Athlone Mullingar Greenway
AKA The Old Rail Trail
The 40km Athlone Mullingar Greenway runs along what was originally the railway track between the two towns. The trains officially stopped running in 1987 and the line has been unused up until now, that is. The new greenway now makes up part of the proposed Galway to Dublin Cycleway that when finished will be the first dedicated coast-to-coast cycleway in Ireland.
Usually I would have little interest, it being something on the peripheral of my world. I would definitely think it is a great amenity to have access to, if you cycled that is, but I can now say I am part of the cycling clan :).
Our Cycling Trip
Last Monday I did my first ever 40 km cycle on my ‘new to me’ bike and I loved it. Even more surprisingly I wasn’t pooped, strained or complaining about having to do any of it. All my recent walking has definitely paid off and I’m getting fitter, finally!
To be honest it hasn’t taken that long, two months, a more open mind-set and away I went.
Being from Galway city the Athlone Mullingar Greenway, is just a 45 min drive from our house, and for a day trip with a lovely cycle it is well worth the trip.
When you arrive in Athlone the greenway is well signposted, from the Galway and Dublin sides of the town. They lead to a small car park that is facilitated by a bike hire shop, a local shop, small picnic area and toilets.
The entire Athlone Mullingar Greenway spans 40km passing through Moate and Castletown stations, onto Mullingar. There are a variety of access points from public roads along the way, some of which have parking and amenities.
For our first cycle we decided to do 20km out and 20km back, which would bring us through Moate station house and past the first 6 access points.
Being as it was a Monday, it was pretty quiet with only a few walkers and fellow cyclists out to enjoy the cloudy but warm summer day, with thankfully not a drop of rain in sight.
As we cycled we took a few picture breaks along the way and let my poor bum rest, a symptom of my new cycling status, but one I am assured will pass once I am on my bike more.
The countryside is quite scenic with stone bridges dotted along the way, every now and then my imagination drifted away to the old disused rail tracks and all the people and goods they transported.
We took some time to rest at the Moate train station, which opened in 1951 and worked steadily for 36 years before closing in 1987.
And obviously while in Moate Alan my fellow cyclist and hubby took the opportunity to do one of his headstands. Sure what else would you be doing?
When we finished the 40km I was almost sad we didn’t complete the entire Athlone Mullingar Greenway but to be truthful on this occasion I don’t think my bum would have made it.
Mind you though I loved it so much our next trip is planned already.
For more information about the Athlone Mullingar Greenway click on the following links: