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
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.
It's better to take your time and experience all that the #royalcanalgreenway has to offer but if you're interested in knowing roughly estimated 'touring' times for cycling between towns then you may find this useful. @IrishCycle @dublincycling @IAAT_ie pic.twitter.com/GRgKCbF5ab— Dublin Galway Greenway (@dublingalwaygw) March 24, 2021