Royal Canal Greenway

ROYAL CANAL greenway

Greenway at a glance

Waymarking – Green Arrows

Distance

130 km

Difficulty

Easy - Moderate

Ascent

22m

Terrain

Greenway Custom designed trail

Duration

Allow 13-20 hrs cycling

Minimum Gear

A good bike

Services

Longford and numerous villages

Enchanting Royal canal greenway

The enchanting Royal Canal Greenway is a 130km off-road greenway in Ireland. It will be one of the longest cycle trail greenways of Ireland on completion. Most of the work has been completed now and is ready to launch the greenway soon for tourists. The Greenway track along the level towpath of Royal Canal. It was constructed between Dublin and Longford in the 18th century to connect the River Liffey and River Shannon. The Waterways Ireland has redeveloped the greenway now. The purpose of the recreation of the greenway is the reconnection between Maynooth in Co. Kildare to Longford Town and Cloondara. The Royal Canal Greenway has some bits of the National Famine Way. The Greenway starting from cosmopolitan Maynooth passes through a good range of counties Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, and Longford. The Royal Canal Way Ireland trail follows grass, gravel, and sometimes asphalt roads from the Dublin suburb of Ashtown and stretches 105 kilometers to the town of Cloondara in Longford. There is a good variety of overnight accommodation options along most of the route, but some sections are relatively easy to navigate and return to your starting point by public transport. In addition to the beautiful unspoiled expanses of countryside the route offers, there are a number of significant examples of late 18th-century industrial heritage buildings to appreciate along the way. In Mullingar, County Westmeath, the Royal Canal Greenway meets the Old Rail Trail, which then heads southwest towards Athlone. Plans to further develop this greenway to Galway are well advanced and, when completed, will form part of the EuroVelo network of long-distance cycle routes in Europe from Galway to Moscow.

plan your greenway cycle

About the Royal Canal Greenway

The construction work of the 146 km long Royal Canal began in 1790. The canal was built to connect the River Liffey in the Irish capital Dublin with the upper River Shannon. In 1817, the construction work of the canal was completely finished. Royal Canal ran in opposition to the Grand Canal that went on an almost parallel route course not more than thirty kilometers (30 km) towards the south. The Royal Canal stretched from Dublin to the River Shannon, cutting its way through Enfield and surrounding areas. The flyboats became the most popular mean of traveling or to transport goods. These horses were used to run these flyboats. Earlier the diggers and excavators aged, this mind-blowing scheme is a testament to the engineers, stonemasons, and many laborers who worked on the 146km manmade channel. In the middle of the 19th century, the two canals were rendered unnecessary by the arrival of the railways. In 1950, the Royal Canal started destroyed due to negligence and disrepair and was officially closed by the official authorities in 1961. In recent decades, the canal has been reinstated for the entertainment of locals and tourists. The towpath is now designated as a marked national route – The Royal Canal Way. Along its route are bridges over 200 years old and Abbeyshrule buildings that are over 800 years old. Rustic and industrial landscapes combine to spin fields, pretty waterside villages, working locks, and historic landmarks. Deep Sinking, Blanchardstown (4 km); Fingal Council have appointed design engineers to examine the problem of upgrading the deep sinking. 

Royal Canal Greenway Map​

There are many spots to explore and see on the Royal Canal Greenway. To make sure you see all the highlights of the trail and route, also are sure to travel with the map of the Greenway. Having a map will allow you to see all the highlights of the lush enchanting Royal Canal greenway. The map includes all access points Bars, Cafes, accommodation, Picnic Areas, or Picnic Spots and better translation of routes on grassy towpaths of canal roads. In case of emergency dial 999.

Things You Need To Know

Sections of the Royal Greenway

  • Dublin Phase I: Guild St. to Upper Sheriff St. 0.5 Km
  • Fingal: Ashtown, 10th lock to 12th lock atCastleknock; 2.5 km.
  • Kildare to Longford: Maynooth Harbour to Richmond harbour on the River Shannon; 120 km.
  • Longford:  Longford Town via Killashee to Richmond Harbour, Clondra; 16.5 km

How Long will it take me to Cycle?

The Royal Canal Greenway is a 130km off-road greenway. Most chunks of the greenway are in the construction phase. You need to check on section breakdowns above to estimate the exact time required of the Greenway for a typical user to cycle in one day.

Main Towns of Greenway

  • Dublin
  • Enfield
  • Maynooth
  • Mullingar
  • Longford

Royal Canal Greenway Route

There are four different sections on the Royal Canal Greenway. All sections are marked with the Greenway symbol and a white directional scroll arrow and are perfect for average healthy people. Royal Canal Way is ideal for walkers, runners, and cyclists of all age groups with enchanting and ravishing views of the clean main road, trail, and banks. Most people speak the local language here. Google helps in better translation to understand.

Royal Canal Greenway - Dublin

The two short sections have been completed in Dublin. Most of the Dublin section of the Greenway that is on the north side of Dublin is in the planning phase or construction phase. It is expected to be completed by 2021. One 0.5 km trail section between Guild Street and Upper Sheriff Street has been completed. A 2.5 km section has been completed between Ashtown and Castleknock. Enfield train station is operational from Dublin to Sligo. It has usual stops at its platform. 

