A perfect day out on Limerick Greenway

Carving a scenic off-road 40km path through the local countryside, Limerick Greenway offers an authentic experience of rural Ireland to cyclists, runners, wheelchair users and walkers.

Following the old Limerick to Kerry railway line, Limerick Greenway seamlessly links West Limerick’s towns and villages with some fascinating heritage sites in between. Perfect for day-trippers or short breaks, you can experience the Greenway in one visit, or explore in shorter stages.

More information can be found at www.limerick.ie/greenway

Limerick Greenway 2

RATHKEALE TO NEWCASTLE WEST 14KM

A day or night spent in Rathkeale will give you a great introduction to what West Limerick and the Greenway have to offer. This busy town is steeped in local history and surrounded by natural beauty. You’ll see the ruins of Rathkeale Abbey, which dates to the early 13th century and two fascinating churches, St Mary’s and Holy Trinity, showing the range of architecture on offer in the region.

Limerick Greenway itself starts at the former Rathkeale Station, now home to the Irish Palatine Heritage Centre, which explores the lives and influence of a group of German refugees who made Limerick their home.

The first stage of the Greenway will take you through lush rural farmland towards the village of Ardagh, a vibrant rural community. The landscape around Ardagh is dotted with ancient ringforts and the Greenway will take you close to the spot where the iconic Ardagh Chalice was discovered in 1868. The chalice is held in pride of place at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin, and a replica can be seen at the Hunt Museum in Limerick City. There is a wooden carved replica of the chalice to check out at the Ardagh Hub also.

NEWCASTLE WEST TO BARNAGH 10KM

Head off from Ardagh and you’ll soon arrive at Newcastle West, Limerick’s largest town. As well as offering boutique shops, local pubs and restaurants for rest, relaxation and retail therapy, the town is also a renowned spot for fishing, golf, and horse riding. Newcastle West is also the perfect place to break the journey and stay the night in one of its many hotels and B&Bs.

The town is steeped in local history too, with Desmond Castle, which dates back to the 13th century, and the Castle Demesne park, a 100-acre garden once used by the Earls of Desmond and now open for the public to enjoy.

The ascent to Barnagh begins at Newcastle West and offers amazing views of the landscape of Limerick and the surrounding areas. The Greenway will take you over Ferguson’s Viaduct, a cast-iron rail bridge that has stood over Garryduff since 1880. Further on, you’ll pass through Barnagh Tunnel, another Victorian Era railway innovation. At 115-metres long, the tunnel once allowed trains to traverse the steep peak of Barnagh. Closed for decades, it has recently been restored by Limerick City and County Council along with Barnagh Station House and both can now be seen up close by the public.

At the top of Barnagh, you can rest at the picnic area, look out over the plains of Limerick and take stock of your journey so far. There is also a privately run Greenway services hub at Barnagh.

BARNAGH TO ABBEYFEALE 13KM

After Barnagh, the next stop is Templeglantine, a welcoming village with a shop and hotel. The village is home to Holy Trinity Church, built in 1829 and one of the oldest churches still in use in the region. Just outside Templeglantine is Tullig Wood, a tranquil forest rich in native flora and fauna. Take a rest underneath the oak and ash trees and watch out for the willow warblers and chiffchaffs that live in their branches.

The natural surroundings of Tullig Wood soon give way to bustling Abbeyfeale, one of the most culturally interesting towns in the region. As part of the Sliabh Luachra tradition, Abbeyfeale is a hub for Irish music and dance, and home to the Glórach Theatre and the annual Fleadh by the Feale festival. As the final town on the Limerick Greenway, it’s a great place to spend the night and take in a trad session at one of the many local pubs.

There’s plenty of local history to be seen too. Starting at the statue of local hero Fr William Casey in the town square, you can follow the heritage trail, indicated by blue plaques around the town that commemorate the people, places and events that made Abbeyfeale the town it is today. Just outside Abbeyfeale, you’ll see the ruins of Port Castle, known locally as ‘Purt Castle’, which guarded a ford on the River Feale.

ONGOING DEVELOPMENT

The Greenway from Rathkeale to the Kerry border at Abbeyfeale is part of the Limerick Greenway and is being developed to connect seamlessly into the North Kerry Greenway. The North Kerry Greenway forms part of the Kingdom of Kerry Greenways.

Limerick City and County Council and Kerry Council are working collaboratively in all aspects of the projects, in order to ensure the best experience for all users.

In the other direction, there are future plans to extend Limerick Greenway from Rathkeale to Adare and onto Limerick City. Download this PDF for more information on the Limerick Greenway.

Have a wonderful time on the Limerick Greenway and let us know your top places to visit around Ireland.

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