Well I admit, the Waterford Greenway is a bit shorter but the 46km long stretch that was developed from old train tracks has become a massive tourist attraction among the Irish. It is such a great way to unwind. Waterford Greenway can be tackled in a day or turned into a lovely weekend break where you can stop at any town on the way that you like and even make it a great family outing. I would like to show you what to expect and how you could plan your trip along Ireland’s Ancient East coast.
Waterford is one of Ireland’s oldest cities – and the perfect place to start your journey along the Waterford Greenway. With centuries of history, lovely shops and some fantastic restaurants, you’ll have plenty to look forward to upon your return.
Waterford’s Viking heritage
The old Viking heritage can be grasped everywhere. The walled remains of the city are still visible in the centre. Make sure to drop by Reginald’s Tower, dating back to 1000 AD. You will find a great museum inside called Waterford Museum of Treasures, where you can gaze an stunning archaeological finds. Another asset of Waterford is of course, Waterford Crystal. The House of Waterford Crystal gives you the full background story about the creation of the fine art and I’m sure in their shop you will find the perfect souvenir for home.
Once you’ve arrived in Waterford and plan to cycle the Greenway, also known as the Déise Greenway, park your car at the WIT Sport Arena. They have 300 free parking spaces and direct access to Waterford Greenway. This is also where you will find Greenway Waterford Bike Hire. You can rent adults and kids bikes here and find toilets and a cafe if you think you need to freshen up and energise before the big trip starts. What is great they also rent out tow-alongs for kids and you could also attach it to your own bike if you have one. Earliest you can rent your bike is 9:30am and return it latest at 6pm.
Bike hire prices:
Tow-along + Bike: €25
Shuttle Bus: €2
What I love about this Bike Hire is that there is a shuttle bus picking you up in Dungarvan at 5pm and bringing you back to your car. So you don’t need to cycle all the way back. Of course you can also stay overnight or make a longer trip out of the Greenway. Your car will stay safely in the car park. The Shuttle bus runs every Saturday all year round but in July & August this service is offered every day.
The stages of the Greenway
The greater Wateford Greenway is split into six stages. Whether you want to cycle through like a Tour de France leg or decide to take it easy and stop here and there, it’s completely up to you. This route suggestion leads you from town to town and each stretch ranges from 1.5 to 13km. The longest stretch is between Kilmeadan to Kilmacthomas and Shanacool. You will find toilets at the start of each leg though.
Surface: flat surface with a few light hills, paved roads
Duration: 3.5 hours – but highly encouraged to make it a daytrip and stop a few times along the way.
The route is almost entirely car-free!
Starting point: Waterford. You can start in any of the towns along the way or cycle from Dungarvan to Waterford too, of course. Kilmacthomas is located smack in the middle of the Déise Greenway, in case you want to break the ride into two parts.
Prettiest stretch: Durrow to Dungarvan
Points of interest along the Greenway
There is loads to see on the Greenway, and it completely depends on you how much you would like to stop and how much of a detour you would like to make. I have gathered some of the highlight along the way that I can totally recommend.
One of your first stops could be Suir Valley Heritage Railway located in Kilmeadan after your 2nd leg. If you can spare the time buy tickets and hop on to that historic locomotive driving you gently through Suir Valley along Suir River all the way to Co. Kilkenny. Depending on how much time you want to spend there, you could take the kids to the Magic Wood where they can spot fairies and leprechauns if they are lucky… The picturesque trip last about 40 minutes return.Another stop would be Mount Congreve. The gorgeous Estate Gardens date back to the 1760s. Take a walk there and discover the most beautiful flowers and garden arrangements. The estate boasts with owning Ireland’s largest collection of plants. It’s the ideal spot for a relaxing break, a cup of tea and a sandwich if you ask me.
If you are on this trip you love nature! So I have another option of a picturesque stop for you. Fairbrook House is located in Kilmeaden at the River Dawn. It is close by Mount Congreve and also hosts acres of wonderful walled gardens. You will find ruins of a former mill whose stones have been reintegrated into the walls. It’s a truly tranquil and relaxing place.Now it’s time for one of the architectural highlights along Waterford Greenway. The viaducts – there are three on the way and the first one you will encounter is Kilmacthomas Viaduct. The 7-arch bridge was first used in 1878 and has not been in use since 1982. Another great viaduct that you will pass is Durrow Viaduct of the same historical background. After Durrow you will get to the last stretches of Waterford Greenway. In Shanacool you will have opportunities to freshen up again and if needed let the kids have a break on the large play area situated at the Greenway.
Then discover the dark side of the Greenway – cycle or walk through Ballyvoyle Tunnel, a wonderful and cosy experience. It used to connect Fishguard and Rosslare Railways and stands for one of the first railway networks in the county. Ballyvoyle Viaduct is next up and it is the biggest of the three. Spanning over Dallygan River Valley it is also the newest, however it was constructed out of an old viaduct like the above. It surely is an impressive sight.The Waterford Greenway ends in Dungarvan. Driving down to it, you will be spoiled by a breathtaking view across the coastline. A fantastic treat on top of this great little adventure.
Eat & drink along the Greenway
Need a little pick-me-up along the way? Luckily for you, there are loads of great wee places where you can sit yourself down for a chilled-out lunch. Or if you want to reward yourself for a good day of cycling, there’s some awesome restaurants in Waterford to check out as well. Here are a few picks I definitely recommend!
Places to eat along the GreenwayI’d definitely recommend to take a little break at one of the gorgeous gardens. The scenery is just too beautiful. Mount Congreve hosts the great Dairy Cafe, where you can enjoy a soup or sambo outside taking in the gorgeous surroundings. A bit further down in Kilmacthomas you can find an absolute stunner: Coach House Coffee is just the right place for all coffee nerds. Imagine the coolest interior design – it is a renovated old brick house. The place was even awarded as Munster’s Best Cafe. At the end of your trip you will be most likely to have a gigantic appetite. In Dungarvan I would recommend you to eat at The Moorings Restaurant, located right at the seafront and next to the old castle walls. It will make the perfect ending to your trip and leave you saturated in any way.
Start planning your trip to Waterford
With views of the rolling green hills and the stunning Copper Coast at almost every turn, the Waterford Greenway is an absolute delight and it’s the perfect day out if you’re in the area. If the weather’s looking good while you’re in this corner of the country, you’d be mad not to give it a go!The city of Waterford itself is the perfect base for exploring the region – be sure to take a look at my recent deals for Ireland’s Ancient East below and start planning your perfect getaway!