurants – Seacrest, Old Dunlewey Hotel, The Wreck Bar, McGann’s and O’Flaherty’s!

Achill has exciting, casual, and creative restaurants to suit the whole family.

FAQ’S

HOW DO I GET TO WESTPORT?

Westport is a small town in County Mayo, Ireland, situated on the western shore of Clew Bay at the mouth of the River Rea. If you have your own transport there are several routes including rail, bus, ferry and car. However, if you do not have your own transportation it is very difficult to get to Westport by public transport! The best option would be to take Bus Éireann route 440 from Sligo to Newport which will take you to Westport’s main street (this takes 2 hours).

If you’re planning on driving to Westport there are a number of options for traveling from Dublin Airport. As well as the direct bus services from both the arrivals and departures terminal there are also domestic flights available from the airport to Galway, Kerry, and Knock airports. You could also travel by train, booking online in advance can be significantly cheaper than purchasing at the station.

HOW DO I GET TO WESTPORT FROM THE ARAN ISLANDS?

To travel from the Aran Islands to Westport in County Mayo, Ireland, you will typically need to combine a few modes of transport, as there’s no direct connection. Here’s a common route:

  1. Ferry from the Aran Islands to the Mainland: First, you’ll need to take a ferry from the Aran Islands to the mainland. Ferries usually arrive at either Rossaveal (Ros a’ Mhíl) in County Galway or Doolin in County Clare. The ferry company operating from the Aran Islands is Aran Island Ferries, and their schedules can vary depending on the time of year.
  2. Bus or Car to Galway City (Can be done in 1 hour): Once you reach the mainland, you’ll need to travel to Galway City. If you arrive in Rossaveal, there are often bus services timed with ferry arrivals to take you directly to Galway. If you arrive in Doolin, you may need to arrange a taxi or bus to Galway. If you have a car, you can drive to Galway.
  3. Bus or car from Galway to Westport (Can take 1.5 hour): From Galway City, you can take a bus to Westport. The main bus operator for this route is Bus Éireann, Ireland’s national bus service. They offer regular services between Galway and Westport.

Here’s the more scenic and slighlty quicker route which goes through connemara (Can be done in 1 hour). To drive from Rossaveal to Westport in County Mayo, follow these general directions:

  1. Start in Rossaveal (Ros a’ Mhíl): Begin your journey in Rossaveal, a coastal village in County Galway.
  2. Head to Galway City: Initially, you’ll need to drive towards Galway City. This usually involves taking the R336 and then merging onto the R337, following signs for Galway.
  3. Continue on the N59: Once in Galway, follow signs to get onto the N59. This road will take you through Connemara, an area known for its beautiful landscapes.
  4. Pass through Oughterard and Maam Cross: As you continue on the N59, you’ll pass through towns like Oughterard and Maam Cross. Keep following the N59.
  5. Drive through Clifden (Optional Detour): For a scenic route, you can choose to drive through Clifden, though it’s a bit out of the way. Otherwise, continue on the N59.
  6. Proceed towards Leenaun: The N59 will lead you towards Leenaun, a village near Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord.
  7. Head towards Westport: After Leenaun, continue on the N59, which will take you all the way to Westport in County Mayo.
  8. Arrive in Westport: Once you reach Westport, you can follow local signs to your specific destination in the town.

This route offers some of the most spectacular scenery in Ireland, especially through Connemara. Always check for any road works or diversions before you start your journey. The drive typically takes around 2 to 3 hours but can take one hour without stopping, depending on traffic and weather conditions

CAN YOU WALK THE WESTPORT GREENWAY?

The Greenway is the perfect place to get used to life on the go. The few days that you spend walking will give you valuable insights into how your body copes with long periods of physical activity. By the end of it, you’ll have calculated various averages, including distance walked per day, calories consumed, hours on feet etc. These are valuable statistics to have in your back pocket when you are doing more major challenges.

IS THE WESTPORT GREENWAY ONE WAY?

You might be asking yourself, is the Westport Greenway One Way? The answer is yes! It’s one way to get in and one way to get out. But did you know that it’s possible to go both ways.

ARE THERE TOILETS ON THE WESTPORT GREENWAY?

Unfortunately, toilets are not available at present. However, most local restaurants and bars have these facilities so there is never one too far away.

IS THERE WATER STATION ACCESS?

The Westport Greenway Water Station is a water fountain and water bottle filling station on a stand, located between the Wash/Dry Facility building and the parking lot. Water stations make it easy to fill your water bottles and stay hydrated as you make your way along the westport greenway.

IS THERE PLAYGROUND ACCESS?

An array of scenic, spacious and welcoming parks are located near the Westport Greenway. Numerous playgrounds within walking distance provide a well-maintained space to keep active, happy, and healthy.

Wanna get your kids outside, but you don’t quite feel like pushing them on the swing set for hours on end? Head for the westport greenway. This westport park has 3 playgrounds, cartop boat launch and a skatepark.

No wonder it’s such a popular spot with the locals!

everyone loves the Aran Islands when they have been on an ebike

Client testimonials

Lisa D.

Customer

Definitely the highlight of my recent trip to ireland. I am am going to buy an Ebike in the next few weeks.

Hanna A.

Customer

I had no idea how cool cycling an ebike was!. I loved every minute of my tour and will definitely return to the Aran Islands to explore it in details. Thanks Guys!.

Andrew R.

Customer

I only had a few hours on the island. The ebike allowed me to get up to Dun Aonghas much faster that if used a regular hire.

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