Deise Greenway

We were both looking forward to the official opening of the Waterford Greenway so once it opened we booked a Friday off work to try it out.

With Richard hailing from Clonmel we stayed the Thursday night in his homeplace and set off early Friday morning for Dungarvan.

Since the Deise greenway opened, a host of bike rental shops have opened, so you will be spoilt for choice, we rented our bikes from Waterford Greenway Bike Hire who are based in Abbeyside, Dungarvan.  There is free parking available in the Eurospar nearby and you can hop on the Greenway close by at Strandside.

It costs €20 per bike to rent for the day and that includes a lift back from one of their depots in Kilmacthomas or Waterford – pretty good bargain. You can also rent an electric bike for €45 per day, ideal if you haven’t cycled in years.

Alternatively, if you have your own bike a good place to start is just outside Dungarvan, the townland of Garrnageragh (click on link to see google maps). There are good parking facilities here and there free!!

As you leave Dungarvan, you have some nice views of Clonea Strand but a little further, you are met with the views of Dungarvan Bay below:

Copper Coast, Waterford
Dungarvan Bay

Next up is the Ballyvoyle Tunnel.  Cyclists are advised to dismount going through this – good advise because it’s pitch black and I nearly collided with another cyclist in there!! Next time I’ll have a front light on as a warning. The approach to the tunnel looks like something from a rain forest as a colleague commented on seeing the picture!!

Waterford train tunnel
Ballyvoyle Tunnel

After 10 km you have the opportunity to stop for a breather at O’Mahony’s Pub and Shop, we were feeling fresh and fit so kept on the move.

You pass over Durrow viaduct soon after and around 12 km later you arrive at Kilmacthomas viaduct.

We decided to hang to the right and head towards the village and were rewarded with a stunning view of the Viaduct:

Waterford viaduct
Kilmacthomas Viaduct

After a quick feed in a cafe in Kilmacthomas we cycled back up onto the Viaduct.

Just outside Kilmacthomas is the bike hire’s depot, a substantial looking coffee shop and a Famine Workhouse museum. We didn’t stop here and continued on our merry way.

As you’re cycling along towards Kilmeaden, there are some nice views of the Comeragh mountains on your left.

Mountain range Waterford
Comeragh Mountains

Next stop was Suir Valley Railway in Kilmeaden.

Waterford train
Kilmeaden Suir Valley Railway Train

This is a voluntary run, family friendly railway that travels along the picturesque banks of the River Suir.  It’s located 1 km outside the village of Kilmeaden and you’ll pass it on the Greenway.  It’s good for a stop as they have an old railway carriage that serves refreshments.

Old Irish train carriage
Kilmeaden Suir Valley Railway

We headed for Waterford which is about 17 km of a cycle from here.

Close to Waterford City the Greenway finishes and we cycled a few kilometres on local roads to get to Rice Bridge in Waterford.

There was some roadworks taking place on these roads so hopefully they’ll have some segregated bike lanes to bring cyclists safely into the city.

We dropped our bikes back to the depot on Hanover Street and waited for our lift back to Dungarvan.

The Greenway is a top class facility and a very enjoyable day out.

There’s some slight inclines and I’d recommend using a hybrid bike for a bit more comfort on parts of the Greenway.

We’ve cycled the Old Rail Trail and the Mayo Western Greenway but the Waterford Greenway leads the way because of the scenery and facilities along the route.

 

Old Rail Trail

We cycled the new Westmeath Greenway along the old Mullingar-Athlone railway line.   This is the Westmeath section of the Dublin–Galway Greenway and extends from the existing Royal Canal Greenway in Mullingar to the town of Athlone.  It will be known as the Old Rail Trail Greenway and is for recreational cyclists and walkers.

Mullingar Greenway Train bridge
Train Bridge

The walking and cycling route is on a tarmacadam surface and is suitable for road bikes, the route runs alongside the railway tracks and is about 40 kilometres from Mullingar to Athlone.  As it runs on the old train line, the route is nice and flat and is an easy cycle for all levels of fitness and ages.  It is safe to cycle on, as no cars, motorbikes or horses are allowed on the route.  We passed by lots of families and kids cycling, roller-bladers and people out walking.

Mullingar greenway
Old Rail Trail Greenway
Road bikes
Mullingar Greenway is suitable for road bikes

We started the route opposite the Mullingar train station and cycled along the Royal Canal for about 2 kilometres before continuing on the Old Rail Trail section of the Greenway, we cycled about 11 kilometres from Mullingar and then back.

Mullingar Greenway train tracks

The route goes passed scenic Westmeath farming countryside and at stages you cycle on a height as the route runs along on the old train embarkments and we cycled under quaint old stone rail bridges.

As the new Greenway runs between Mullingar – Moate – Athlone, it is accessible from several locations, you could make a weekend of it and get the train to Mullingar, (the Connolly Dublin to Sligo train line) spend the day cycling to Athlone at a leisurely pace, stay over night in Athlone and either return to Mullingar or get a train from Athlone, (the Heuston Dublin to Galway train line).  We used our own bikes but there are several bike rental shops opened in Mullingar and Athlone, where you can rent a bike.

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Exploring Mayo

We spent three days in Westport in county Mayo in the west of Ireland.  Westport is a lively town with a great atmosphere and lots of things to do.

Croagh patrick

On the first day we climbed Croagh Patrick mountain, which is located about 10 kilometres outside of Westport.  There are great views from the top of Clew bay. The weather can turn as we found out, heavy rain and gale force winds! so wear lots of layers, even in Summertime.

#croaghpatrick #Wesport #nature #mountain #CoMayo #Ireland #LovingIreland @insta_ireland

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The second day, in the morning, we drove out to Achill Island and drove around the island, taking in the beautiful views of the wild Atlantic coast.

 

wESTPORT

In the afternoon we strolled around Westport town, which is a heritage town. The town was built in the 1780’s in a Georgian architectural style, for the workers and tenants on the John Browne estate, the Marquis of Sligo.  The town has lots of lovely old buildings and a riverside Mall walk.

 

 

Mayo Greenway

On the third day, we hired bikes and cycled from Westport to Newport and back again on the Mayo Great Western Greenway cycle route, which was 22 kilometres in total.  From Newport, you can cycle onto Mulranny which is another 18 kilometres and from there to Achill Island which is another 13 kilometres.  The Greenway is 42 kilometres one way to Achill Island. There are several bike rental shops located in Westport, which offer handy shuttle services, they will drop you out to Achill Island, Mulranny or Newport and you can cycle back or you can depart from Westport and arrange to be collected from one of those locations.

We used regular bikes but if you haven’t cycled in many years, I recommend getting an electric bike, especially if you plan on cycling the full route, the route is mainly flat but there are some hills.

Dining out

We had dinner in JJ O’Malley’s bar & restaurant, the food was excellent here, I recommend the salmon fillet dish and also the Clock Tower restaurant.

For drinks we went to the famous Matt Molloys pub, which is owned by one of the Chieftains band.  The pub has a trad session every night. We also had drinks in MacBride’s pub, MJ. Hobans bar and The Porter house bar, which also host trad sessions.

Have you cycled the Mayo Greenway or climbed Croagh Patrick ? Let us know how you got on.

Click here to find out what to do and see in North Mayo.

Cycling along the Grand Canal

Cycling from Dublin city to Celbridge, Kildare

If you are looking to get out of Dublin city for the day, a good idea is to rent bikes and cycle along the Grand Canal. You can cycle along the canal towpath on a flat safe surface, away from the busy roads.  After 25 kilometres, you will discover the old restored Lyons village  in County Kildare.  It’s a picturesque old village built on the banks of the Grand Canal outside Celbridge in Kildare. The original village dates back to the mid 18th Century and  sprang up from the development of the Grand Canal and was based around a Water Mill.  The village was largely abandoned by the turn of the 20th Century with the decline of the Canal transport industry, then in the 1990’s,  a Historical restoration project brought the village back to life.  Today, it is known as Cliff at Lyons village, after the hotel group that own and run the old buildings as a cafe and hotel.

Village courtyard Lyons
The Village at Lyons Courtyard, outside Celbridge in County Kildare

In 1786, the impressive Lyons mansion which overlooks the village was built, which you can catch a glimpse of from the village.  In recent times, the large manor house, was bought and restored by Tony Ryan, the founder of Ryanair.


I thought at first, when I saw photos of Lyons village, that it was recently built like the Kildare shopping village but the majority of buildings are original 19th century buildings and have been restored. There is a cafe, restaurant and holiday apartments and a few stores, including a children’s toy store and arts & crafts store but no pub or church so I guess it’s not technically a proper Irish village!

Village shop at Lyons
The Cliff village at Lyons, old shops

It can be rented out for weddings and the wedding party would have the village to themselves for the big day. It gets a lot of walkers and cyclists, stopping by, as they go along the Grand Canal.  The day we visited, we sat outside and had afternoon tea, after cycling along the Grand Canal via Newcastle village in west county Dublin.

A nice idea for a day out, you can cycle from south Dublin city centre, starting at Ringsend and cycle along passed Grand Canal Dock, Ranelagh, Portobello, Rathmines, Harolds Cross, Crumlin, Clondalkin, Lucan  and onto the Lyons village in Kildare, this is a distance of 25 kilometres via the Grand Canal route.

You could take a Dublin bike and cycle along the Grand Canal towpath. If you are visiting Dublin for a few days, you can sign up to Dublin bikes or rent bikes from the bike rental shops.  We cycled as far as the new towpath and got off at Lucan and travelled up to Newcastle village by the road and from there to Lyons village. Unless you are cycling on a mountain bike I would recommend taking this route as after Lucan the towpath is more grassy and rough so wouldn’t be suitable for a road bike or the Dublin bikes.

cycle route dublin
Grand Canal Towpath Dublin

Another cycle or walking trail, you can do is the Arthur’s Way heritage trail, located around Celbridge and Leixlip in Kildare, it takes in places of interest connected to the famous Guinness brewery family.

Looking for other cycling and walking ideas in Ireland, check out our Greenway blogs posts.

 

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