Being from the sunny South East and currently gainfully unemployed, there was no better time for us to avail of the scenery available along the newly opened 45k cycle/walking route from Waterford to Dungarvan, know as the Waterford Greenway.
It would also be the first two-day outing for the mountain bike I built, with touring in mind. I’m growing to love that bike.
We began the cycle from Tramore and made our way out to Kilmeaden, where we joined the Greenway on the banks of the Suir near Kilotteran. This section of the Greenway runs alongside the still-functioning Waterford and Suir Valley Heritage Railway. The railway starts from the station in Kilmeadan along to Gracedieu Junction in Waterford City.
The Greenway runs along the old Waterford-Dungarvan railway line, so it is quite flat in most places.
Five minutes into the cycle along the railway lines, the train passed. All the kids on board looked happy, and their parents gave their best royal waves to the onlooking Greenway cyclists and walkers. It’s good to see the likes of this train line being used.
We stopped for a short break at the Kilmeadan train stop. I loved the converted rail car. You don’t see enough of this kind of quirky thing in Ireland. It wouldn’t pass muster under the BER no doubt.
The surface of the Greenway is not smooth for significant parts of its length. I understand it is smooth outside Waterford and then gets significantly rougher. As we experienced it is quite stony from where we joined. It is of varying quality for a good few kilometres from Kilmeaden, improviding towards Kilmacthomas. Hybrid or mountain bikes are fine, it’s doable on these stony sections with road bikes but it’s not likely to be as comfortable.
The long slow descent into Kilmacthomas was topped off with lunch at the Coach House, a former Famine Workhouse. The food and coffee was good, and needless to say they are surely onto a winner here with the continuous stream of hungry cyclists and walkers.
After Kilmacthomas a definite highlight was the Ballyvoyle Tunnel. Keep to the left, and don’t look up as water seems to be dripping down everywhere inside.
Not long after the tunnel there was a small children’s playground; a good area for stopping with kids. One thing to watch out for in general is those places where the Greenway crosses roads, demarcated by roll-through gates, but probably best not to let kids get too far ahead.
Mahony’s pub is another place that a stop can be made before the picturesque descent into Dungarvan. The view before that descent was pretty impressive.
Overall, it was fantastic day, and something I’ll likely do again, perhaps taking it all in from Wateford next time. Massive congratulations on all involved in getting this open and up and running. I hope it and the businesses along it have every success.
There were plenty of people out walking different sections of the Greenway. The majority of people I saw were, however, cycling. I’m sure that walking different sections of the Greenway is enjoyable, but it may be tricky with small kids due to the number of cyclists whizzing about.
I have walked the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain – unlike there the walkers on the Greenway appeared to most definitely be in the minority.
We stayed overnight in Dungarvan and cycled back the Copper Coast the next day to Tramore. The Dungarvan – Tramore – Waterford route makes a very enjoyable second day’s cycling with some equally spectacular scenery – perhaps a good alternative to cycling back the Greenway.
Coffee or a fish and chip lunch on Tramore’s strand are hard to beat.
Waterford, Kilmacthomas, and Dungarvan seem to be the best places to hire bikes. Three companies I came across are
Bike rental seems to run about e20 per bike, with children’s trailers available and a shuttle bus service for return trips. I’m not affiliated to any business on the Greenway.
An interactive map of the Greenway is available here.
Hopefully there’s more of these Greenways to come. I cannot think of a better way to showcase Ireland’s countryside.