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Displaying items by tag: Royal Canal Greenway

Ireland's inland waterways got an early summer season boost with the news that the Royal Canal Greenway has won European Cycle Route of the Year Award. Funded by the Department of Transport, the Award is timely coming the same week as the Royal Canal Greenway was awarded ‘Best Tourism Initiative’ at the LAMA Awards.

Waterways Ireland led this project through its development and implementation coordinating with the Department of Transport, TII, and the Local Authorities in Longford, Meath, Westmeath and Kildare.

Royal Canal Greenway Wins European Cycle Route of the Year 2022

The Royal Canal Greenway has been awarded European Cycle Route of the Year 2022 by leading Dutch Walking and Cycling Fair Fiets en Wandelbeurs at a season opening event held in the Netherlands. Competing against long distance routes in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium, the Royal Canal Greenway took home the winning accolade. Normally attended by over 40,000 enthusiastic cyclists, the Fiets en Wandelbeurs European Cycle Route of the Year Award is judged by leading, activity, tourism and journalist experts from across the Netherlands.

Waterways Ireland, Chief Executive John McDonagh said “I am delighted by this international recognition of the exceptional waterway heritage and Irish countryside experience offered by the Royal Canal Greenway. We look forward to welcoming many Dutch and other European tourists to the Royal Canal Greenway in future.”

The 130km Royal Canal Greenway begins 25km east of Ireland’s capital city Dublin, in Maynooth. It is a mostly flat, off-road route following a former towpath for horse‐drawn barges, featuring 90 bridges, 33 locks, 17 harbours and four aqueducts and links Maynooth with the Shannon, Ireland’s longest river, at the tranquil harbour village of Cloondara, Co Longford. The Greenway is well- serviced by bike hire operators, serviced and un-serviced accommodation providers and plenty of pretty, independent hostelries, café’s, bistros and coffee providers along its length. Luggage transport and other services are available to multi-day visitors, choosing the full trip or selecting one or more of the 14 sections on the Greenway.

Longford County Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Peggy Nolan: “The Royal Canal Greenway truly has the winning formula. It is evident that the Greenway is fast becoming a destination of choice for those looking for an active holiday. Set within the beautiful countryside and going through some of our most friendly towns and villages, the Greenway is a fantastic amenity for tourists and locals alike. County Longford looks forward to welcoming more visitors thanks to this recognition on the European stage.”

Other successes for the Royal Canal Greenway this year include the recently awarded 2021 All-Ireland Community & Council Awards for the “Best Tourism Initiative” 2021, and the “highly commended” in the “Excellence” category at the European Greenway Awards.

The Royal Canal Greenway recently celebrated its first birthday announcing that over 600,000 visits had taken place since its launch in March 2021 deriving €17.2m for the local economy. It was developed by Waterways Ireland in partnership with the four Local Authorities of Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford.

Royal Canal Greenway information can be found here and for more information on the prize is here

Royal Canal Greenway wins Best Tourism Initiative at All Ireland Community and Council Awards

The Royal Canal Greenway, recently celebrated its first birthday announcing that over 600,000 visits had taken place since its launch in March 2021The Royal Canal Greenway, recently celebrated its first birthday announcing that over 600,000 visits had taken place since its launch in March 2021

The Royal Canal Greenway has been announced as the winner of the award for the Best Tourism Initiative at the 2021 All Ireland Community and Council Awards. The Royal Canal Greenway received recognition in its category at the rescheduled awards ceremony, which took place on Saturday 09 April 2022, at the Crowne Plaza, Dublin Airport.

Sponsored by Fáilte Ireland, the Best Tourism Initiative award seeks to recognise an initiative which directly increases visitor numbers to an area or to Ireland as a whole and its overall impact on visitors, communities and new and existing businesses.

John McDonagh, Chief Executive, Waterways Ireland, said: “We are pleased to see the All Ireland Community and Council Awards recognise the potential of this phenomenal asset, which, thanks to the relatively level towpath is suitable for walkers, runners and cyclists. Launched in spring 2021, the greenway is in its infancy yet continues to impress visitors from across Ireland and beyond and has already contributed immensely to the local tourism industry. As we continue to further enhance the offering for those who visit the greenway, we are encouraged by the recognition received by these awards.”

The Royal Canal Greenway, recently celebrated its first birthday announcing that over 600,000 visits had taken place since its launch in March 2021 deriving €17.2m for the local economy. It is the longest greenway in Ireland, stretching across four counties and runs through both Ireland’s Ancient East and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands. It was developed by Waterways Ireland in partnership with the four Local Authorities of Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford.

Cathaoirleach of the County of Kildare, Cllr Naoise Ó Cearúil said; “I was delighted that the Royal Canal Greenway was recognised at this year's LAMA Awards. This project shows what can be achieved when County Councils work together alongside Waterways Ireland. The Greenway proved to be a great amenity during the Pandemic and is now an excellent tourist initiative that we can be proud of.”

