Royal Canal Greenway is Cycle Route of the Year 2022
The Royal Canal Greenway in Ireland has been selected as Cycle route of the Year 2022. This was announced by the jury during the online ‘Kick-off cycling and walking season’ on Hicleholidays.com, the site that offers active holidays.
Three other nominated routes vied with the Irish cycling route in the final selection process: the ‘Badischer Weinradweg’ around the vineyards of Baaden (Germany), the Flanders Route (Belgium) and along the old defensive waterline ‘LF Waterlinieroute’ (Netherlands).
Cycling along the Royal Canal
The Royal Canal Greenway route runs from Maynooth (slightly west of Dublin) to Cloondara and Longford. The route along the Royal Canal is more than 130 kilometers long and is laid out as bicycle paths for almost its entire length. The narrow waterway meanders through pretty and varying landscapes, with pastures, woodlands, heaths and boglands. Along the way you encounter ninety old bridges and more than thirty sluices. You will see a typical Irish landscape with drystone walls, sheep and ruins. And in the evening the inhabitants gather in the finest Irish tradition for a relaxed pint together.
Retro style route signage
According to the jury, the route makers had thought long and hard about what recreational cyclists really want. ‘The signposting is clear (and nicely done, in retro style), there are benches everywhere, the road surface is good (asphalt and gravel) and signs show the way to pubs and eateries,’ according to the jury report. The jury also noticed that the route was not only used by tourists. ‘Recreational cycling is gaining popularity in Ireland. You see a great deal of local people on the Greenway, from family groups to cycling clubs, who give each other plenty of space.’
Support voor de route
The jury was particularly taken with the support shown by local people and entrepreneurs for the route. ‘There has been a considerable up-tick in activity in what was something of a backwater. In many places you can now find pubs and restaurants as well as old horseboxes converted into hip waterside coffee places. All of this enthusiasm around the Greenway makes this route a wonderful place to cycle.’
Fiets en Wandelbeurs
The Cycle Route of the Year is an annual initiative of the Fiets en Wandelbeurs, to encourage and stimulate the laying of qualitatively good cycling routes. Just as in 2021, the actual live Fair in Ghent and Utrecht could not be held in 2022 because of the Covid pandemic. As an alternative. the organisation opted for an online Kick-off for the new season, with a programme of readings, master classes and the announcement of the Cycle Route and Hiking Route of the Year 2022.