The Great Western Greenway in Co. Mayo

Mayo's unique Great Western Greenway is a premier opportunity to escape the busy pace of urban life. The world class Great Western Greenway is the longest off-road walking and cycling trail in Ireland and follows the route of the renowned Westport to Achill railway line which closed in 1937.

The Greenway project was developed by Mayo County Council with the co-operation of local landowners, and in partnership with other state agencies and bodies and co-funded by the Department of Transport and Fáilte Ireland. The Great Western Greenway is an excellent local amenity and tourist attraction which will help to establish Mayo as a premier walking and cycling destination.

The Great Western Greenway forms part of the National Cycle Network which is being developed throughout Ireland.

The entire project was developed and completed in two phases.

The first phase of The Great Western Greenway, an 18km track between Newport and Mulranny, opened in April 2010.

On July 8th 2011, little more than a year after opening, the Newport to Mulranny route was awarded the coveted European Destination of Excellence (EDEN).

This award promotes sustainable tourism development models across the European Union and draws attention to the values, diversity and common features of European tourist destinations.

The recipients of the award are recognised for their commitment to social, cultural and environmental sustainability.

In the second phase, on July 29th 2011 the final two sections of the Greenway, the 13km Mulranny to Achill track and the 11km Westport to Newport route, were officially opened by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

This wonderful trail follows the route of the old Westport to Achill railway line which closed in 1937 linking the towns of WestportNewportMulranny and Achill Sound.

With its gentle gradients and resplendent scenery, this traffic free cycling or walking trail is a fitting memento of the glorious railway era.

The entire 42km traffic-free route is ideal for a leisurely stroll, a brisk walk or an energetic cycle, while affording the opportunity to admire the breathtaking scenery around Clew Bay, from this elevated historic old railway line originally built in the 1800’s.

Although the old tracks have been removed it is still possible to get the feeling of what this railway was. The rail corridors, original train stations, old railways cottages (some in ruins and some still occupied), beautiful stone railway bridges and viaducts have survived, such as the Newport Viaduct, and can still be seen.

In the past its gentle gradient allowed locomotives to pull heavy loads and nowadays assures a pleasant and easy outdoor exercise for everybody.

Traversing woodlands and rolling hills the Great Western Greenway is one of the most idyllic scenic routes in the west of Ireland.

It wraps the rims of the majestic Clew Bay and offers spectacular views of the picturesque Nephin Beg Range and Courran Hill to the north, views of Croagh Patrick to the south and view of Clare Island, the gem of the Western Isles.

Also the Great Western Greenway is surrounded by rich and different habitats: sea, mountains, rivers, lakes, bogs and pastures.

Along this trail a large number of wildflowers and wildlife can be spotted and appreciated.

The Greenway is a thrilling and safe experience for all the family and is suitable for people with even moderate levels of fitness, walkers, cyclists and wheelchairs alike.

Bicycle hire and return is available in a variety of outlets at different points of the Greenway.

Please remember to adhere to the seven principles designed to help you to protect the natural environment and the unique Mayo's habitats. Our countryside is a precious natural resource, VISIT WITH CARE!

WAYMARKING

Trail is way marked using the National Cycle Network symbol and a white directional travel arrow.

TO SUIT

Suitable for people with moderate levels of fitness. Minimum Gear : Helmet, Bike, Mobile Phone, Snacks, Fluid and waterproofs.

SERVICES

Services available on Achill Island and Mulranny. If approaching the Greenway from Achill Island, there is an official access point which is located at Óstán Oileán Acla / Achill Island Hotel at the gateway to the Island and then follow finger post signage onto the Greenway.

History

The Great Western Greenway, the longest off-road walking and cycling trail in Ireland, boasts an interesting history.

Westport-Newport

The Westport to Newport section is a 12.5km long track and winds along the Clew Bay shore.

Newport-Mulranny

The Newport to Mulranny section is a 18km long trail and was awarded the European Destination of Excellence (EDEN).

Mulranny-Achill

The Mulranny to Achill section is a 13km long track and offers spectacular seascapes.