Another beautiful greenway is now available to visitors looking for outdoor activities in Ireland this summer and beyond.
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The Limerick Greenway officially opened on July 1st after months of extensive refurbishment.
Like many of Ireland’s greenways, this one, too, was once an old railroad that ran from Limerick city to Tralee in Co. Kerry.
The line opened between 1867 and 1880 and closed between 1975 and 1977.
There are five sections to the greenway, which are suitable for walkers, cyclists, and runners.
They include Rathkeale to Ardagh; Ardagh to Newcastle West; Newcastle West to Barnagh; Barnagh to Templeglantine Village; Templeglantine Village to Abbeyfeale, with an additional 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) to the Kerry border.
The length of the entire greenway is about 24 miles (40 km) and reveals much of the beautiful County Limerick landscape that is untouched by modern development.
Plans to refurbish the greenway all the way into County Kerry are already underway.
You can cycle the route in a day or break it up into several days. Here are some of the interesting things you can see along the way.
Rathkeale to Ardagh (9 km/5.59 miles)
Begin at the Irish Palatine Museum and cross the River Deel.
You’ll pass five beautiful overhead bridges along the way.
Before arriving at the third one, be sure to check out the ancient churchyard at Clounagh along with the ruins of the 15th century Lisnacille Castle in the distance (also known as Lisnacullia Castle).
At the fifth bridge, where the old Ardagh Railway Station was housed, you can explore the Ardagh Fort, an ancient ringfort dating to 1,000 B.C. that is also a National Monument.
It is where the famous Ardagh Chalice was found in 1868 by two young boys who were digging potatoes nearby.
A small bronze cup, four brooches, and a cross believed to have been used during the Penal Times were also among the collection of treasures found.
The two-handled silver cup, decorated in gold, gilt bronze, and enamel, is perhaps the most revered artifact from the Irish Catholic Church collection.
It is on display at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.
Ardagh to Newcastle West (4 km/2.48 miles)
This section of the greenway passes the beautiful Limerick farmland with views of the surrounding hills in the distance.
After crossing the River Daar, you’ll approach Newcastle West, a stopping-off point that gives cyclists the opportunity to explore the town.
The town's main attraction is Desmond Castle.
The original castle was built in the 13th century by the Fitzgeralds, the Earls of Desmond.
However, in 1302, the town and castle were destroyed and another castle was rebuilt in the 15th century, with a hall and chamber built on that was used for banqueting and entertainment.
In fact, its banqueting hall is among the most impressive of Ireland's medieval towers.
You can walk around the castle and do your own self-guided tour. It is free to visit.
Newcastle West to Barnagh (10 km/6.21 miles)
On this part of the greenway, you’ll be climbing into the Rooskagh Hills that lead to bogland and magnificent views of the Limerick Plains and the Golden Vale, an area of rolling pastureland that covers Counties Limerick, Tipperary, and Cork.
It is known for its dairy farms.
The route crosses Ferguson’s Viaduct before becoming a dedicated cycleway.
The Barnagh Tunnel is another cool feature of this section of the greenway.
It has become the perfect habitat for both plants and animals, with nine species of bats calling it home.
Barnagh to Templeglantine (4 km/2.48 miles)
Pass two stone bridges and make your way to Templeglantine.
This is a good place to explore the restored Glenquin Castle, a tower house and National Monument, as well as the Killeedy Castle ruin and St. Ita’s Churchyard.
Templeglantine to Abbeyfeale (9 km/5.59 miles to Abbeyfeale and 3 km/1.86 miles to the Kerry border)
Experience the tranquility of Tullig Wood on this stretch of the greenway.
The forest is an important wildlife habitat for birds, badgers, and butterflies, and a truly serene area of the greenway in contrast to the busy towns along its route.
Some may choose to stop in the town of Abbeyfeale or continue on to the Kerry border, passing the ruins of Purt Castle and the River Feale along the way.
For more information on the greenway and what you can expect to see on it, be sure to download the Limerick Greenway brochure.