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Green and Silver by bike

Posted by Surveyor 
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Green and Silver by bike
06 July, 2012 22:21
About this time last year I posted a couple of times about my wonderful experience cycling from the Liffey to the Shannnon via the Royal Canal towpath There was a suggestion at the time that a cycling green and silver route was being planned for the Shannon and I wonder if there have been any developments in the past twelve months? I gather that the Shannon route is complicated and I wonder if there is a map available?
Re: Green and Silver by bike
06 July, 2012 22:29
Have to get back to you on that, S. I believe some walking/cycling possibilities between Richmond and Shannon Hbrs had been identified, but dont think a whole route had been found. In the meantime feel free to have a nose around yourself, but do let us know if you come up with a route...!!

Re: Green and Silver by bike
08 July, 2012 11:38
Hi Surveyor & Mick,

This is an area that a couple of us have been following over the past year.

There have been a couple of press announcements recently (see relating to some investment for upgrade parts of the Royal Canal including
- 451K in Westmeath for the Royal Canal route: upgrading of 11.3km of canal tow path from Boardstown Bridge eastbound towards Meath
- 600K in Fingal for Provision of 3km route section from Ashtown to the Blanchardstown/Castleknock train station along the Royal Canal tow path, joining up with the existing route from Ashtown into the city

It seems that there are 2 schools of thought here - none specifically relating to a full a "green and silver" route.

One initiative appears to be favouring a "loop type" cycle using the Royal to go out to the borders of Kildare only and return via the Grand Canal. This is being promoted by IrishTrails which is a part of the Dept of Sport (see

At a more local level, Fingal just recently asked for public submissions on upgrading the Royal Canal towpaths (see This focus here appears to be "looking east" and using the Royal Canal as a cycle way for commuters. A group of us provided input as local residents and I tried to encourage the thinking for a "green and silver" type route.

A second initiative appears to be a longer term proposal to develop a greenway right across Ireland, alongside the Royal Canal. This could run from Dublin to Galway, and on to Westport, using the bankside of the Royal Canal as its route (see I would suspect that this route would leave the Royal Canal somewhere mid way in order to go towards Galway.

On the western end, there has been some effort by local groups in conjunction with the Longford county council to examine route options along the western end of the Royal Canal to Clondra. This was part of a local based approach to identifying local walking/cycling trails. This went as far a preparing a local action plan but I think that progress is slow as investment is required and there hasn't been an overall coordination between all the bodies involved.

In summary, lots happening but at a local level only with some grand plans for a national route. Biggest challenge appears to be a joined up strategy. Please correct me if I am wrong.
Re: Green and Silver by bike
08 July, 2012 14:22
Hi Ivo,

I have noticed some fairly new signage appearing out near Shannon Hbr. Might be a tad confusing though...!!


Re: Green and Silver by bike
04 September, 2012 11:46
I'm running way behind schedule due to work and family commitments and have only succeeded in completing one recce trip which may be of interest. I left the Grand Canal Dock liffey lock at 0900 on Sunday heading for Hazlehatch. The spin to Suir road was not as pleasant as I had expected. Due to my late start there was quite a bit of traffic on the canal and surprisingly part of the tow path being in poor condition, overgrown and poorly surfaced. At Blackhorse I entered the Adamstown Green Route which extends almost to Gollierstown. To say that I was stunned by the Green Route is an understaement. The investment of €25 million in the development of this high tech cycle route is admirable but in my opinion completely inappropriate. Cycling on a mini autobahn beside the canal with public lighting every 25m and CCTV every 50m is not what the I expected, but perhaps if I was commuting via this route on winter evenings I might have a differant and more appreciative view. However I cant help feeling that if that money had been spent more widely on a more sympathetic development of the canals more could have been acheived. The hearts were clearly in the right place but were more than a little misguuided. At the end of a mind numbingly boring 20 minutes of high speed cycle path the canal abandons an environment dominated by hard surfaces, lights security camaras and 'miles' of vivid blue railings, and resumes its normal rural form. The contrast between the sylvan environs of Gollierstown and the urban Green Route could not be more marked. Shortly afterwards I arrived at HazleHatch. What a sad sight it is to see so many neglected and abandoned boats, So many dreams seemed to have run aground at Hazelhatch its quite depresssing. My initial impressions of the Grand Canal were mixed and the lack of signage can make it difficult to maintain your bearings. However I look forward to the remainder of my journey to the Shannon, and a quick visit to Robertstown yesterday in beautiful weather bodes well for the remainder of the trip.

