IRELAND HAS NEVER been starved for outdoor adventure experiences, but now there’s a new way to explore the Emerald Isle. The Royal Canal Greenway, an 80-mile walking and cycling route that follows a 225-year-old canal, just opened, passing through the counties of Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, and Longford. Along the way you’ll find picnic areas, cafes, and scenery both bucolic and industrial, including rolling fields and waterfront villages.
Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, said, “This is a greenway that has a remarkable past. From its tragic connection with the famine to its heyday in the mid-1880s when it was the motorway of its time, the Royal Canal Greenway is an amenity that is continually reimagining and reinventing itself. It is fantastic to see it become a significant outdoor tourism and leisure amenity for Ireland — a 225-year-old engineering marvel that is now a respite for the modern age.”
The Royal Canal Greenway is a former towpath for barges, with 90 bridges, 17 harbors and four aqueducts. Visitors can complete the entire route in one trip or explore shorter routes between 14 connecting access points.
Photo: Waterways Ireland
The greenway opened on March 24 and is ideal for walkers, runners, and cyclists of all ages and skill levels. Beginning in Maynooth, the greenway follows the canal through Enfield and Mullingar to Cloondara in Longford. The trail allows you to cycle between any of the main towns and easily return to your starting point.