A family cycling trip in the heartland of Ireland


Because the spring solar hit our backs biking alongside the Royal Canal Greenway, it was official – regardless of not a lot biking expertise, a household biking journey was the right method to uncover extra of Eire’s hidden heartlands.

To place our biking expertise in context earlier than this journey, I am going to provide the breakdown: the 2 ladies (aged 4 and eight) have bikes, one nonetheless with stabilisers on; I’ve my Dad’s very outdated Racer bike within the shed which will get a run out as soon as a summer time to the seafront that we reside close by; my spouse is, let’s consider, an unseasoned bike owner.

However it did not put us off this Greenway journey and, in the long run, it did not maintain us again both from actually having fun with it.

We had been invited as a household of 4 to search out out what the Royal Canal Greenway was all about. It’s the longest greenway in Eire, working from Maynooth to Clondra – crossing Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, and Longford on its approach. Beginning in busy Maynooth, it follows the 200 yr outdated canal via Enfield and full of life Mullingar to Cloondara in Longford, with cafés, picnic spots and points of interest alongside the way in which.

A former towpath for barges, the Royal Canal Greenway options 90 bridges, 33 locks, 17 harbours and 4 aqueducts that took practically 30 years to construct. Now it has been restored to a really interesting, tranquil vacation vacation spot which you’ll discover abruptly or select the shorter designated routes — starting from 6km to 15km between the 14 connecting entry factors and cities.

And it has develop into actually in style, as greater than 640,000 journeys have been taken on this Greenway because it opened in March 2021.

It is also been an amazing enhance for the native enterprise – a few of which we had been fortunate sufficient to go to – as 17 new companies have opened and 13 companies have confirmed that they’ve pivoted or expanded their enterprise to supply for Greenway clients.

The 130km amenity is a joint initiative between Waterways Eire and the native authorities in these areas.

Our Royal Canal Greenway journey began on a Friday night in Maynooth with an in a single day keep on the Glenroyal Lodge. After battling the Friday visitors it was an amazing tonic to get such a stunning welcome after we entered the lodge. The 2 ladies had been whisked away to ‘check-in’ to the youngsters membership, whereas my spouse and I received a complete tour of the deceptively massive lodge.

The swimming pool, children passports, and children golf equipment had been the highlights for the little ones. There’s a very nice contact within the lodge the place there may be an ‘adults solely’ pool. In order that after we went with the youngsters to the household pool, there was plenty of noise and different children so, fortunately, we weren’t annoying anybody who was simply within the water for a number of quiet lengths.

Children membership was a giant hit!

For the adults, the Arkle Bar is basically busy with a pleasant, inviting vibe. We had been invited to attempt dinner in The Enclosure Restaurant which is led by Government Head Chef, Bernard McGuane.

The A La Carte menu is straightforward however performed very nicely. Steak is a significant theme with blackboards across the restaurant detailing cuts of steaks like Tomahawk which are accessible as sharing boards.

The Sirloin steaks we ordered had been scrumptious and got here out medium-rare as ordered, however with a stunning crispy end on high. It was an ideal meal, as the ladies devoured their child’s meals to hurry again as much as the youngsters membership for film evening. A meal in peace with high quality meals isn’t taken with no consideration by drained mother and father.

On checkout the following morning (after one other fast swimming pool dip!) we visited the Shoda Market Café, which is open to the general public for espresso, items, wine and sandwiches.

After a hearty lunch on the Hamlet Court Hotel in Kildare we had been then en path to our first cycle on the Royal Canal Greenway. As we watched the skies for rain, we pulled into Mullingar Bike Rent. The family-run enterprise have plenty of bikes accessible and plenty of recommendation about routes and what would possibly fit your biking celebration. We selected a tandem bike for my 8-year-old daughter and I, whereas my spouse and 4-year-old took an electrical bike and trailer combo.

With the assistance of the stunning workers, we selected a brief canal cycle as much as a playground. They even made positive we received throughout the street safely earlier than we began the cycle. We actually weren’t positive what to anticipate, but it surely was a stunning spin, within the stunning spring solar. It took us round 45 minutes to succeed in the playground, a fast cease and we motored again.

The tandem bike crew constructed up good pace on the way in which house, whereas the electrical bike and trailer cyclists loved the surroundings a bit extra. It was an exquisite introduction to the Royal Canal Greenway.

That evening we stayed within the Mullingar Park Lodge, a busy lodge on the outskirts of the city. We dipped into the city as we had been invited to attempt the tasty pizzas on the City Forge Pizza & Café which is nicely located in the principle avenue. The pizza was of a really top quality, however the biking was getting the higher of us so we referred to as it an early evening.

The following day noticed our subsequent cycle, this time in Longford with the assistance of Anne-Marie and John from the Ballymahon Greenway Cycles. Once more, like their Mullingar counterparts, they’ve an enormous collection of bikes and a wealth of information of the Greenway. We received nice recommendation about which path to take and what we may count on on the cycle.

John from Ballymahon Greenway Cycles sorting us out!

This time we had been headed on about an hour-long cycle to the 2_mugs_coffee trailer and selected two electrical bikes with a trailer every for the ladies.

High tip: When deciding on what path to take, particularly if you’re newbies like us, it was an excellent to move for a specific vacation spot. It helps drive issues alongside on the way in which there and you do not really feel the cycle again then after the remainder and occasional.

It turned out to be two nice decisions because the bikes had been wonderful in taking over the hills and zooming us alongside, whereas the ladies had been tucked up properly. We took a spin to the espresso trailer and after being taken care of by Toni with coffees and ice lotions, the ladies grabbed a donut every for the journey again and we headed for Ballymahon once more.

2_mugs_coffee ice cream for the win!

The solar was shining, and the swans adopted us alongside the canal – it was an ideal Sunday outing and one thing that we might positively do once more.

Our midlands journey ended with a hearty feed within the Rustic Inn, Abbeyshrule earlier than heading again to Dublin.

The Particulars:

Location: Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, and Longford.

Lodging: We keep as a friends at each lodges.

Actions: Mullingar Bike Hire and Ballymahon Greenway Cycles – each took care of your bike rental wants on a complementary foundation and are an amazing supply of information for Greenway routes.

Thanks additionally to the Hamlet Court Hotel Kildare, City Forge Pizza & Café in Mullingar, Rustic Inn Abbeyshrule, Co. Longford and 2_mugs_coffee for inviting us on a complimentary foundation to attempt their companies.

An interactive map of the Royal Canal Greenway displaying completely different companies alongside the way in which can be found here.

To plan your individual itinerary, route and for extra journey data on the Royal Canal Greenway go to: www.royalcanalgreenway.org

There are a variety of comparable greenways round Eire, simply ready to be explored. Digital Dad went to the Limerick Greenway, whereas the Gastro Gays spent 48 hours on the Waterford Greenway .





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