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Great Western Greenway Maps + Guide

Great Western Greenway Maps + Guide

At 43.5km, the Great Western Greenway is Ireland’s longest greenway, connecting Westport Town to Achill Island via a mix of old railway lines, roads and cycle lanes.

More commonly referred to as ‘the Mayo Greenway’ or ‘the Westport Greenway’, it is reasonably well-maintained, but there are sections (i.e. Newport) where it gets confusing.

In the guide below, you’ll find a Great Western Greenway map, an overview of each stage and info on where you’re most likely to go wrong. Cheers!

Some quick need-to-knows about the Great Western Greenway

 

As is the case with the Blessington Greenway and the brilliant Waterford Greenway, the Mayo Greenway is nicely laid-out and reasonably straightforward.

However, there are a handful of need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Where it starts and ends

The Mayo greenway begins in Westport Town and ends on Achill Island. It uses the old rail route crossing the stunning countryside of the west coast.

2. Length and distance

The Westport greenway is 43.5km long. Depending on your speed, it takes around 3 hours to cycle one way and 9.5 hours to walk it.

3. The Achill section

When it first launched, the Great Western Greenway finished at Achill Sound. However, a new 5km section from Achill Sound to Cashel recently launched and it’ll soon be extended out to Keel Beach.

 

4. Bike hire

There are plenty of places to rent a bike for the Mayo Greenway, like:

5. Where to stay on the route

 

An overview of each stage of the Mayo Greenway

Westport Town

Photos via Shutterstock

While the Great Western Greenway is usually described as running from Westport to Achill, you can start and finish where ever you fancy.

I’ll give you an overview of each stage below. Pay particular attention to the warnings at the Newport section.

Stage 1: The Westport Greenway to Newport

 

Many people start their walk/cycle from the Westport Greenway section.

Although you can start it from any point in Westport Town, you need to find the entry point to begin.

In my opinion, the handiest Westport Greenway starting point is the road just to the right of Clew Bay Bike Hire (here on Maps).

The journey from Westport to Newport follows a mostly off-road trail that’s well maintained and very easy to follow.

  • Distance: 12km
  • Cycle time (estimate): 40 minutes
  • Walking time (estimate): 2.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
 

Stage 2: The Newport Greenway to Mulranny

 

Newport is a lovely little town, but it’s here that the Mayo Greenway let’s itself down due to a lack of sinage.

You’ll cycle into the town via the often busy main road (the Seven Arches Bridge will be ahead of you and the brilliant Grainne Uaile pub will be on your right).

Make your way over the bridge and you’ll be on the main street, which is where things can be a bit manic.

You need to use caution as the town can be busy and there are no cycle lanes. You need to head for here to join the Newport Greenway to Mulranny.

The trail offers impressive views over Clew Bay and the rugged Nephin Beg mountain range in the distance.

  • Distance: 18km
  • Cycle time (estimate): 1 hour
  • Walking time (estimate): 4 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
 

Stage 3: The Mulranny to Achill Greenway

 

So, if you’re starting the Great Western Greenway from Mulranny, you’ll find the starting point just behind Clew Bay Bike Hire (here on Maps).

If you’re cycling/walking from Westport or Newport, just stay on the track and follow the signs!

As you head towards Achill Island, you can enjoy some truly spectacular views of the dramatic coastline with soaring cliffs and island views.

The greenway concludes in Achill Sound, the first village you come to on the island, and is a great spot for a rewarding coffee or pint. 

  • Distance: 13.5km
  • Cycle time (estimate): 40 minutes
  • Walking time (estimate): 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy
 

Stage 4: The new Achill Greenway

 

The newest section of the Achill to/from Westport Greenway launched in 2024 and it extends the route from Achill Sound to Cashel.

This is a 5km section that will, eventually, extend out to Keel Beach.

Along with the extension, a large car park along with toilets and space for campers has been built.

  • Distance: 5km
  • Cycle time (estimate): 10 minutes
  • Walking time (estimate): 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
 

Explore beyond the Great Western Greenway

best things to do in mayo Ireland

Now you that you have the Great Western Greenway conquered, it’s time to tackle some of the many other things to do in Mayo!

Some of my favourites are:

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Linda Milano

Saturday 3rd of September 2022

Can you bike the Greenway one way to a certain point and then stop? We would like to start in Westport and go until Mulranny, but do not want to bike the return to Westport. Will bike rental places come get you and the bikes for a return to Westport? Thank you.

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