Greenway at a glance
The Waterford Greenway is one of Ireland’s best kept cycling secrets.
The Waterford Greenway – a 46 –kilometer paved path for cyclists and walkers which follows the River Suir from Waterford City south to Dungarvan. This wonderful greenway is a great way to discover Waterford and is becoming more popular every day thanks to the idyllic scenery, historical buildings, and lovely towns.
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About Waterford Greenway
The 41km (25 miles) Waterford Greenway starts in Kilmeaden and finishes in Dungarvan and is a combination of towpath and green space with the River Suir in the middle. It’s fantastic for recreational use and ideal for visitors to and locals alike wanting and discovering and exploring the countryside of Waterford in a leisurely way.
The trail goes right through the center of towns and villages so you see the rural landscape of Waterford in a really special way.
The Greenway has been designed to be accessible to everyone, with a focus on low maintenance. It is suitable for people of all ages and abilities, whether you are out walking the family dog or cycling down with your club.
The Greenway follows the river for much of its route so if you’re looking for an activity that really involves getting involved with nature, the Greenway is perfect for you.
THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
Waterford Greenway sections
- Stage 1: Waterford City to Killoteran (7.5km)
- Stage 2: Killoteran to Kilmeadan (3km)
- Stage 3: Kilmeadan to Kilmacthomas (13.5km)
- Stage 4: Kilmacthomas to Durrow (12km)
- Stage 5: Durrow to Clonea Road (6km)
- Stage 6: Clonea Road to Dungarvan (4km)
How Long will it take me to Cycle?
It’s no secret that Waterford Greenway has become one of Ireland’s biggest tourist attractions. With the majority of the route flattish, it’s a great choice for anyone looking to get outdoors for exercise or explore the many interesting towns along the way.
It runs for a distance of 43.3kms from Toomevara in North Tipperary, to Dungarvan Harbour in Waterford City. The Greenway traverses flat lands for most of its length, making it very accessible for all ages and skill levels.
It would take me at least 3 – 4 hours to cycle the route, one way. We would suggest budgeting a full day of cycling
Places to Park
- WIT West Campus 52.25464 – 7.18054
- Killoteran 52.24492 – 7.20525
- Kilmeadan 52.24644 – 7.24664
- Workhouse 52.20199 – 7.40631
- Station 52.20609 – 7.42098
- Mill 52.205858 – 7.424621
- McGrath’s Cross 52.1899 – 7.46559
- Shanacool 52.129048 – 7.506394
- Scartore 52.100245 – 7.565395
- Dungarvan 52.092489 – 7.616947
WATERFORD GREENWAY ROUTE
The Waterford Greenway is Ireland’s first long distance walking and cycling trails. It opened in July 2010 and follows an old railway line through County Waterford. The railway that the greenway follows was built in the 1840’s to carry coal, limestone, and other goods between Waterford City, Kilmeaden, and Mount Melleray Abbey. The route was closed to freight after 2009 but reopened as a walking and cycling trail.
There are only just over 7 kilometers between the City and Annestown but there’s so much to see and do along the way and lots of ways to extend your route if you have time. The Greenway is a great option for those wanting to experience a taste of Waterford and part of its heritage with little exertion.
You set out this morning for a nice easy run along the river Suir to Tipperary. Along the way, you’ll pass Power’s Quay which was once known as “The Harbour of Kings”. You can continue up the river past the Waterford Crystal glassworks factory, to Mount Congreve which you can scale for stunning views. Keep going and you’ll pass Woodstown, the archaeological site of the 8th century Viking settlement that predates the city of Waterford. Artifacts can be seen at the Waterford Museum of Treasures and at Reginald’s Tower.
You’ll be cycling through the lush heart of Ireland, where there is abundant wildlife and the famous Suir Valley is home to rare birds such as choughs and red-billed choughs. Arriving in Carrick-on-Suir you will find a cluster of great places to stay and eat including The Georgian House Hotel and the Crane Hotel. If you like history, don’t miss Carrick Castle, one of the best-preserved archaeological sites in Ireland.
Follow the twists and turns of the Suir as it flows south through the green fields of the Golden Vale to Carrick-on-Suir. The town grew up around a Norman Castle and Monastery built-in 1185 A.D. It was once the principal port city on the River Suir, but over time silting and re-routing of the river took its toll and eventually led to its decline as a port city.
Waterford’s river walk is actually the main route of the famous R574 path, also known as the southern bank of the River Suir Way. The other side of the Suir is known as the north bank.
KILLOTERAN TO KILMEADEN
The Killoteran to Kilmeadan section is also the most diverse of all the sections of the Greenway. On this flat and easy part, you can spot a number of ruins from medieval times, as well as a Norman castle. You can also visit Mount Congreve Gardens or explore the ruins of a medieval church at Kilmeadan.
The Greenway passes through Killoteran Bog where over 100 species of plants, fish, and insects have been found. On your right are four-bay lime kilns used in the 19th century to burn lime for farming and whitewashing houses. There are points along the towpath where you can stop to refill water bottles or take a brief break.
