Earlier today, 24th March 2021, we saw the formal launch of Ireland’s longest greenway, along the Royal Canal running all of 130km from Maynooth in Co Kildare to the Shannon at Cloondara in County Longford.
The launch is a momentous occasion and a major step forward in Ireland’s development of greenways and cycle routes to link up towns and villages via active travel routes. Below is the link to the video of the launch featuring, amongst others, Minister Eamon Ryan and Minister of State Malcolm Noonan.
Cyclist.ie warmly welcomes this development. We have engaged with Waterways Ireland and with the local authorities along this route as it has been developed so as to help ensure that the standards for cycling and walking are met as much as possible.
This 130km section of the Royal Canal greenway crosses four counties – Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford – and also passes through significant towns such as Kilcock, Enfield and Mullingar. It also includes a completed link section into Longford Town, as can be seen from the pictorial map below.
Significantly, it will also link into the previously completed 40km long Old Rail Trail from Mullingar to Athlone, also part of the EuroVelo #2 cross-continental cycle route, in case you get the itch to travel that bit further when restrictions allow! This off-road greenway route will eventually link to both Dublin and Galway, and Cyclist.ie is working with the multiple agencies, Local Authorities and consultants to help to make the full route a reality.
As might be expected, this canal greenway is relatively flat and thus a gentle cycle or walk along its stretches. And there is some great scenery, wildlife and history to be explored and enjoyed along the route.
We cannot wait to explore it in full, once restrictions are lifted – and one of our active members, David Butterly, is hoping to get his bike hire business on the Royal Canal up and running once again. Check him out at Royal Canal Bike Hire in Maynooth if you get the chance to visit the greenway – and encourage your friends to enjoy this wonderful resource!