Ireland’s longest greenway to open in Leinster this summer

A brand new 130 km (80 miles) long greenway will be officially launched along the historic Royal Canal this month.

With many of us embracing more time outdoors in the Irish countryside – whether that be for walks, runs, or bike rides – there is no better time for Ireland’s longest greenway to open in Leinster this summer.

The project, which cost €12m to complete, will follow the Royal Canal from Maynooth in County Kildare to Cloondra in County Longford, passing through counties Meath and Westmeath.

The trail will be the longest greenway in the country, making it a great place to stretch your legs and get out in nature.

Read on to find out more about Ireland’s longest greenway to open in Leinster this summer.

An exciting project – Ireland’s longest greenway

Ireland's longest greenway.
Credit: Flickr / Ciara Norton

While the 225-year-old Royal Canal officially closed in 1960, it still has many of the features of a working canal, including 90 bridges, 33 locks, 17 harbours, and four aqueducts.

There are also several attractions, shops, restaurants, pubs, picnic spots, and B&Bs along the route.

The 130 km (80 miles) towpath will take in both Leinster’s urban and rural landscape as it meanders from cosmopolitan Maynooth through the rolling fields and quaint waterside villages of Ireland’s Ancient East.

Plenty to see – choose a route

Travel through towns like Cloondra.
Credit: Tourism Ireland

Ireland’s longest greenway, which is set to open in Leinster this summer has many different routes to choose from, set out by Waterways Ireland.

Enjoy a tranquil journey if you’re travelling from Longford or Cloondra as you travel along the flat path enjoying Longford’s unspoilt landscape towards Keenagh and Ballymahon.

From Mullingar, you can enjoy the 22 km (13.6 miles) Royal Canal Blueway, unique to this section of the greenway. Here you can enjoy the paddling trail to experience the Royal Canal in a new way.

Follow the ‘Yellow Road’ from Enfield towards the historic university town of Maynooth to immerse yourself in the greenway’s most rural section.

Finally, immerse yourself in history by starting your journey along the greenway from Maynooth. Packed with great places to eat, shop and stay, this is the ideal place to start your adventure.

The history of the Royal Canal – 225 fascinating years

Ireland's longest greenway to open this summer.
Credit: Instagram / @royalcanalgreenway

Work commenced building the Royal Canal in 1790, and for three decades, it served as the main mode of transport for passengers and cargo through Ireland’s midlands.

The canal was purchased by the Midlands Great Western Railway Company in 1845, and it was officially closed in 1960.

14 years later, the Royal Canal Amenity Group was formed with the aim of protecting, restoring, and developing the canal as a public amenity.

Today the canal is owned by Waterways Ireland in collaboration with the Royal Canal Amenity Group, thanks to whom the canal was officially reopened from Dublin to Shannon in 2010.

The latest development in the restorations is Ireland’s longest greenway, which is set to open in Leinster this summer, and we’re excited for what’s in store for Ireland’s Royal Canal.

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