There are plenty of gorgeous water views in this section. Keep an eye out for wildflowers, butterflies, and dragonflies.
KILMEADEN TO KILMACTHOMAS
The Waterford Way runs along the border of County Cork and County Waterford, with dramatic views of the River Suir, passing through the village of Kilmacthomas. On this stretch, you’ll encounter occasional ups and downs on a mostly flat surface. You’re entering a more rural area of the route now, with evidence of farming and livestock all around you along with an abundance of wildlife and birds.
Kilmacthomas, one of the oldest villages on the Greenway was once a busy port on the River Suir. Here you’ll find lots of shops to stop off in, an eatery if you get peckish and access to your next stretch of Greenway.
Tradition claims St. Cadoc established a monastery at Kilmacthomas in the 5th century and this history lives on today with the ruins of Kilmacthomas Abbey built on the site of an earlier monastery. But even more modern is the vitality of this small village along the Waterford Greenway. A crossing place of two rivers – the Suir and the Lorum – Kilmacthomas has its own swimming hole, “Biggs’s Hole” and an idyllic children’s playground for impromptu visits.
When you reach Kilmacthomas you have the choice of a left turn to take in some historic sights in Kilmacthomas and Kilduff, or a right turn that carries on past the captivating Ballinamult Abbey ruins.
On your right is also a patch of woodland where it’s a good idea to keep a keen eye out for the resident population of fallow deer. As you pass Kilmacthomas village, you’ll be able to visit the local castle and gardens.
Here, you’ll pass the ruins of the 13th-century Kilmacthomas Friary on your left. You’ll also go past some impressive mansion houses and stately homes along this stretch, perhaps stopping to admire some of them and their attractive wooded grounds.
The area is also close to the village of Clonmel, where you can take a break from your ride at the Coolmine Park & Lifestyle Centre. There is a café on site.
KILMACTHOMAS TO DURROW (SHANACOOL)
It’s rare to have a cycle ride that is free from the need to pedal hard. That’s exactly how it is on the Waterford Greenway as you pass through this charming, rural part of east Waterford. The surface is smooth and flat for these 12km (guided of course by the signs), and you can amble along at a gentle pace of around 5km per hour. It’s also stunningly beautiful, with plenty of river-side views and old bridges like the cherished Kilmacthomas Vicar’s Bridge.
From Kilmacthomas the Greenway continues to twist and turn for another 12km until it reaches Durrow, where you can find some great accommodation options including an eco-campsite. The path narrows again at this point because there is no longer room for two lanes of traffic; however, fortunately, because the surface is mostly crushed limestone (like the rest of the Greenway) it is easy to create wide enough paths to allow bikers to spread their wings.
Durrow to Clonea Road (6km)
The Durrow to Clonea Road section is a real favourite. It’s mostly off-road and there’s some nice scenery, particularly the parts that run along the old railway. The Clonea section of the Greenway finishes in Clonea with a series of gentle inclines.
One of the most gripping bike trails in Munster runs from Durrow to Clonea, through a gripping landscape of woods and lakes. The now-iconic tunnel and the Ballyvoyle Viaduct, as well as vivid nature, will keep you spellbound as you cycle along this lovely Greenway.
The Ballyvoyle Viaduct is one of the most recognisable landmarks on the new Greenway. It crosses the River Deen on 25 twin arches, each spanning 20 metres. It’s an impressive structure on a cycleway that attracts hundreds of riders every year.
It’s a gentle track, starting with a flat stretch for the first two kilometres (along the R418) before turning downhill towards Scartore.
Heading back up towards Clonea brings it’s own challenges for cyclists. The climb begins at the top of the pass at Scartore through the Clonbara Bog complex. This heathland area holds a surprising amount of wildlife, with many species of bird flocking to feed during the summer months. Climb up past the entrance to Ballinahone Woodlands Centre, take a peek out towards Durrow Abbey or get to know your neighbours on this sun-soaked section of road.
Clonea Road to Dungarvan (4km)
Dungarvan Town is situated on the coastline of Ireland’s southeast coast, on the south coast. Dungarvan is just over 1 hour from Waterford City and 90 minutes from Limerick so is ideally situated for tourists visiting either city. It is easily accessible by road or rail at the junction of the N24 and N25. The railway line which runs along the coastline between Cork and Rosslare Harbour also serves Dungarvan.
3 WATERFORD GREENWAY HIGHLIGHTS
A story of beautiful views with an epic history
There are three viaducts and eleven bridges on the railway. Ballyvoyle viaduct was constructed in 1878, blown up in 1922, and after a second thought rebuilt in 1924. The route of the railway line changed dramatically at that point; before that trains were diverted through Loughrea, where they crossed the Derrycunnihy viaduct (also referred to as Ballyvoyle viaduct). It makes for extremely beautiful views as a lane for cycling the Greenway.
The track now passes under this viaduct instead of crossing it.
