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Greenway Cycleway Extension Coming Soon

The Greenway / Cycleway, currently running between Newport and Mulranny, will soon be opened along its full length from Westport to Achill, giving a 42-km long almost entirely off-road cycling and walking (hiking) route here in West Mayo.

The Greenway traces the old disused railway line from Westport mainline train station to the terminal at Achill Sound, situated just before the bridge over to the island itself. The railway was in place from 1894 to 1937 and its most famous feature is undoubtedly the magnificent viaduct over the Newport River in the village of the same name.

In 2010, the Greenway was opened and became successful immediately, with many locals joined by growing numbers of tourists using it for exercise and as a day-trip tourism facility. There are at least three providers of bicycles for hire, based in Westport or Newport.

There is a map of the currently open stretch of the Greenway here.

April 2011 should see the full opening of the line and I look forward to seeing if other cycle hire businesses spring up at the Achill end of the line, to provide competition to those based around Westport.

There are also plans to develop a walkway / cycleway from Castlebar, through Islandeady, out to meet the Greenway perhaps at Westport. That would be a longer term project and would surely take several years to realise. It would certainly be an interesting extension.

If you are thinking of making the Westport – Newport – Achill area your base for an outdoors activity break in 2011, then do consider coming along on one of my entirely off-road guided walking events in the hills and bogs of the same area. Take a look at my events on this website. You’d be most welcome to come hillwalking in West Mayo.

Posted in Blog, Ecotourism, Walking in the West of Ireland | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

21 Responses to Greenway Cycleway Extension Coming Soon

  • Patricia said on February 9, 2011 at 12:48:

    Hi,

    what kind of bikes can be used on the Greenway. i have a Racer, would this be OK or do I need a Mountain Bike ??

    • Barry Murphy said on February 9, 2011 at 15:13:

      Hi Patricia,
      The Greenway surface is compacted gravel and fine gravel dust, rather than full hard tarmac. Your racer might be ok, but is not advised. It would be better to have a bike with wider tyres – not necessarily mountain bikes, but a hybrid – because your thin racer tyres might have difficulties with the sometimes uneven and softer edges to the route and any deformities along the way. Enjoy !

    • James Hoey said on August 10, 2011 at 08:14:

      The surface of the trail is not tarmac, but compacted grit. Therefore a racer (road bike) is not a good choice. A hybrid bike or mountain bike is ideal, for this type of surface. The bike needs to have multiple gears to cope with the gradients on the trail.

    • george hebborn said on August 16, 2011 at 07:41:

      I walked towards Newport, I enjoyed crossing the bridges and views of the lakes and Clew Bay. Most of all the wild flowers along the way. A good variety of birds to be seen. A suggestion would be a viewing spot somewhere above the Greenway, where you can sit and take in the views

      • Barry Murphy said on August 17, 2011 at 19:44:

        Hi George,
        Between Newport and Mulranny, there are loop walks which go above the Greenway, at a higher level along the foothaills of the Nephin Beg mountain range. There are information panels at one or two spots between those villages to show where to go, for nice views of the track and Clew Bay beyond.
        Alternatively, go into the Tourist Offices in either village and ask for the loop walk maps.
        Also, if you fancy going even higher, get in touch and I’d be delighted to bring you hillwalking, for even more spectacular views.
        Enjoy !

    • Lorraine said on June 28, 2012 at 21:51:

      Hi patricia,
      I’m curious to know whether you used your racer on the greenway??
      I’m thinking of using mine.
      Thanks

  • Eleanor de Eyto said on March 4, 2011 at 14:30:

    Dear Barry,

    I am a local user of the Greenway. Any up to date info. on Mulranny – Achill extension?
    Last time we walked out from Mulranny no bridge yet after Bally Croy road bridge. Looking good. And what is the plan for Newport to Westport? Have you a link to where one may see map of planned route. Thanks,
    Eleanor

    • Barry Murphy said on March 4, 2011 at 15:34:

      Hi Eleanor,
      As it happens, I will be checking out the Mulranny to Achill stretch tomorrow, as I am going out to Ballycroy National Park. I’ll post here afterwards, with some photos.
      I’m not too sure about Newport back to Westport at the moment. Will try to check it out another day.
      I don’t believe there is a map of the extended route on the internet, but it will follow as closely as possible the old line back to Westport, though I don’t know what they plan once they hit the GAA pitches in Westport.

      • Barry Murphy said on March 5, 2011 at 16:19:

        Today I checked the extension towards Achill, although I didn’t reach the end. Yes, the track is indeed done and dusted for the most part and ready for cyclists.
        A colleague told me, however, that there are one or two issues further along towards the Achill end, with the odd landowner refusing permission to cross.
        Some photos will follow.

  • Nora said on March 14, 2011 at 23:16:

    Good on Mayo.

    Have cycled the Newport to Mullranny greenway and would be interest in the Mullranny/ Achill for 2011.

    Congratulations to all involved.

  • Vera Hussey said on April 25, 2011 at 19:42:

    hi! myself and a few friends would like to do the cycleway from Newport to Mulranny in June. We are looking for accommodation and bikes as near to the start either in Newport or Mulranney. We will be travelling from Dublin by Bus Eireann. Can you tell me how we would co-ordinate accommodation and bike hire before travelling and where on the map can we see the start and end of the cycleway please? Kind regards, Vera Hussey

    • Barry Murphy said on April 27, 2011 at 08:37:

      Hi Vera,
      The handiest hotels for the Greenway are the Mulranny Park Hotel and Hotel Newport. There are loads of B&Bs – check them out on discoverireland.ie
      There are three bike hire operators I’m aware of :
      Clew Bay Outdoors
      Swift Newport Bicycle Hire
      Swift has good maps on his website.
      Electric Escapes.
      You should know also that the Greenway now extends beyond Mulranny in the direction of Achill.
      Enjoy !