Having left the Grand at Hazelhatch I headed through Celbridge past the entrance to Castletown and out the Maynooth road taking the roundabout exit for Leixlip and arriving at louisa Bridge after an easy if boring 20min road cycle. At louisa bridge I was back in my natural habitat of the Royal. I had a wonderful cycle back to Cross Gunns. The work idone to improve the surface at the Deep Sinkings is, to my mind, much more sympathetic, and is I suspect costing a fraction of the €25 million spent on the the Green Route. As with my previous trip on the Royal, both canals were all but deserted apart from some kayakers in the Gollierstown area.

Despite any impression given by the unintentionally negative tone of my narrative this is an enjoyable and pleasantly easy loop route which can be completed in anything between 2 and three hours and can be ended with a well earned coffee and cake in Ashtown.
Re: Green and Silver by bike
04 September, 2012 14:24

As far as I can remember, there was a deal done with one of the utility companies who needed to run some of their Hi-Tech infrastructure in a way that would potentially avoid diggers accidentally damaging the if they were under the public main roads, also traffic disruption was another consideration during the course of the works.

WI closed the tow path for 15-18 months a couple of years ago to facilitacte these works.

What you saw as the finished product did not cost Waterways Ireland a penny in capital costs. This was funded by the utility company. As I understand it.

By the way, I don't know who (if anybody) monitors the CCTV. I also don't know who pays the electric light bill.


Re: Green and Silver by bike
15 February, 2013 11:18
I'm starting my Cycling Green and Silver plans again.....just a year behind schedule now!
I plan to register my attempt with Waterways Ireland and provide the evidence required. While the two canal routes are well eastablished and I have allready cycled the entire Royal and part of the Grand, the Shannon Harbour to Richmond Harbour river leg is still a problem. I've tried a bit of 'digital research' via Goggle Earth but it really doesnt look like there is a viable riverbank route. Whereas on the Canals you can switch banks relativeley easily as the need arises the same is far from the case on the Shannon. The lack of an identifiable river walk and the extent of tributaries etc which make the bank impassable seem to suggest that as of now there is no viable/continuous riverbank land route route for the Shannon leg of the Green and Silver.

I wonder which alternative option is best?
Shannon Harbour to Richmond Harbour by boat with the bike on board - a sort of Hybrid Green and Silver.
Cycle by road as close as possible to the Shannon, with (token) river bank travel where possible.

I plan to try to explore the route options by motorbike in the coming weeks and I'd welcome any thoughts anyone has and I'd particularly welcome any local knowledge regarding riverside roads, paths and tracks. I'll see if I can stitch together whatever information I can gather so as to asemble the most viable route achievable at the moment.


ps. Vossie you aren't by any chance walking the Shannon thes days?
Re: Green and Silver by bike
15 February, 2013 18:52
Surveyor, good luck with your efforts. Just one thing, it's IWAI not WI that are the mentors of The G@S route.

Contact ,Mick Farrell ,of this forum,and the Dublin Branch ,for further info

Re: Green and Silver by bike
24 April, 2013 12:59
Any update on this? Was thinking of doing it myself in stages, but would like company.

Any updates welcome or PM or off list


Niall G
Re: Green and Silver by bike
16 November, 2013 23:56
Hi guys,
I and 2 friends are looking at cycling the Royal from Cloondara to Spencer starting 1st December.

What I need to know is what are the worst stretches? I'll be using a proper touring bike with plenty of low gears, but 700C x 32 tyres.

Can anyone give me a few tips? (No, the cold doesn't bother me!)