The story of the viaduct is in itself an interesting one. The design was created by Mr Bowes , who was also responsible for designing Victoria Bridge in Dublin. Bowes did his homework well apparently. He was the first to use concrete. It is regarded as one of Europe’s outstanding Victorian engineering achievements.
Waterford Suir Valley Railway
The Waterford & Suir Valley Railway is a registered charity operating a 3′ gauge railway along approximately 10 km of track from Kilmeadan back towards Waterford, Ireland. The line shares much of its route along the banks of River Suir with the Waterford Greenway.
The railway was originally built as part of a sugar plantation on a nearby estate, and was restored in the late nineties as a tourist attraction.
The railway line was originally built by the Waterford & Limerick Railway Company in 1852 and was known as Great Southern and Western Railway (Ireland) but this changed in 1925 when it was registered to become part of the Great Southern Railways (Ireland).
A perfect blend of Georgian architecture and scenery
Mount Congreve is a stately home, manor house or country house in Ireland. Mount Congreve is not a castle although it gives the impression of being a small fortified building. The architectural style is Georgian.
Mount Congreve was the former residence of the Viscounts Congreve, who were descended from Sir William Congreve (1670–1726), the creator of ‘Congreve Rockets’; he became Lord Keeper of His Majesty’s Privy Purse in 1718 and succeeded to the title in 1720. The house was situated on a 1,886-acre estate overlooking Waterford Harbour.
Mount Congreve passed out of the ownership of the Congreve family in 1916 and since then has been rented out for a variety of purposes including a mining academy for wealthy Germans during World War I and a seminary after that war.
The house is surrounded by extensive formal gardens, which are considered to be among the finest examples in Ireland.
Given its location in the vicinity of the town of Waterford, Mount Congreve is an important landmark. It commands views of the city and of the countryside to the east and south.
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best Places to Eat in County Waterford
If you’re a food lover, or just someone who simply wishes to have a good time with friends and family, there is an excellent range of restaurants in Waterford City. If you’re looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, then why not head out to one of these quality restaurants. Any of these places will tickle your taste buds and live up to the reputation that the oldest city in Ireland holds for culinary excellence.
Dungarvan is a gorgeous town in Ireland’s sunny south-east. It is the perfect base for touring County Waterford or just exploring the many attractions in this area of Ireland. The town has so much to offer, from shopping in the pretty streets, to visiting some of its historic sites, great restaurants and lovely pubs!
Dungarvin is brimming with excellent restaurants. You can find pretty much anything your heart desires or cater for any taste. The diversity of the restaurants in Dungarvin makes it well worth visiting. The following list details some of the very best places to eat in Dungarvin so if you’re looking for somewhere an experience head on over to one of these places.
frequently asked questions
How do I get to Waterford?
Waterford is easily reachable by car, bus or boat. It’s even possible to drive part way and finish up on one of the Celtic Link buses between Waterford, Rosslare and Dublin. And if you find yourself in Waterford for longer than a day or two, it’s always worth considering public transport for getting around, whether it’s using the city’s buses or hopping on board one of Ireland’s best-known vessels, The Swift.
Can you walk the Waterford Greenway?
The Greenway is the perfect place to get used to life on the go. The few days that you spend walking it will give you valuable insights into how your body copes with long periods of physical activity. By the end of it, you’ll have calculated various averages, including distance walked per day, calories consumed, hours on feet etc. These are valuable statistics to have in your back pocket when you are doing more major challenges.
Is the Waterford Greenway one way?
Whether you plan to cycle from either Dungarvan or Waterford, it doesn’t matter. You can start anywhere along the route at any of the six stages, and just do one stage if you wish!. This scenic route will certainly be enhanced by taking in the amazing views of Lough Derg, The Eye Peninsula and the Slieve Felim mountain range.
Are there toilets on the Waterford Greenway?
Of all the aspects of this great Greenway, toilets are probably a question that gets asked most often by travellers or visitors to Waterford. Fortunately, every kilometre of the Waterford Greenway is serviced by at least one toilet. This means that whether you start your cycle in Waterford city or Dungarvin, or anywhere in between; you can find a toilet without any hassle whatsoever.
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.
Water bottle refill stations on the Waterford Greenway are located along the Greenway at Abbeyside, Ballylynch Cross, Kilmacthomas Station and Bilberry. These enable Greenway users to refill their water bottles as they enjoy the Waterford Greenway.
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!
A playground is a really important aspect of a local network, and we’re very lucky to have some great playgrounds nearby on the Waterford Greenway.
There are two well constructed playgrounds that are easily accessible from the Waterford Greenway should you want to make a day out of it. Both Kilmacthomas and Abbeyside, Walton Park have play areas for kids of all ages, picnic tables, car-parks, shelters, electric barbecue facilities and toilets. Best of all there are no entrance fees !
There is also a playground at the Waterford City Park but it’s located on the south-side and takes longer to reach than either of the above.
Using The Greenway as a link between playgrounds can allow children to complete their original plans, but also try something new after all that energy has been used up.