Welcome to the Royal Canal Greenway, a long-distance, off-road walking and cycling trail connecting Maynooth with Longford Town. The 130km trail passes through the lush green landscapes of Ireland’s Ancient East towards the mighty River Shannon in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.
The Royal Canal, sometimes called the ‘Shoemaker’s Canal’ from a story linking one of its early promoters with such a craft, was built 14 years after the Grand Canal. Following years of decline, it finally ceased to be used as a commercial waterway in 1951, though is still enjoyed by leisure users to this day.
Start your adventure at Maynooth’s fine harbour in this renowned university town, close to the walled gardens and demesne of Carton House and trek or cycle 6km to Kilcock or further afield to Enfield and beyond. With an easy access to the stretch between Maynooth and Kilcock by car along the M4 and frequent bus and rail services from Dublin city centre makes this a convenient route for walkers.
Maynooth Car parking is available at Maynooth Train Station (€3.50 all day rate). If you would like to take in a cycle, you can hire a bike at Royal Canal Bike Hire located beside the Harbour (note: bike hire not currently available due to Covid-19).
Take a diversion from the route to visit the imposing 12th Maynooth Castle, former residence of the FitzGeralds and enjoy refreshments in one of the many eating places in the town. While Maynooth Harbour provides moorings for barges and fishing access with a picnic area and playground close by.
Kilcock Car parking is available at the Fair Green. Enjoy some refreshments at one of the many pubs or coffee shops. The train station is located across from the canal for a return journey, or continue onwards to Enfield (13km away).
Kilcock Harbour was restored in 1982 and reopened to boating in 2010. It also played host to the National Canoe Polo Championships in 2018.
Here’s our suggestion for spending 24 hours on the Royal Canal Greenway or check out our guide to getting the most out of your Royal Canal Greenway experience.
For a map and more information, click here.