  • rob mccullagh said on June 7, 2011 at 15:49:

    Hi

    Is the Greenway now open between Westport to Newport?

    I m planning to cycle to Belmullet, from Westport, can you recommend a route with minimal traffic. I will be joined by friends flying in from London to Knock. What is the best way to get bikes from there to westport?

    • Barry Murphy said on June 8, 2011 at 18:35:

      Hi Rob,
      The Greenway cycle and walking track is not yet fully open between Westport and Newport, but is from Newport northwards through Mulranny and on to Achill. There are some minor stretches on the road, but 98% is off-road.
      To cycle to Belmullet from Westport, travel on the road to Newport, then on the Greenway to just beyond Mulranny and leave where the bicycle sculpture and the suitcase sculpture are (you can’t miss them !). Then take the coast road through Ballycroy and inland towards Bangor Erris, then the main road to Belmullet.
      If you need bikes in Westport, contact http://www.clewbayoutdoors.com.
      Enjoy Mayo !

  • Laura Dempsey said on July 15, 2011 at 17:58:

    Myself and my two friends spent a day cycling from Westport to Mulranny and back. It was the most enjoyable activity I’ve done in ages.

    We rented our bikes from Sean Salmon in Westprot town. They were great bikes and he was lovely and very helpful. We were delayed coming home and he waited for us to return the bikes.

    The Greenway is a credit to everyone involved in its opening. There were spectactacular views and the most wonderful smells of the lovely Irish countryside. I would recommend this to anyone able to cycle or walk along it. You don’t need to be an amazing cyclist – this is accesible to everyone.

    It was one of the most lovely days I’ve spent out cycling. Make the most of it and enjoy. Hopefully next time I’ll organise myself to make it to Achill for the night.

    Laura xx

    • Barry Murphy said on July 25, 2011 at 09:07:

      Hi Laura,
      I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed the Greenway. Those responsible for opening it deserve credit. I’m not aware of Sean Salmon bike hire, so cannot post his contact details.

  • David Mahon said on June 12, 2012 at 21:55:

    Any Updated news on the Greenway Route??
    In Ireland next week, and Love Cycling 🙂

    • Barry Murphy said on June 15, 2012 at 13:59:

      Hi there,
      The Greenway is now open to its full length of 42 km from Westport to Achill Sound.
      From there you can, of course, continue your cycle trip onto the island of Achill, although on the roads from that point on.
      Visit Newport and Mulranny villages on route. The latter is especially pretty, with a hotel right beside the cycle track, if you want to stop off for a bite to eat or a nice cool drink, while enjoying the wonderful views out over Clew Bay.
      Enjoy !

  • Rory Maguire said on July 11, 2012 at 10:54:

    I cycled the Greenway from Achill to Newport last weekend. It’s a wonderful, varied route. I was just very disappointed that it’s not properly paved with tar. Gravel, even fine gravel, is just not pleasant for cycling. I know tarring a path is very expensive, but surely it would soon pay for itself with the enormous sums the Greenway is bringing in? It’s just a shame that such a brilliant tourism idea wasn’t properly followed through. A gravel cycle path is not of the standard that European cyclists are used to. It also excludes racers. I actually preferred cycling on the short stretches of roadway, even though there were cars passing, rather than being on gravel. Not cool!

    • Barry Murphy said on July 11, 2012 at 16:16:

      Hi Rory,
      One difficulty for the those developing the Greenway, I suspect, was deciding whether it would be a cycle track or walking route. As a walker, I’d prefer if there had been nothing more than rough stone put down. Avid cyclists, on the other hand, might indeed have liked tar. What was put in place would seem to be a compromise, more or less accommodating anyone but the racer. Hving said that, I still think ‘Blackway’ would have been a more appropriate tag than ‘Greenway’. Also, at only 42 km long, the current Greenway can only be of limited appeal to cyclists other than ultra-leisure people.

  • alison said on June 5, 2014 at 15:12:

    The Greenway is the best thing to happen to Achill for a generation, congratulations to all who had the vision and patience to see this through.
    I have used it a lot and good though it is here are a few suggestions.
    !. Take it to Achill!!! it currently stops a couple of miles short forcing you up onto the fast main road.Frustratingly the track bed is very obvious at the point where it deviates I realise there are probably complex access issues here but still…
    2. further back there is another deviation just past the little art gallery, again I wouldn’t take kids on individual bikes on this bit either, however at the time of writing there is a massive project to move the main road going on. Must have cost millions? This will eliminate this break and make it more worthwhile to cycle further on towards Achill Sound where there is an excellent coffee shop on the left near the pharmacy.
    3. With regard to racing bikes, its not really that sort of route. Lots of first time cyclists and kids when its busy not to mention walkers, using it to set Strava segment times would be antisocial,although it goes on.
    One stroke of absolute genius was the banning of dogs, I find in my many explorations of similar tracks in the UK that dog walkers are not compatible with this sort of venture. Its not the piles of shit but rather the twenty foot leads strung across the path and the implied demands for apology every time they have to pull the dog in that grates with me. I have only had serious altercations a few times in m life but always involving dog walkers ‘didn’t hear your bell”, ” a thankyou would be nice”
    et al.
    So overall its a great facility and will hopefully continue to evolve\ improve as the years go by.


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