Longford County Council Chief Executive Paddy Mahon said “A deserving winner, the Royal Canal Greenway has already proved itself to be greatly valued by the people and businesses of County Longford, as well as our many visitors. It is great to see this fantastic amenity get the accolades it has truly earned. We look forward to the continued development of this impressive greenway. We also look forward to welcoming even more people to the Royal Canal Greenway on foot of this great endorsement from the All Ireland Community and Council Awards.”

Cathaoirleach of Meath County Council, Councillor Sean Drew said: “The Royal Canal Greenway is a wonderful attraction for County Meath adding to its attractiveness for outdoor tourism. We are so proud to be part of a collaborative effort across four councils and Waterways Ireland that brought about this Greenway. To have achieved the recognition of the All Ireland Community and Council Award for Best Tourism product is a great honour.”

The enchanting Royal Canal Greenway is 130km of level towpath, and starting from the trailhead in cosmopolitan Maynooth, which is 25km east of Ireland’s capital city Dublin, it follows the canal as it passes through the pretty towns and villages of Kilcock, Enfield, Longwood, Killucan, before reaching the busy market town of Mullingar. Continuing west from Mullingar, the route passes through Coolnahay Harbour, Ballinacarrigy, Abbeyshrule, Ballymahon and Keenagh. At Keenagh, the trail either continues along the Royal Canal to where it meets with the Shannon, Ireland’s longest river, at the tranquil harbour village of Cloondara, or heading north, follows the Longford Branch of the Royal Canal, to the bustling town of Longford.

Published in Inland Waterways
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New research from Waterways Ireland has found that more than 640,000 trips have been taken on the Royal Canal Greenway since it opened in March 2021.

The €12m, 130km amenity crosses Kildare, Meath, Westmeath, and Longford and is a joint initiative between Waterways Ireland and the local authorities in those areas.

It is the longest greenway in Ireland, running from Maynooth in Co Kildare to Clondra in Co Longford along a former towpath for barges on the inland waterway.

The greenway features 90 bridges, 33 locks, 17 harbours and four aqueducts along its route. High-profile attractions include Carton House in Maynooth, Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre — one of the largest prehistoric roads in Europe — and Center Parcs in Longford. The 165km self-guided National Famine Way also travels largely along the greenway.

The Royal Canal Greenway also forms part of EuroVelo 2, a 5,000km “Capitals Route” that passes through Ireland, the UK, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belarus and Russia.

Visitors can choose to complete the entire 130km flat, off-road trail in one go, or explore the shorter designated routes between the 14 connecting access points and towns, which range from 6km to 15km.

Waterways Ireland appointed Tracsis in 2021 to undertake a validation exercise on the data from physical counters in place along the Greenway and to undertake a consumer survey.

The research found that the amenity has returned a dividend of €17.2m to the business community in its first year of operation, returning the investment in the project in eight months. The economic dividend was based on a weighted average visitor spend of €27.

The research also found that across the four counties involved, 17 new businesses have opened and 13 confirmed that they have pivoted or expanded to provide for greenway customers.

Waterways Ireland chief executive John McDonagh said: “We are delighted that the Royal Canal Greenway has been an outstanding success in its first year.

“We acknowledge the commitment of our partners in Longford, Kildare, Meath and Westmeath county councils in delivering this greenway and that of local communities and businesses, which have helped to make it a success by creating new tourist and recreational opportunities.

“We look forward to welcoming more domestic and international visitors in the coming years.”

Acting chief executive of Kildare County Council, Sonya Kavanagh noted: “In the first half of 2021, people’s movements were restricted by COVID measures and so it was very fortuitous that we were able to open the Royal Canal Greenway during this time.

“Local communities now use the greenway for regular off-road accessible recreation, and it continues to attract new and return visitors.”

Published in Inland Waterways

Christmas has arrived along the Royal Canal Greenway as a line-up of festive things to do and see at its multiple trailheads are announced.

In Kildare, visitors can veer off the greenway to experience a taste of Christmas with Festive Afternoon Tea at Carton House, available Thursdays to Sunday.

In Longford, those keen to kick start their New Year’s health resolutions early can hire a bike from the Midlands Cycle Hub in Cloondara or at Ballymahon Greenway Cycles to avail of seasonal special offers on bike hire over the December and Christmas holiday period.

Then unwind and enjoy festive entertainment after your Royal Canal visit with a performance of Longford’s Snow White Christmas Pantomime which is running at St Mel’s College from 20 December to 2 January.

Also not to be missed are Fiona Egan’s Festive Cookery Class (runs throughout December, booking required) and Longford’s Traditional Panto, which runs from 20 December to 2 January (book here).

If you’re in Westmeath, get into the festive spirit at Mullingar Arts Centre this Christmas with its extensive programme of festive fun events and performances for all the family.

Visitors seeking to stay awhile can find respite at popular accommodation options in Westmeath including the centrally located Newbury Hotel and the family-run Annebrook House Hotel, situated in the heart of Mullingar nearby and renowned locally for its annual breath-taking Christmas foyer display.

Refuel at one of Westmeath’s picturesque eateries. Nanny Quinn’s, located on the banks of the Royal Canal by Lock 18 at Thomastown Harbour, is a must-taste restaurant serving fresh, local home-cooked fare and is adorned with Christmas lights offering a charming festive experience.

And see Santa while you stop off in Westmeath at the Andean Alpacas Christmas Experience where you can explore the festive pathways, visit the elves and receive a gift from Saint Nick himself.

Your little elves can even post a letter to Santa in a special letterbox destined for the North Pole, feed the alpacas and site and have storytime with Mrs Claus.

Speaking about the events planned for the festive season, Sharon Lavin of Waterways Ireland said: “As Ireland’s longest greenway covering over 130kms across Kildare, Longford, Meath and Westmeath, the Royal Canal Greenway has plenty of activity happening this Christmas.

“There is an abundance of activities planned near our four main trailheads, whether you are in the mood for a festive feast or taking the whole family to see Santa, visitors can enjoy the seasonal beauty of the Royal Canal Greenway while still partaking in the festive events and activities along the way.”

Check out the Royal Canal Greenway on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter where more information about events is being added daily.

Published in Inland Waterways

The Royal Canal Greenway is the place to be this upcoming Halloween with 16 spooktacular events happening all along the 225-year-old Royal Canal this mid-term break.

The greenway, which is the longest in Ireland at 130km, encompasses four counties — Kildare, Longford, Meath and Westmeath — and has an abundance of stops with plenty of activities for all interests this Halloween including a haunted train, a spine-tingling med-evil exhibition, a Halloween feast and even a spooky science camp!

Sharon Lavin of Waterways Ireland said: “We are thrilled to have such a wide variety of offerings this Halloween along the Royal Canal Greenway. Across all four counties through which the Royal Canal Greenway travels we have something for everyone throughout the week.

“Whether you want to spend your days enjoying leisurely walks in the countryside or entertaining the family between cycle stops you are sure to find what you are looking for. It’s easy to stay over and keep exploring.”

Waterways Ireland has put together a handy list of events to make sure you avoid the horror of missing out this Halloween — but be sure to act fast as booking is essential for many of these happenings.

Published in Inland Waterways

The 130km Royal Canal Greenway from Maynooth to Cloondara was launched in March this year and proved a big hit with locals and visitors alike over the summer months, according to Waterways Ireland.

Now the cross-border body for Ireland’s inland waterways has commissioned Tracsis Traffic Data to gain feedback and delve deeper into who the greenway’s users are and how they’re using it via an online survey this month.

“We want to understand how the Royal Canal Greenway is contributing to the visitor economy across the counties of Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford,” Waterways Ireland says.

If you have recently visited the Royal Canal Greenway anywhere between Maynooth to Cloondara, the short five-minute survey asks you to share your thoughts on the experience.

The link is also available via QR codes placed along the greenway, and there’s a chance to win a €100 shopping voucher for those taking part. The closing date for the survey is Sunday 31 October.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland advises users of the new Royal Canal Greenway in Co Longford that the towpath on the 44th level of the inland waterway at Killashee will be closed from next Monday 29 March to Monday 12 April to facilitate essential maintenance works.

These investigate works have been classified as critical infrastructure works so they will continue over the current period of increased Covid-19 restrictions.

Published in Inland Waterways

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan will be joined by Malcolm Noonan, Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, for the virtual launch of the Royal Canal Greenway this coming Wednesday 24 March.

No pre-registration is required for the Waterways Ireland live stream, which will be available from 10am HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran TD announced midweek a significant package of funding totalling €1m for Phase 2 of the Royal Canal Greenway.

When launched in early 2020, it will be the longest greenway in Ireland, totalling 130km in length along the inland waterway connecting Maynooth in Co Kildare with Clondara in Co Longford.

The funding will be provided from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Budget 2020 allocation for greenways.

The Royal Canal Greenway is a dedicated off-road cycling and walking route which is currently being developed by Waterways Ireland and the local authorities of Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford using the existing towpath along the Royal Canal.

The funding will be used to complete the basic infrastructure to ensure the delivery of a greenway that is "fully functional, animated and activated to reach international trail standards".

Minister Moran said: “I warmly welcome this funding from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport which will be used to complete and enhance this wonderful amenity for the midlands.

"This co-operation between department, local authorities, Waterways Ireland and all of the groups connected with the greenway exemplifies what can be achieved and I look forward to good progress being made in realising this significant goal.

"Once completed, this greenway will connect Dublin to Longford, adding substantially to the existing network of greenways throughout the country. I have no doubt that visitors from home and abroad will enjoy this top-class experience and that it will motivate those interested in cycling and walking in this beautiful countryside to come and visit and see it first-hand.”

For more about the status of the Royal Canal Greenway developments see waterwaysireland.org/royalcanalstatus

Published in Inland Waterways

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