Ireland’s longest greenway has won ‘Cycle Path of the Year’ at European awards

Ireland’s longest greenway was voted “Cycle Route of the Year 2022” at the Dutch walking and cycling fair Fiets en Wandelbeurs.

he Royal Canal Greenway, which stretches 130km from Maynooth, Co. Kildare, to Cloondara, Co.longford, beat out competition from Germany’s Baden Weinradweg, Belgium’s Vlaanderenroute and LF Waterlinieroute from the Netherlands to take the title .

“The narrow waterway meanders through a beautiful and varied landscape with meadows, forests and moors,” says a quote from the trade fair of the event, holiday and marketing company Hicle.

“On the way you will pass 90 old bridges and more than 30 locks. You will see a typical Irish landscape with stone walls, sheep and ruins.

“And in the evenings, the residents sit relaxed with a pint, as is Irish tradition.”

Fiets en Wandelbeurs is a fair aimed at stimulating the development of quality routes and is usually attended by over 40,000 cyclists. This April, however, it was held online due to Covid.

It is ‘ Bike Path of the YearThe award is given by a panel of three experts who cited the clear signage of the Royal Canal Greenway, the road surface and the use of the route by tourists and local residents.

“Significantly more activity has sprung up in a somewhat forgotten area,” they added.

“There are now pubs and restaurants in many places, and horse trailers have been converted into trendy waterfront cafes. All the excitement surrounding the greenway makes this route great for cycling.”


The Royal Canal Greenway at Mullen Bridge, Maynooth Harbour, Co Kildare

The Royal Canal Greenway reopened last year after a €12 million restoration.

600,000 visits were recorded in the first year, raising €17.2m for the local economy, according to Waterways Ireland, which developed the route in partnership with the local authorities of Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford.

“I am delighted with this international recognition of the exceptional waterway heritage and Irish scenic experience that the Royal Canal Greenway offers,” said John McDonagh, Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland.

“The Royal Canal Greenway really has the recipe for success,” added Cathaoirleach Cllr Peggy Nolan of Longford County Council, who described it as “a fantastic convenience for tourists and locals alike”.


A towpath on the greenway in days gone by

Ireland has seen something of a boom in greenway refurbishment in recent years Limerick Greenway Introduction last year and a €6.8m extension of the Waterford Greenway On the way.

The 46km walk linking Waterford to Dungarvan was named this year Ireland’s premier visitor attraction‘ at the Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards and won Silver in the ‘Excellence’ category at the European Greenways Awards 2021.

Last year, several off-road walking and cycling projects received €63.5 million in funding, including €9 million for the New Ross to Waterford Greenway, €10 million for Cork’s Middleton to Youghal Greenway and €5.5 million for an extension of Mayo’s Great Western Greenway. Ireland’s longest greenway has won ‘Cycle Path of the Year’ at European awards

Fry Electronics Team

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