Royal Canal Greenway -Enfield

Approximately 14 miles of the Royal Canal Greenway runs through Meath, with the main access points at Enfield, Longwood, and Hill of Down. County Meath Council recently installed storyboard panels at these locations which provide information on the region’s natural and cultural heritage. Located on the main Dublin to Sligo rail line, and with hotels, country houses, and B & Bs available, Enfield is a lovely place to stay overnight on your Royal Canal Adventure. In Irish, the Enfield town is known as An Bóthar Buí (the yellow road) which arose from the cattle markets that were traditionally held. Usually, the main street of the city is covered with yellow hay. The historic Boyne River enters Meath near Longwood, where it can also connect to the Boyne Blueway Trim. Maynooth is the commercial heart of Kildare, with a number of big outlets offering lots of retail options. The hope is the Royal Canal Greenway from Spencer Dock to Maynooth will complete on time. However, it is not clear yet by Waterway Ireland when it will be finished. This project will open a new era of tourism in the whole of south Meath, north Kildare, and north Westmeath trail.

Royal Canal Greenway - Westmeath

The well-developed Royal Canal Greenway stretches 46 km through County Westmeath, from the County Meath border in the east to the County Longford border in the west of the county. A 2.5-mile spur of Loch Owel stretches north of the Royal Canal Greenway at Mullingar to the picturesque shores of the Loch Owel. The Old Rail Trail can be accessed from the Mullingar. It runs along an old railway line between Mullingar and Athlone. Plans are underway to continue the Old Rail Trail to Galway, creating a direct off-road route between Dublin and Galway! 49 miles from Dublin, in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East, the bustling market of National Famine Way and the Old Rail Trail Greenway to lively Mullingar in County Westmeath is the best spot to spend a day or a weekend exploring the Royal Canal Greenway. With excellent facilities, award-winning hotels, guesthouses, and activities for all ages, you’ll have plenty of options for your trip. The Greenway can be toured in any direction from Mullingar. Unique to this section of the Greenway is the 22 km Royal Canal Blueway. From Mullingar Harbor, the Royal Canal Blueway Trail runs 12 km east to McNeads Bridge and 11 km west to Coolnahay Harbor. This paddle trail is great for discovering what it’s like to dive into the water! Located in Mullingar Harbor, Blueway Activity Zone is the perfect place to hire a bike from Mullingar Bike Hire or start your Blueway water adventure. The activities area also offers to park of cycle, toilets, showers, and changing rooms on the trail.

Royal Canal Greenway - Longford

The beautiful county Longford comes in the western direction of the Royal Canal Greenway from  Abbeyshrule in Ballymahon. Then the road takes a sharp turn north through the county to the Cloondara port town, situated on the River Shannon bank and on the edge line with County Roscommon. One of the larger towns along the Royal Canal Greenway, Longford offers plenty of accommodation services options and refreshment spots to eat and drink after a tiring walk or cycling of the Greenway. The Charming Cloondara village is the most significant spot in your journey. It is an amazing spot with the magnificent cut-stone Richmond Harbour that is home to plenty of barge boats. Before setting off, the Richmond Inn is the ideal spot to enjoy a hearty lunch at the Richmond Harbour on the River Shannon. The restaurant owners and local people are more friendly and happy here. You can also explore The Shannon Blueway from this location.

Accessible points of Greenway in County Longford

  • Abbeyshrule
  • Ballymahon
  • Keenagh
  • Killashee
  • Cloondara
  • Longford Town

Royal Canal Greenway Highlights

The Old Rail Trail

The Royal Canal Greenway and the Old Rail Trail both meet at Mullingar. It travels south towards the bustling town of Athlone. Between these two towns, you will hear enchanting birdsong and the whirr of the spokes on your bike.

Belvedere House

Belvedere House is located in a sprawling 160-acre lakeside estate. It is 5km away on the N52, south of Mullingar. It has beautiful carved Irish oak fireplaces inlaid with Italian marble. The highlight is the magnificent craftsmanship of its rococo stucco ceilings.

Mullingar Blueway Trail & Activity Zone

This spot is amazing incorporation of the Royal Canal Greenway journey. It is a paddling trail and perfect for experiencing how is it is like to take to the water itself! It is situated in Mullingar Harbour. The Blueway Trail and Activity Zone is the best location for hiring a bike on-water Blueway Adventure.

Hill of Uisneach

As Ireland’s mythological and sacred center, the Hill of Uisneach is an eye-catching spot because of its historic and medieval craftwork of earth and monuments. You can come here by taking a 6km redirection from Castletown Railway Station.

National Famine Way

Along the south Royal Canal Greenway, the National Famine Way is located. It is a 167km walking trail that marks the poignant ill-fated story of assisted emigration in Ireland during the Famine in 1847.

Royal Canal Bike Hire

Ireland

Royal Canal Amenity Group

Royal Canal Amenity Group

The Royal Canal Amenity Groups’ core objective is to promote recreation, heritage, education, and tourism along Irelands 145 Km liner parkway that is the Royal Canal. Contact the Royal Canal management for more details or visit the Waterways Ireland advertising sites. Roscommon with Custom House Quay in Dublin. Read more here Royal Canal Runner Gary O’Daly, an ultra-distance runner, writes about exploring the tarmac canal-side roads banks of Ireland Historic Canals.

frequently asked questions

FAQ's

Where can I rent a bike to do the Royal Canal Greenway?

There is a number of bike rentals services along the Royal Greenway. Visit the greenway bike hire for this purpose.

I haven’t cycled a bike in years, can I still do the trail?

Yes! The trail is mostly very flat and easy to cycle, so is manageable for anyone who is reasonably fit and healthy.

Can I do the trail with young kids?

Yes! Kids can pass the Trail on their own bikes, in a child-seat, or on an adult/ child tandem that most bike rental outfits provide.

useful amenities

Water Stations

visitors to some of the most popular sections of the Greenway will be able to refill their water bottles at a number of specially designed water bottle refill stations. These are ideally suited to cyclists who have greater difficulty in accessing suitable drinking water points on their journey.

 

Playgrounds near the greenway

 the Greenway is a wonderful facility and its important to keep children’s interest with activity and fun along the way. So grab a ball, go exploring and have some fun!