Royal Canal Way, Mullingar

4.7
#6 of 7 in Parks in County Westmeath
Hiking Trail Nature / Park
The Royal Canal is a canal originally built for freight and passenger transportation from the River Liffey in Dublin to Longford in Ireland. The canal fell into disrepair in the late 20th century, but much of the canal has since been restored for navigation. The length of the canal to the River Shannon was reopened on 1 October 2010, but the final spur branch of the canal to Longford Town remains closed.HistoryIn 1755, Thomas Williams and John Cooley made a survey to find a suitable route for a man-made waterway across north Leinster from Dublin to the Shannon. They originally planned to use a series of rivers and lakes, including the Boyne, Blackwater, Deel, Yellow, Camlin and Inny and Lough Derravaragh. A disgruntled director of the Grand Canal Company sought support to build a canal from Dublin to Tarmonbarry, on the Shannon in North county Longford.Work commenced in 1790 and lasted 27 years before finally reaching the Shannon in 1817, at a total cost of £1,421,954. Building was unexpectedly expensive and the project was riven with problems; in 1794 the Royal Canal Company was declared bankrupt. The Duke of Leinster, a board member, insisted that the new waterway take in his local town of Maynooth. The builders had to deviate from the planned route and necessitated the construction of a 'deep sinking' between Blanchardstown and Clonsilla. The diversion also called for the building of the Ryewater Aqueduct, at Leixlip.The original 1796 fare from Dublin to Kilcock was 1/1, much cheaper than the stagecoach.The canal passes through Maynooth, Kilcock, Enfield, Mullingar and Ballymahon has a spur to Longford. The total length of the main navigation is 145km, and the system has 46 locks. There is one main feeder (from Lough Owel), which enters the canal at Mullingar.
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16 reviews
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  • Maintained channel way, where you can enjoy fresh air and nature free transport on foot or by bicycle.
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  • We travelled down to start at Thomastown and we cycled to Mullingar .Its worth the drive down from Dublin we did it in a hour..We cycled there and back. The weather was on our side not too hot or cold...  more »
  • A nice path along the River, suitable for hiking, relaxing, racing, either alone or in company, also ideal for carrying around dogs. A very long path and flat, fine for all ages and is definitely worth trying for all lovers of hiking ...
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