For our 3rd trip to the Old Rail Trail in the Irish midlands we decided to start at Moate and cycle through to Mullingar, a cycle officially listed as just under 60km, but because we cycled a tad further we ended up going just over the 60km mark. Not bad for my 6th outing on my ‘new to me’ bike this year. (Read about our first trip click here)
Starting the trip in Moate was really quite nice this time, once upon a time, before the Galway to Dublin motorway was finished, Moate was one of the towns you usually crawled through on the then five hour track to Dublin, (now it is two and a half hours or less).
The start of the Rail Trail is really close to the town centre, which has lovely coffee shops and a great bike hire shop. Luckily, because Alan had forgotten his clip in cycle shoes and was stuck with the clip in pedals, he managed to pick up a pair of regular pedals and was given the tool to change the pedals by the really friendly owner of the shop. A definite must visit if you want to hire a bike.
At the old train station in Moate, which is the start to the Moate leg of the Old Rail Trail, there is ample parking, and it is very close to the Dun na Sli Amenity and Heritage Park, which I am going to have to visit on my next trip there.
Thankfully for our 3rd trip there was no rain, unlike the previous Sunday when it actually felt like we had invented a new sport of aqua cycling, at one point I stopped under a bridge, took off my rucksack and a small torrent of water bucketed down my back, much to the amusement of everyone.
Between Moate and Mullingar we passed through the Steamstown and Castletown stations. The Steamstown station is very overgrown with large wild daisies doing their best to cover the long platform and dilapidated station house, whilst the Castletown station is actually inhabited with the cutest kittens I have ever seen peaking around the corner at us as we took a small break.
Mullingar station, by far a very large station when it was in operation, now only has vacant memories of its previous past, covered in grass, mowed and kept in order, to be honest it was kind of like an anti-climax to our journey, we did head toward the town for a bit, but then decided to turn back after being met with a large industrial estate.
By the time we arrived back to Moate we had been cycling for just over four hours and I was absolutely famished. Cycling can make one very, very hungry, so we sat on a nearby wall, scoffed our picnic, watched the light dwindling in the sky, content and very happy.
Our next trip to the Westport Achill greenway is already planned; this cycling thing can get seriously addictive.