Explore 42km of the Old Rail Trail
Looking for peace, quiet and somewhere off the beaten trail to take a cycle or a walk? Try the Old Rail Trail, a long-distance cycling and walking trail which passes through the heart of the Irish midlands. It connects Athlone with Mullingar while passing through the town of Moate. The route is 42km along a converted stretch of the former Midlands Great Western Railway and passes through rich fertile farmland providing a peaceful escape away from the bustling towns.
The Greenway is ideal for families and perfect for a leisurely cycle or stroll as it is off-road and generally flat. Take a breather along the way with plenty of options to grab some refreshments or explore some unique spots and local attractions. The route also shows off beautiful scenery along the stretch from the Royal Canal in Mullingar to the River Shannon in Athlone.
Make a weekend of it and take in the hidden heartlands as you explore villages and attractions along the way. If you are visiting from Dublin or the east of the country, take a stroll into Mullingar and grab a bite, see the sights or visit the world’s oldest licensed distillery located nearby at Kilbeggan. Then hop on the Greenway at Mullingar and follow the route to Castletown. The Royal Canal Greenway also meets up with the Old Rail Trail along this route at Ballinea and Newbrook so you can also hop on if travelling from this direction.
Castletown to Moate is approximately 16km and its flat surface and gentle slopes are also suitable for groups of all ages and any type of bike. From here, take a slight detour to embrace the beauty of the Hill of Uisneach, the great assembly for the tribes and former High Kings of Ireland.
The route from Moate to Athlone is about 14.5km and is suitable for groups of all ages and all types of bikes. Admire the restored Railway Station buildings in Moate before taking in views of lush green landscapes. Appreciate some local culture and heritage and visit Dun na Si Heritage Park which is only a short distance away.
Once you reach Athlone, you will be spoilt for choice with a wide range of attractions and activities to make your staycation a memorable one. Take a stroll along the banks of the Shannon or discover the history and heritage of the town at Athlone Castle. Immerse yourself in the Arts and visit Luan Gallery whose exhibitions attract visitors from all over the country. Accommodation is plentiful as well as a wide choice of cuisines in top eateries.
See more ideas for your 2020 staycation at Athlone.ie