It’s great to see such positivity and comments about the Waterford Greenway. It’s not even finished or officially open yet, but 2016 was a breakthrough year. I hope 2017 bring lots of new people to the area to walk, cycle and explore the beautiful countryside.
The Greenway is a 46 kilometre paved trail on the old Dungarvan Waterford rail line, which closed in 1982. After the success of the Great Western Greenway in Mayo, it’s great to see such a local initiative become real, after all the planning, community and financial obstacles.
Today half of the Greenway is open from Kilmac heading west towards Dungarvan. It’s a lovely route to either walk, run or cycle. The surface is rough or smooth tarmac and wide enough for everyone. Bring a bell on your bike though to avoid crashes as it can have all ages from toddlers to pensioners.
What I like most is the mix of scenery: you can see Mahon Falls and the Comeragh Mountains to the North; the Atlantic and Copper Coast to the South; Dungarvan and Helvick Head to the West and loads of rich farmland and nature along the way. You can start in several places: Kilmacthomas, Durrow, Clonea or Dungarvan. You can rent a bike if you don’t have your own. Along the way you see so much history – the rail line was built in the 19th century and was a busy passenger and freight line for many years. Going over the 3 viaducts is spectacular. One was even rebuilt after being blown up in the War of Independence in 1922. Then there’s the Ballyvoyle Tunnel, 400 meters of dark dampness. Thankfully, there are some lights lighting now, as you’d fall off your bike without it.
Several stations are in the middle of nowhere – platforms and station houses in ruins. It’s amazing to think they did exist. Foodstops can be Kiersey’s café/pub in Kilmac or O’Mahoney’s pub/shop near Durrow or else Abbeyside and Dungarvan. Along with the Seán Kelly Tour of Waterford cycle weekend, this is another reason to get out and explore our beautiful Deise County.
One of my goals for 2017 is to run the entire route from Waterford to Dungarvan someday. It’ll be such a different way to appreciate the countryside.