The Great Western Greenway
The Westport Greenway is one of Ireland’s most established bike routes. The Great Western Greenway is an off-road cycling and walking trail that stretches 42km from Westport to Achill, through the picturesque villages of Newport and Mulranny. With sweeping views of Clew Bay, this government-funded project is lovingly maintained by thousands of volunteers.
ABOUT WESTPORT GREENWAY
For those looking for greenway walking or cycling, the Westport to Achill Greenway is certain to tick all of your boxes. It is a car-free pathway and one of the best greenways in Ireland. It is very popular with tourists and locals alike and is 100% free to access.
Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way is an incredible route, but if you’re looking for other day-trip options, look no further than the Great Western Greenway. The 42-km trail was built on part of the disused Westport to Achill railway line, which was used during World War II to import food. The Irish scenery along the trail is simply breathtaking. If you are wondering how long it takes to walk or bike the trail…
Easy on your body. Easy on the environment. A new alternative for walkers and cyclists of all abilities, the Great Western Greenway is a 30-km (19-mile) off-road trail that runs from Achill Island to Westport town in County Mayo, Ireland. You can ride or stroll along car-free paths connecting green and tranquil landscapes, through rural villages, and alongside some of Ireland’s most dramatic coastline.
The sheer beauty of the Great Western Greenway gazes back at you. Lushly green, dotted with wildflowers, peaceful streams, and the piercing blue of the Atlantic ocean on a sunny day, this section of Ireland is stunning.
PLAN YOUR GREENWAY CYCLE
WESTPORT GREENWAY SECTIONS
STAGE 1: Westport – Newport. (12.5 km)
STAGE 2 Newport – Mallaranny. (18 km)
STAGE 3. Mallaranny – Achill (13) KM
How Long will it take me to Cycle?
Not sure how long it’ll take to ride the Great Western Greenway or Westport Greenway? Here’s the answer.
The Great Western Greenway is Europe’s longest traffic-free cycleway. It runs for 43.5km from Westport to Achill, following the route of the former Great Western Railway. The section from Achill to Mulranny takes in some of the most rugged Atlantic coastlines in Ireland and leads on to the Burren Way and Doolin – a favorite with walkers, cyclists, and adventure holidaymakers. Total length 43.5km one way – about 4 hour 30 minutes at an average cycling speed even if you stop off along the way!
WESTPORT GREENWAY ROUTE
The Great Western Greenway consists of three sections – from Westport to Newport, Newport to Mulranny, and Mulranny to Achill. The most popular section is the Newport to Mulranny section as it offers a great variety of views – from the Maamturks Mountains down to Clew Bay and Clare Island.
These are three of the best sections of the Great Western Greenway. The Westport to Newport route is a fantastic walk or cycle, providing excellent views of Clew Bay. Newport to Mulranny offers the perfect place to start your journey with many places providing accommodation along the trail. Mulranny to Achill offers everything you would expect from an Irish summer’s day!
WESTPORT TO NEWPORT (12.5 KM)
Open your door to the world of cycling with a trail beginning from an access point in Westport. This trail will be sure to get your adrenaline rushing and lead you to a magical destination in Newport! Take in the beauty of nature around you as you bike through the Laurel Valley on this designated cycle track.
The Greenway is a traffic-free cycling and walking trail that stretches from Westport to Newport. 12km in total, it takes approx 2-2.30 hours to cycle, and 4-4.30 hours to walk. Starting in Westport the trail meets up with the Ring of Kerry towards Kenmare (R762). The route is waymarked using the National Cycle Network symbol.
The 12.5 km linear cycle and walking trail in North County Mayo traverse secluded landscape adjacent to the historic Westport and Newport Railway line from Westport to Newport. The route approximately follows an old railway formation and crosses both public roads as well as private land. The route extends from the N59 in Westport town to some 2km north of Newport crossroads along with sections of the old railway formation through Moycullen, Westport, and Castlebar Golf Clubs which are under the control of their respective club managers.
Westport-Newport Greenway takes cyclists and walkers out of the traffic fray and down peaceful country lanes. Bring your bike and cycle between the towns, or bring your walking boots and enjoy a leisurely stroll. The route is easy to follow, with waymarking by National Cycle Network symbols.
NEWPORT – MALLARANNY (18 KM)
The Newport-Mallaranny Greenway trail (signposted as N59) is a fabulous 18km cycle and walking trail that follows the former rail line from Newport to the Mulranny Park Hotel in Mallaranny. It provides for practically level cycling or easy walking along 18km of scenic pathways, right beside the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.
Highlights include views of Lough Conn, Lough Mask and the historic Mulranny Park Hotel. The Newport to Mallaranny greenway winds its way through scenic countryside, linking the popular resort town of Newport with the seaside village of Mallaranny. The route is almost completely traffic-free, making it a peaceful and enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.
MALLARANNY – ACHILL 13 KM
Enjoy a peaceful cycle or walk along the glistening sea as you take in the stunning views of Achill Island. The Mallaranny – Achill Greenway is 13 kilometres long and will lead you from the Mulranny Park Hotel onto the stunning Achill Sound to the Óstán Oileán Acla / Achill Island Hotel. Beautifully scenic and quiet trail providing great relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Surrounded by beautiful sea views, wildlife and local countryside.
This seaside pathway follows a disused rail line, which wends its way through the boglands of Corraun and opens out onto a stunning view of Clew Bay from the rocky headlands of Eagle Head.
A fully waymarked cycle trail taking you from End to End of Achill Island. Off road cycle and walking cycle route, suitable for all abilities. Follow the Way Markers with confidence as you explore the island shortcutting the busy roads. Ideal for families with young Children, first time cyclists or anyone looking for a shorter challenge.
Mallaranny – Achill Greenway Cycle and Walking Trail is a 13km journey running off the stunning Wild Atlantic Way. You can choose to cycle or walk the trail, both routes passing magnificent sea views and rugged coastal landscapes along the way.
3 WESTPORT GREENWAY HIGHLIGHTS
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Start in Rossaveal (Ros a’ Mhíl): Begin your journey in Rossaveal, a coastal village in County Galway.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Proceed towards Leenaun: The N59 will lead you towards Leenaun, a village near Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord.
- Head towards Westport: After Leenaun, continue on the N59, which will take you all the way to Westport in County Mayo.
- 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!
Seamus is the devoted cyclist and dedicated to providing the best self guided ebike tours of the island of Inis Mor, The Aran Islands, Co. Galway. Recognizing the growing need for technically superior and reliable ebikes coupled with tremendous customer service, Seamus makes every attempt to please his customers. We also rent regular bikes of all shapes and sizes. We service all ferries that make a port of call on Inis Mor, such from Rossaveal, Galway City, or Doolin in Co. Clare.