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If you're looking to explore somewhere new, Limerick Greenway is the place to go

 

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From gorgeous towns and villages to historic castles and railway stations, Limerick Greenway is the perfect destination for summertime exploration.

If the last two years have proved anything, it’s just how many incredible visitor destinations we have to choose from on this island. Whether you want to throw on your hiking boots and trek through the countryside or simply sit in a cosy café to enjoy some quiet time, there is always somewhere new to experience.

You get the best of both worlds along Limerick Greenway, as well as plenty of other ways to make sure your time is well spent. With 40km of the Treaty County’s finest scenery and historic landmarks waiting to be explored, you may need to make one or two return trips!

Formerly a railway line that connected Kerry and Limerick, it has been redeveloped into an authentic experience that can be enjoyed by walkers, joggers, wheelchair users and cyclists of all ages and abilities.

There are bike hire and shuttle bus options to be found along the 40km route that are open seven days a week, so you can choose where you want to start and what you want to see. Add to this its wonderfully smooth surface, which makes it easily accessible for anyone looking to enjoy some time outdoors.

The Mid-West offers a plethora of things to do and places to see, so you’re sure to find something exciting around each and every corner. Whether you’re a Limerick native or keeping an eye out for your next staycation, you can find out more and plan your Limerick Greenway trip by visiting the website here.

Rathkeale to Ardagh – 10km

At the northern end of the Greenway is the town of Rathkeale, a community whose sense of hospitality is matched only by the deep history and heritage that created it. Marking the start of Limerick Greenway at the northern end of the route, it’s the perfect place to uncover everything this neck of the woods has to offer.

From here you can kick off the 10km route to Ardagh, but not before taking some time out to enjoy everything Rathkeale has to offer. Whether you want to enjoy kayaking on the River Deel, wander the grounds of the 12 Century Augustinian Abbey, or visit the Irish Palatine Experience based in the renovated railway station, it’s the perfect place to start.

Along the way to Ardagh, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the five overhead bridges dotted along the route. Beautifully carved from local stone, these gorgeous bridges feel as much a part of the landscape as the trees and foothills themselves.

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Ardagh to Newcastle West – 4km

Steeped in history and surrounded by the gorgeous Limerick countryside, Ardagh is a hidden gem in this part of the world. A gentle 4km from the town of Newcastle West, it makes for a wonderful spot to embark on a trip along the Greenway.

One of the first highlights to keep an eye out for is Ardagh Station House, which has undergone extensive restoration work as part of the Greenway project. First opened in 1867, the station house – that for many years was an important part of connecting Limerick and Kerry – has now been restored to its former glory.

It was also here that the legendary Ardagh Chalice was found by local boys Jim Quin and Paddy Flanagan back in 1868. Currently part of the National Museum of Ireland’s collection, this stunning piece of Irish craftwork was the inspiration behind the original Sam Maguire trophy’s design. The new wood carved chalice of 2022 is another highlight not to be missed so make sure you check that out as well!

Newcastle West, the largest town in County Limerick, is a fine place to spend some time with friends or family members. Whether you want to stock up for a picnic, enjoy excellent boutique shopping or learn about the town’s history at Desmond Castle, there is an array of exciting options to choose from.

Newcastle West to Barnagh – 10km

Should you continue past Newcastle West and make your way uphill, you will be rewarded with some of the finest views of the Limerick countryside.

On top of the natural beauty on offer, the architecture on this part of Limerick Greenway is particularly special. From the Victorian-era Ferguson's Viaduct made of cast iron to the 115m-long 19 Century Barnagh Tunnel, stopping to enjoy the view is a crucial part of making the most of this scenic route.

Here is where you’ll find the highest point of the old Limerick to Tralee line, sitting about 164m metres above sea level. Offering sprawling views to Clare, Cork and Kerry, a few minutes’ rest at Barnagh Viewing Point is a fantastic way to appreciate the countless wonders we have on our doorstep here in Ireland.

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Barnagh to Templeglantine – 4km

Complete with two stone bridges and passes through embankments, the journey from Barnagh to Templeglantine is a wonderful section of the route.

Easily accessible from either side, with parking facilities in Templeglantine, you don’t need to come up with any complicated plans to enjoy your time here. Be it on foot or by bicycle, all you really need is some free time to soak up everything it has to offer.

Templeglantine, or ‘Glantine’ as it’s known locally, is a particularly popular place to enjoy a bit of live music and traditional Irish culture, just a short walk off the main Greenway. With a strong heritage of traditional music, you rarely have to wait long for a session to start!

Templeglantine to Abbeyfeale – 9km

There’s nothing quite like getting back to nature to escape the pace and noise of everyday life. Once you leave Templeglantine and head towards Abbeyfeale along the Greenway, the tranquil sanctuary of Tullig Wood is the ideal place to do exactly that.

Not only is Tullig Wood one of the most soul-feeding places you could hope to find, but it also plays an important role in maintaining the natural heritage of County Limerick. Mostly made up of native trees and wildflowers that are so vital to the local environment, it provides a wildlife habitat for birds, badgers and butterflies.

Now approaching the border with County Kerry, here is where the rugged beauty of the Sliabh Luachra region comes into play. Proving just how varied the landscape can be in Ireland without having to travel all too far, it also shows exactly why this area is so popular among outdoor explorers.

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Abbeyfeale to the Kerry border – 3km

Abbeyfeale is a must-see for anyone looking to spend some time in Limerick. Not only does it offer a wide range of amenities and accommodation, on top of a fantastic selection of restaurants and pubs, but the natural landscape is something you never grow tired of.

One of the largest towns in the county, it’s surrounded by lush green hills dotted with trees and flowers all across the landscape. With the River Feale running alongside the town, it makes for a wonderful end to the Greenway if you started from the Rathkeale side, or an exciting start if you’re going in the opposite direction!

Just a short walk from Abbeyfeale’s Old Railway Station on the Greenway, you’ll find a heritage plaque that identifies the site of Purt Castle. Originally known as 'Caisleán Phort Trí Namhad' (Port Castle of The Three Enemies), and later as 'Portrinard Castle', today it is known simply as Purt Castle.

Estimated to have been built in the early-mid 1400s by the powerful Earls of Desmond, the castle was originally constructed as a round wooden fortress. It was later rebuilt as a stronger square stone fortress and traces of that can still be seen standing to this day, so anyone with an interest in local history should make sure to add this stop to the day’s itinerary.

To plan your visit to Limerick Greenway click here.


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