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Royal Canal

The Royal Canal winds its 146km journey from Dublin to the Shannon. Rising through a series of locks, it reaches the summit level near Mullingar and descends to its destination in the magnificent cut-stone Richmond Harbour. The route provides a linear corridor of unspoilt countryside speckled with examples of the late-eighteenth century industrial archaeology that herald its heyday.

The Royal Canal’s diverse route navigates from the heart of the capital city to the heart of Ireland. Whether by boat or simply on foot, you’ll have ample opportunity to revel in it all.

Work on constructing the canal was completed in 1817. Initially an important hub for trade, by the 1950s the canal had fallen into disrepair and was officially closed in 1961.

Following extensive restoration work, the Royal Canal was re-opened for navigation in 2010 reigniting enthusiasm for the historic trail. As a result of the Royal Canal’s colourful history and passage through Ireland’s Ancient East, this waterway truly is a snapshot of the past. Several bridges date back more than 200 years and there are buildings in Abbeyshrule that can be traced back to 1200 AD.

Legend and myth abound along each leafy corridor including stories such as the haunted Bridge at the 13th Lock. According to legend, in years gone by, boatmen would never moor there overnight.

Today, cruising the Royal Canal is a wonderfully serene experience. Draped in beauty, peace and tranquillity, a trip down the Royal Canal - be it by paddle or engine - is a trip into another world.

The Royal Canal Greenway provides a 130km walking and cycling trail from Maynooth to Cloondara where the Royal meets the Shannon. Nested within is the Mullingar Blueway, where you can explore a 23km paddling trail.

The Royal Canal is heaving with wildlife, and eagle-eyed nature watchers could be fortunate enough to spot herons, swans, otters, badgers and foxes amidst the restful waters and colourful hedgerows.

Of course, that’s just on the surface, beneath the water a biosphere of life exists with roach proving to be one of the most popular fish, along with pike, tench and bream. This makes angling a very popular activity along the canal with all levels of experience finding excellent conditions.

Wherever the Royal Canal takes you, lose yourself in the lingering, leafy surrounds of this industrial grande dame’s still waters.

Click to view our Navigation Guide.​

Click to view current status of Royal Canal towpath developments

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Ballymahon Greenway Cycles

Mostrim Road
Ballymahon
Co Longford

5;#Royal Canal

5;#Cycling

4;#Equipment Hire/Rental

Dublinbikes

Dublin City Council
Wood Quay
Dublin 2

5;#Royal Canal;#3;#Grand Canal

5;#Cycling;#15;#Greenway

4;#Equipment Hire/Rental

Kilcock Canoe Polo Club

Kilcock Harbour

5;#Royal Canal

3;#Canoeing

1;#Activity Provider;#3;#Clubs & Training Centres

Midlands Cycle Hub

Cloondara,
Co Longford  
N39 F438

9;#Royal Canal

5;#Cycling;#15;#Greenway

1;#Activity Provider

Mullingar Bike Hire

Harbour Street,
Mullingar

5;#Royal Canal

5;#Cycling;#15;#Greenway

1;#Activity Provider

Mullingar Harbour Canoe Polo Club

Royal Canal Harbour,
Commons
Mullingar

9;#Royal Canal

3;#Canoeing

3;#Clubs & Training Centres

OE Bike Shop

Unit 2 Zone C
The Parkway
Mullingar
Co Westmeath

5;#Royal Canal

5;#Cycling

4;#Equipment Hire/Rental

Royal Canal Bike Hire

Maynooth

5;#Royal Canal

5;#Cycling;#13;#Tour;#15;#Greenway

1;#Activity Provider;#17;#Tours & Trips

Royal Canal Boat Trips

Royal Canal

9;#Royal Canal

21;#Boat Trips

17;#Tours & Trips
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