Head to Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and explore our country’s newest and longest Greenway. The Royal Canal Greenway starts in Maynooth, but some of the most scenic stretches and idyllic spots are found between Mullingar and Longford.
The Royal Canal Greenway is flat throughout making it a great option for walkers and cyclists of all ability levels. Enjoy the 90 minute walk between Coolnahay Harbour and Ballynacarrigy, stopping to watch boats navigate their way through the lock. Or plan an unforgettable multiday walk stopping off in gorgeous villages for lunch and savouring this magical part of Ireland.
Cycle the Royal Canal Greenway from Mullingar to Longford for a day out that the whole family will enjoy. The 53km route takes experienced cyclists just under three hours to complete, but the rest of us can hop on at any of the seven trailheads or access points on this stretch. Spend the day alongside the Royal Canal freewheeling under bridges and zipping through the countryside on the old towpath.
Travel along The Beara Breifne Way to reach the leafy, sanctuary of Portumna Forest Park. Swoop down to Lough Derg and watch the gentle interactions of nature by the trailside, keeping an eye out for the majestic antlers of the herd of fallow deer.
Let the sprawling ruins of Portumna Abbey, with its ancient stone arches and columns, take you back to the 15th century. Or step into the more regal setting of Portumna Castle, with its spectacular gardens and magnificent manor house reminiscent of the Renaissance. Lose yourself in the fairytale willow maze, where the sweetly fragranced paths are lined with lavender and native fruit trees.
Old Rail Trail Greenway, Westmeath
The Old Rail Trail Greenway begins in Athlone and meanders along for 40km to the market town of Mullingar. Naturally, the scenery and length – taking just over two hours – make it a perfect route for cyclists of all levels. As part of the Midlands Great Western Railway route, you cycle past flourishing small towns and lush countryside.
When you’re in Athlone make sure you stop by the world’s oldest pub – Sean's Bar – for a tipple and a touch of history. Athlone Castle is well worth a visit for a fully interactive experience that brings the castle’s history to life.
Cavan Burren Park, Cavan
Find peace on the trails under the misty shadow of Cuilcagh mountain and simply pause to take in the 340 million years old, pre-glacial landscape. Touching the megalithic tombs of our ancestors is the a primal experience that links you back to your roots. Unearthing the hidden treasures of the Burren – its barren sinkholes, fairy forts and breathtaking viewpoints out onto the Lost Valley – will leave you with a new found appreciation of this beautiful place.
Corlea Trackway, Longford
This 2,200 year old oak timber trackway is one of the most unique paths in Ireland. This well-trodden walkway, preserved in a bog has been left exactly where it was found with the Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre constructed around this amazing archaeological find. After soaking in the local knowledge, set out on a journey across the mosses and heathers of the boglands of Longford to follow this ancient road left by the Iron Age people.
Extending your trip with a journey along the stunning waters of Lough Ree and the River Shannon. Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands is brimming with glimmering lakes and rippling rivers that pour across its lands.
The National Famine Way, Roscommon
Learn about one of the most important periods of our history on the National Famine Way in Roscommon. Start your journey at the monumental Strokestown House. Displaying one of the worlds largest archives of letters, images and artefacts, the National Famine Museum gives you a deep insight into life at the time.
Follow the route from Strokestown House and enjoy the 18km stretch to the edge of the River Shannon. Keep an eye out for bronze sculptures along the way, paying respect to the people who walked the route in hope of finding a better life.
Plot an incredible walking holiday along The National Famine Way which links up with the Royal Canal Way for a truly special time in the midlands.
Experience an epic and remote walk or cycle on the quiet country roads and forest trails of the East Clare Way. The enormous 180km long loop has options for walkers and hikers of all ability levels. Stroll along the edge of Lough Derg outside of Killaloe, climb the foothills of the Slieve Aughty Mountains to Flagmount and explore the forests near Broadford on a mountain bike.
The entire route takes eight days to complete, but the East Clare Way can be broken up into smaller sections to suit your needs. Visit quiet country villages along the way, stop in Scarriff for a hearty lunch, hear some traditional music in Feakle and relax by the water with a spot of fishing in Tulla.
With so many great greenways and trails there’s a great day out waiting for everyone. See incredible wildlife, historical sites and visit friendly towns on your next short break to Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.