Taking a Trip Along 8 of Ireland's Greenways - Things to Do and Places to Stay
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...
Carlingford Greenway - Carlingford (Louth) to Omeath (Louth)
The Carlingford Omeath Greenway is the latest addition to Carlingfords and Omeath's walks and cycle trails. The purpose built greenway between Carlingford and Omeath is a section of "The Great Eastern Greenway" currently being developed along the east of Ireland coastline. Built on the old Dundalk Newry & Greenore Railway (D.N. & G.R.) alignment, the greenway along the shoreline of Carlingford Lough is the perfect place for a walk or bicycle ride and suitable for all fitness levels.
With five different access points along the Greenway's route between Omeath and Carlingford, it's possible to choose both the distance and time that you wish to spend walking or cycling. The Greenway provides great views along Carlingford Lough from Omeath and Carlingford. Whether towards the Irish Sea or inland towards Omeath the views are breath taking.
Places to stay nearby: Ghan House
Great Western Greenway – Westport (Mayo) to Achill (Mayo)
The Great Western Greenway begins 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 is one option, with a further 18km (11 miles) from there 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 the 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 travelling in the opposite direction, consider the opulent Castle Leslie, 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 picturesque 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 rejuvenating 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, try the renowned Dunbrody House in New Ross, where you'll find sumptuous dining options and luxurious accommodation.
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. En route, walkers can visit the Dún na Sí Amenity & Heritage Park in Moate, or enjoy the bustling town and abundant shopping opportunities in Athlone. The stunning Wineport Lodge is just minutes from Athlone in nearby Glasson. Unwind in their new Cedarwood 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 130km 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 a stretch of greenway running all the way from Kinnegad to Dublin City.
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. 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 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 Giant's 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 Giant's Causeway, stop off at Bushmills Inn.
*Last updated 04/08/2022*