Taking a Trip Along Ireland's Greenways - Things to Do and Places to Stay
Spring has finally sprung and it's time to get out and about and enjoy the great outdoors once more. And what better way to see the beautiful Irish countryside than by foot or from the seat of a bicycle on Ireland's Greenways. The Greenways are a collection of off-road trails that have been developed for walking and cycling, as well as being suitable for wheelchairs, rollerblades and skateboards. This fantastic initiative is giving people access to beautiful trails without the worry of traffic or other obstructions.
Fancy a coffee or a bite of lunch, or even a well-deserved dinner followed by a peaceful night’s sleep after your excursion? We’ve included some of the beautiful properties located close to each Greenway as well as some of the popular sights and attractions to check out along the way...
Great Western Greenway – Westport (Mayo) to Achill (Mayo)
The Great Western Greenway begins on one end in Achill, Co. Mayo and winds its way across Mayo towards the coastal village of Westport. The trail is 42km (26 miles) in total, however visitors can choose to travel a shorter segment if preferred, 13km (8 miles) from Achill to Mulranny being suggested as one option, with a further 18km (11 miles) from there on to Newport, and finally another 11km (7 mile) section between Newport and Westport. There are plenty of things for walkers and cyclists to see along the way including The Céide Fields, Croagh Patrick and The Deserted Village at Slievemore.
Newry Canal Way – Portadown (Armagh) to Newry (Down)
The Newry Canal Way is a 32 km (20 mile) stretch of Greenway between the Bann Bridge in Portadown in Armagh all the way to the Town Hall in Newry in Co. Down. The route follows to towpath along the bank of the Newry Canal. Along the way stop off at Moneypenny’s Lock and Museum and Gambles Bridge. Just 20 minutes from Newry you can find the timeless Ghan House, or if taking the opposite direction, the opulent Castle Leslie is roughly 35 minutes from Portadown.
Great Southern Trail – Rathkeale (Limerick) to Abbeyfeale (Limerick)
The Great Southern Trail stretches for 38km (24 miles) across Limerick to the border of County Kerry. On your way, from Rathkeale, you could stop off in Newcastle West and take in the impressive Desmond Castle, before finishing up in the pictureque market town of Abbeyfeale. If finishing up in Rathkeale, you can find the renowned Mustard Seed just 10 minutes up the road in the town of Ballingarry, or if looking to spend the night in Limerick City, you can't do better than No.1 Pery Square, where you can truly unwind in their luxurious spa, before a rejuventing sleep
Déise Greenway – Waterford City (Waterford) to Dungarvan (Waterford)
The 45km (28 mile) Déise Greenway starts in Waterford city before winding its way along the old railway, finishing up in Dungarvan. Just down the road in Dungarvan itself, weary walkers can dine in style in the Tannery before laying their heads down in one of their comfortable rooms for the night. If travelling in the opposite direction, the renowned Dunbrody House in New Ross offers sumptuous dining options and luxurious accomodation.
Old Rail Trail – Athlone (Westmeath) to Mullingar (Westmeath) –
Starting in Mullingar and running over 40km (25 miles) to Athlone, the Old Rail Trail Greenway runs along what used to be the Midland Great Western Railway. On route, walkers can visit the Dún na Sí Amenity & Heritage Park in Moate, or enjoy the busting town and abundant shopping opportunities in Athlone. The stunning Wineport Lodge is just minutes from Athlone in nearby Glasson. Unwind in their spa before enjoying a luxurious nights sleep in this beautiful property overlooking Lough Ree
Places to stay nearby: Wineport Lodge.
Royal Canal Westmeath/Longford – Dublin City (Dublin) to Clondra (Longford)
The Royal Canal Greenway is a 47.6km (30 mile) walking and cycling route running predominantly along the Royal Canal from Dublin City to Longford. The longest stretch of Greenway runs from Kinnegad to Clondra in Waterford with an stretch of greenway running all the way from Kinnegad to Dublin city which is almost complete and is due to be completed entirely by 2018.
At the end of the long trail you might wish to pay a visit to Viewmount House in Longford, a magnificent 17th century country house surrounded by acres of immaculately kept gardens. Dine in luxury and sip fine wines in the VM restaurant before retiring to bed in comfort. Or perhaps if you’re looking for a bite to eat and a room with a view in Dublin, The King Sitric Restaurant and Townhouse in the seaside town of Howth should hit the right spot.
Comber Greenway – Belfast (Antrim) to Comber (Down)
One of the shorter greenways on the island of Ireland, this 11km (7 mile) Comber Greenway is ideal for a leisurely walk or even a quick cycle along the old Belfast railway line between the Queen Elizabeth Bridge in Belfast in Co Antrim (with the traffic free section starting at Dee St) and Comber in Co. Down.
While in Belfast city why not pay a visit to the Titanic museum, check out the Game of Thrones filming locations nearby or take a longer trip up to the Giants Causeway. Once you’ve finished your adventures you can lay your head to rest in the classic Newforge House, or if coming back from The Giants Causeway, stop off at Bushmills Inn.