Re: Green and Silver by bike
17 November, 2013 08:16
Howya Alan,

Here's a piece I did in Inland W'way News yonks ago on a complete walk in the reverse direction:-

The canal was only navigable to Abbeyshrule then but the towpath hasn't changed much, methinks. The main thing from a biker's point of view is to stay the correct side of canal at various stages. A few 5-bar gates get in the way otherwise....


Re: Green and Silver by bike
17 November, 2013 09:59
Best of luck with it, maybe keep us all updated with lots of photos etc. It is important that this trip is done...

Niall G
Re: Green and Silver by bike
17 November, 2013 10:49
[quote Niall Galway]Best of luck with it, maybe keep us all updated with lots of photos etc. It is important that this trip is done...

Niall G[/quote]

No it isn't. :-) :-)

But good luck with it...

Yacht Awkward Sod
Re: Green and Silver by bike
17 November, 2013 12:26
Would you like to elaborate your comment, or maybe explain why it isn't that the trip is done, I would be interested to hear your comments....or are you going to tell me it (the comment) was a joke?

Niall G
Re: Green and Silver by bike
17 November, 2013 13:18
[quote Niall Galway]Would you like to elaborate your comment, or maybe explain why it isn't that the trip is done, I would be interested to hear your comments....or are you going to tell me it (the comment) was a joke?

Niall G[/quote]

Ah now...

I don't think that it is important.

But I'm sure that some people do.

My priority is the imminent winter sailing season..

Such is life.

Yacht Unrepentant
Re: Green and Silver by bike
18 November, 2013 00:09
Hi Jim,
Thanks a lot for that helpful reply. A couple of questions, if you can recall:

W of 17th lock - which side of the canal would you use to avoid the gates?
W of Ballinea Bridge - cowtrack, no reasonable passage through > I guess that'd mean its uncycleable?

Thanks again. I bought the Guide so I can get to know the names a bit better, and scrawl my queries and notes on too no doubt.

Niall - I'll come back and post her and/or make a new thread summarising how we get on. (Hopefully theres no spanners in the works between now and then!).

If anyone else can comment on doubtful sections of the towpath, could you please drop me a line, here or pm - forewarned is forearmed, as they say.
Re: Green and Silver by bike
18 November, 2013 08:26
No prob. Alan,

W 17th Lock : Looking at the Guide, my (fallible) memory suggests you keep to the west bank but a local enquiry would help. Great excuse to strike up conversation - they're mostly very keen to help.

W of Ballinea Bridge : forgive a bit of hyperbole there - am sure it'll be OK; may need to carry the trusty bike for thirty yds.

Re: Green and Silver by bike
18 November, 2013 17:23

I don't recall any major issues with regard to the towpath but then I was on a boat and not scrutinising the towpath that closely. You could do worse than have a root through Vossie's blogs on the matter....lots of pics and I'm sure he'd be able to advise as to which side(s) of the canal are best at each stage.

Re: Green and Silver by bike
19 November, 2013 15:21
The Royal Canal towpath is closed between Lock 12 and Lock 10 while they build a new cycle route... not sure what an alternative route would be, the Deep Sinking from Kennan Bridge eastward to the 12th Lock would be pretty narrow to cycle along anyway so you might need to find a route along the road to get you past there.

See attachment for a route that was used for a charity cycle called the 'Green Loop' - you would need to stay on the road at Blanchardstown where it comes back onto the canal because that section is now temporarily closed and continue along the road through Castleknock and around to Ashtown where you can get back on the towpath again at the 10th Lock.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 19/11/2013 15:22 by tails142.
Re: Green and Silver by bike
20 November, 2013 20:42
Hi Tails,
Thanks! Thats great info, we have an idea we might need to get around that area now, so we have a better idea what to expect.
And thanks also for the diagram - a pic speaks a thousand words!
Jim and Mick - thanks also for the added detail, much appreciated.
Cycled Greystones - Dun Laoghaire today - it was absolutely brassers, but off to the cycle shop soon to invest in some proper Arctic cycling clothing!
Should anyone else remember anything that might be of interest, please do let me know! Any and all info gratefully accepted!


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