Large stretches of the inland waterways in Kildare have excellent paths that allow walkers and cyclists to enjoy the delights of our natural and built heritage. There are paths along the Grand Canal Main Line, Barrow Line, Naas Branch and part of the Corbally Branch, along the Royal Canal and in the Pollardstown Fen Nature Reserve.
Many of our members enjoy walking and cycling. Boaters among us walk or cycle along the towpaths between locks; an event for Kildare members is meeting up along some stretch of Irish waterway, for the Annual Winter Walk in December. See our Calendar for next December’s event and join us.
Grand Canal – Main Line
The Main Line of the Grand Canal in Kildare passes through Hazelhatch, Sallins, Robertstown, Lowtown and on to Ticknevin and the outskirts of Edenderry. The Grand Canal Way is open to walkers for the whole length of this stretch and is level and easy for the relaxed person.
Grand Canal – Naas Branch
Heading west and just past Sallins is the Naas Branch of the Grand Canal leading to Naas and beyond to Corbally. From Lock 1 to Naas is a very popular stretch of road and path, some of which is used just for walking. From Naas is a walk and cycleway that goes to the old Limerick Road obstruction. See Kildare Campaigns
Grand Canal – Barrow Line
Meandering from the historic boating yard at Lowtown to the town of Athy, the Barrow Line stretches south. The canal passes through the towns of Rathangan, Monasterevin and Vicarstown and then onto Athy.
Near Lowtown is the Milltown Feeder, the main source of water for the Grand Canal from the Pollardstown Fens. The fens can be viewed from walkways, including a boardwalk.
The Royal Way stretches from Blanchardstown to Richmond Harbour and follows the canal in North Kildare around Kilcock.
Officially, there are no cycleways along the Grand Canal in Kildare. However, people have cycled, on sturdy bikes, all along both the Grand Canal and the Royal Canal from Dublin to the Shannon and south along the Barrow Line.
There is a wonderful cycleway from Lucan Bridge into Dublin.
In 2015 work is happening along some stretches of the Barrow Line to make it suitable for cycling. Bikes can be rented from Barrowline Cruisers and Bike Hire Tel: 00353 (0)57 8626060, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The good news is that Kildare County Council, in their Kildare County Development Plan 2011 – 2017 under Inland Waterways Tourism Policy, state they intend:
ECD 29: To maximise opportunities for the use of canals and other waterways including the River Liffey and River Barrow as tourism and recreational amenities. In this regard, the Council will co-operate with Waterways Ireland, National Parks and Wildlife Service of the DoEHLG and community groups to develop the infrastructure, quality and amenity of these waterways.
ECD 33: To promote and develop the towpath along the Grand Canal as a cycleway, in co-operation with Waterways Ireland
ECD 34: To encourage walking and recreational facilities, where feasible and where development opportunities arise along riverbanks and lakes. In this regard, land adjacent to riverbanks and lakes will be reserved, where possible, for linear parks for public access and where linear parks are designed and developed provision shall be made for walking and cycling routes.
ECD 35: To preserve the undeveloped sections of the Liffey Valley as a resource for tourism and to develop paths and walkways where appropriate subject to environmental and other constraints and considerations.
ECD 36: To reserve where feasible, land adjacent to riverbanks and lakes for public access and to facilitate the creation of linear parks to accommodate walking/cycling routes
Maps of the Irish canals can be purchased in a handy spiral bound guide at the IWAI Waterways Shop. The Charts Special Interest Group CSIG is working on the next generation of charts for the Irish waterways.
As well as Charts, the IWAI Waterways Shop has books on all aspects of the Irish canals, lakes and rivers.