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Cycling from Mullingar - Royal Canal Greenway or Old Rail Trail?

  • 04-08-2021 5:10pm
    Registered Users Posts: 5,103 ✭✭✭

    I'm heading to Mulligar next week to cycle some greenway. I was originally thinking of heading east to Enfield but other options are to Cloondara or Longford on the west-bound canal or Athlone on the Old Rail Trail Greenway - Can anyone make any recommendations from personal experience? It would be an out and back cycle in one day.



  • Registered Users Posts: 305 ✭✭useeme

    Double post

  • Registered Users Posts: 305 ✭✭useeme

    I cycled from Mullingar to Ballymahon on the canal, south to Athlone on road. Old Rail Trail back to Mullingar. Its 100km approx.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,454 ✭✭✭mloc123

    Personally the canal to the east is nicer. It has more places to stop for food and IMO is more scenic.

  • Registered Users Posts: 859 ✭✭✭Randy Archer

    You should do. Easily , if you are use to over 80km . Canal from Mullingar to Clondara is alright, just make sure that when you come to the bridges to cross the road, you take the correct side of the canal. I know it might look obvious, but when you are not paying attention for the signs you could end up cycling 1km or so and only realise that the surface is **** and too gravelly and you should have cycled the other side , so you end up cycling back up to the bridge to use the correct side of the canal .

    you could always cycling the regional road between Longford to Mullingar on the return like a loop . It should be quite enough in the evening.

    the Mullingar to Athlone route ,40-42 km (from the overpass in both towns) is nice and smooth and easily get that done within 2 hours and less without killing yourself (one way) again, the main road between Athlone and Mullingar (r390) could be cycled back,if you wanted, to mix it up Nice scenery (the Mullingar side ) a little ramp going up the road close to hill of uisneach (you can get to that at the Castletown stop if you are on the cycleway)

  • Registered Users Posts: 859 ✭✭✭Randy Archer

    It’s a good spin. Not the biggest fan of the ballymahon road to Athlone. I don’t mean the “hilly” bits at Tubberclair - Glasson” but the traffic. It has a decent hard shoulder, but that road is god damn busy with trucks and horse boxes even on Sundays . But if ya can ride fast enough, ya won’t worry too much, but some drivers are pig ignorant . The down hills and turns are fun though . Of course one can ride the roads into Mount Temple area (check google) to avoid the N55 .

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  • Registered Users Posts: 859 ✭✭✭Randy Archer

    Inclined to agree. Hate saying it, but the Mullingar side of Westmeath is very pretty and green (country lanes around it are rather nice , even the last 5-6km in and out of the area is a fun fast spin (if there’s no one on the track) Nice surface too .

    Mullingar to Athlone has a great surface but , there isn’t a whole lot to see until you get to Castletown (5km on road, pleasant road into the village and 10km to Kilbeggan, there’s another village the other way ,close to Hill of Uisneach about 2km ) there use to be a very handy drinking fountain there to fill the bottles but it doesn’t seem to be working in the last while . The saving grace is there there’s a little more cover from the bad weather as the trees and ditches give shelter and there are always a few bridges to hide under . Moate would be the next place to stop

    you land in Athlone, there’s the shop at Garrycastle . Thankfully it’s a decent pit stop but nothing like Nanny Quinn’s pub etc

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,450 ✭✭✭jebidiah

    I'm planning to do Dublin to Cloondara on the canal soon enough, is it a decent pathway most of the way

  • Registered Users Posts: 981 ✭✭✭Dick Turnip

    I cycled Maynooth to Cloondara last year. Decent path the whole way. A mixture of surfaces but all decent.

    I think Some parts between Leixlip and Castleknock, aren't the best.

    I cycled from Dublin city centre - went out through Phoenix Park, then back roads to Maynooth and joined the Greenway there.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,450 ✭✭✭jebidiah

    Yeah I cycled to Castleknock last week with a friend and it was fine, but there is a short section that doesn't seem great there. I think you can skip from the 12th lock to Clonsilla station and dip back onto the path way there?

  • Registered Users Posts: 859 ✭✭✭Randy Archer

    personally , Dublin to moyavalley (personal preference) I stayed on the back roads like Moyglare and the R148 from Kilcock to moyvalley

    Yes , I have done canal way from Moyvalley to clondara regularly on a normal road bike with 25 m wheels , no issues .

    Much of it is fine gravel (Mullingar to Clondara) so won’t be an issue

    its quite a nice spin too, won’t be bored

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,103 ✭✭✭homer911

    Thanks everyone, thats two good votes to head east and a negative vote about heading west. East certainly looks like its better served with amenities. I'll let you know how I get on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,103 ✭✭✭homer911

    Had a great visit last Wednesday. Sharing this in case its of use to anyone planning a trip. The weather was awful in the morning but it was beautiful in the afternoon. Travelled east from Mullingar. We were aiming for the Boyne aquaduct / Boyne dock but it was a bit beyond us in the time available. Path was tarmac around Mulligar but otherwise light grit.

    The reviews of Mary Lynch's pub @ 11.9Km were a bit mixed so we didn't stop and pushed on to Cunninghams @ 15.4Km, but when we got there around 1300, the place appeared open but deserted so continued on to Nanny Quinn's (17.3Km) and were pleased we did. Simple menu, good prices and a warm welcome. The outside colour scheme of this pub might put you off but its lovely inside. It's also a great spot for observing the canal, with plenty of outdoor benches and some sheltered wooden-covered outdoor dining.

    We took a wrong turn at Darcy's Bridge (do follow the signs, as the Greenway switches sides on the canal quite often and you could head down a cul de sac). Turning around at the 23Km mark we realised the wind was in our faces and decided to head on back to Mullingar. There was a fair drop from Lock 25 to Lock 18 which wasn't really noticeable heading east, but was certainly felt when heading west.

    The water level was quite low and the canal very reedy but I suppose that's down to the time of year. At one point we passed a couple of pumps piping water into the canal from a nearby stream. We overnighted in Mullingar and paid a visit to the Boyne aquaduct the next day. There was a mobile coffee shop there for reference and again water was being pumped in from the Boyne.

    I was on my own bike but the wife was on a hire bike from a place in Mullingar limiting us to out and back. Maynooth seems to be the next base for hiring bikes. It would be great if these hire companies had more bases, or clubbed together for drop-offs. Mullingar Bike Hire was advertising a drop-off service at Enfield with the option of jumping on a train back but they seem to have curtailed this.

    We called in to Mary Lynch's on the way back for an ice cream and the place was open but also deserted in the middle of the afternoon. No sign of a food menu so can't comment

    Was unfortunate to have a puncture on the hire bike but fair dues to the hire company, they had a replacement to us in just 15 minutes (we were lucky I guess) so all-in-all a great day out and highly recommended - total distance 45Km. A much quieter greenway that Waterford.