130km Royal Canal Greenway is virtual launched

Ireland’s longest greenway section of greenway — the Royal Canal Greenway as it runs through Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford — is to get a virtual launch this morning ahead of what is expected to be another Summer of domestic-focused holidays.

IrishCycle.com published a review of the Royal Canal Greenway last summer after having cycled it before the first lockdown last year. The official

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Greenway links Maynooth, Enfield, Mullingar, Longford and Cloondara. In Mullingar the route also links to Athlone via the Old Rail Trail.

The section of greenway was completed by Waterways Ireland; the four local authorities of Kildare, Longford, Meath and Westmeath County Councils; the Department of Transport, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

For now, the eastern starting point of this section of the route is in Maynooth, mainly because the complexities and delays of building the route in the Dublin City Council and Fingal Council Council areas. The greenway in the Dublin area is also more so the responsibility of the National Transport Authority as it’s seen as part of the planned Greater Dublin Area cycle network.

The greenway between the Dublin Docklands and Maynooth is in various states including fully opened section and sections yet to be upgraded, including very rough paths not suitable for most bicycles. IrishCycle.com recently covered the latest update on the problematic Dublin 15 section known as the Deep Sinking.

The route is also part of the planned Dublin to Galway project which has been delayed west of Athlone. This in turn forms part of the EuroVelo 2 Capitals Route, a 5,000km that passes through Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belarus and Russia.

Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan said: “We are delighted to launch the Royal Canal Greenway, a game changer for outdoor tourism, and leisure in Ireland and part of a growing network of greenways we will fund over the lifetime of this government. As Ireland’s longest greenway, stretching from the towns of Maynooth, Enfield, Mullingar, Longford and Cloondara, the Royal Canal Greenway has huge potential to serve as a haven for so many looking to get out and get active.”

“In the past year, Ireland’s great outdoors has proved to be a lifeline for the nation, with a surge in those running, walking and cycling. When we travel again, the Royal Canal Greenway will be a fantastic attraction ready to be enjoyed by all and is easily accessible from towns and cities across Ireland including via public transport,” said Minister Ryan.

He added: “There really is no better way to experience the unspoilt open scenery, wonderful waterways, peaceful atmosphere and rich history of Ireland’s Ancient East and Hidden Heartlands than on the off-road Royal Canal Greenway.”

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Malcolm Noonan 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.”

He added: “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. As we look to a greener future, this Greenway will be an instrumental vehicle for the promotion and development of sustainable tourism in Ireland.”

CEO of Waterways Ireland John McDonagh stated: “We thank all stakeholders for their involvement, in particular the local communities who have been so invested in this Greenway. For them, this will have added economic benefits through job and new business creation with a wide range of accommodation options, bike hire offerings, attractions, as well as restaurants and cafes along the route. We ask the people of Ireland, when safe to do so, to uncover the treasures of the Royal Canal Greenway, an unforgettable new addition to the Irish outdoor adventure scene.”

More details can be found at royalcanalgreenway.org.


  1. Is this not a rehash of previous announcements? Also, it’s clear from the statements that there is very one-dimensional thinking in relation to Greenways – it’s all about tourism and leisure. What about Greenways as a means of facilitating safe, sustainable transport? The section from Lucan (Collins Bridge) to Clonsilla Train Station has not been completed, and is very hard going unless you have a mountain bike. If they finished that section, it would link Lucan village with Clonsilla and Blanchardstown, and people could use it to commute to work. The section from Lucan, west towards Leixlip and onto Maynooth has only partially completed sections. Again, where is the joined up thinking on safe, sustainable transport within the Greater Dublin area, where there is significant potential here to reduce commuting by car? When are the NTA going to get the finger out?

    • @Kevin the press release is essentially a marketing announcement. But the article includes the contrast on how there’s still delays in Dublin.

      I didn’t want to push that angle too much as it’s a good news story that people who who want to do a cycling holiday (but won’t cycle on main roads) now have access to two linked greenways of something like 170km in one direction.

      I don’t think it’s a rehashing — because of COVID-19, I don’t think the route was ever launched. I cycled it just before the first lockdown and reviewed it in the summer when restrictions were eased, but again I don’t think there was an official launch then. I might be to blame for covering it twice but if I didn’t cover it, I’d be accused of covering only negative / critical stories.

      • Hi Cian,

        Sorry, my comment was not meant to come across as criticising your coverage of it; far from it. And agreed, it is of course a good news story (at least partially). Maybe I should have prefaced my comment with that. My criticism is aimed at the Government and their agencies who have dragged their feet on this for years. I used to cycle the back roads from Lucan to Blanchardstown to get to work. However, the traffic “profile” has changed in the last 10 years – increased volume, too many close passes and I am older now. I simply won’t use that road any more. I’d gladly cycle the canal route though, if my hybrid bike with 700x28C tyres, my shoulders and wrists weren’t going to be in bits by the time I got to Clonsilla.

  2. I think Fingal Co. Co. should sub divide their section of the greenway and build the section from Cope’s landing to Clonsilla or perhaps to Coolmine. This could be done while waiting to resolve issues with residents for the section from Clonsilla to Castleknock

  3. Waterways Ireland or KildareCoCo should fix up the section from Louisa bridge to Confey they banjaxed 2 years ago, at a minimum. and really should have all the Kildare section fixed.
    This would allow people to safely cycle from and to Maynooth, Intel, Leixlip and avoid both the 80kmh speed limit road from Maynooth ot Intel and the large height loss/gain getting through Leixlip by road.

  4. This is of course good news but I would agree that the focus should be on transport and connectivity before tourism and leisure.

    The section from Maynooth to Porterstown Bridge does not have any technical challenges and needs to be completed as soon as possible. It would instantly open up a direct, quick and sustainable transport link between Lucan/North Kildare and Dublin 15. It is idiotic to lump it in with the more troublesome section between Porterstown and Castleknock that everyone knows will be dragged out by local resistance to the bitter end.

    Also agree that Waterways made a complete mess of the bank on what used to be a beautiful section. Thought maybe they were starting to build the cycle way at the time, but it looks like they were facilitating drainage for new construction and leaving an ugly mess in their wake. I had hoped they would have cleaned it up by now, but it doesn’t sound like they have. I do wonder about the priorities of that crowd sometimes.


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