A spin along the Waterford Greenway is one of the most popular things to do in Waterford for good reason.
Also known as the ‘Deise Greenway’, the Waterford Greenway is regarded as one of the most scenic cycling routes in Ireland.
The Greenway is Ireland’s longest off-road trail (46km in length), and you can complete it in a couple of hours by bike or over the course of a day on foot.
In the guide below, you’ll find an interactive Waterford Greenway Map (with parking, entry points, etc.) along with advice on what to see and where to grab lunch.
Some quick need-to-knows about The Waterford Greenway
So, once you have a good Waterford Greenway Map (you’ll find a Google Map below!), the cycle is relatively straightforward. However, there are a few handy chunks of info that’ll make your visit that bit more hassle-free:
1. The route
The Waterford City to Dungarvan Greenway runs roughly southwest from Waterford (Ireland’s oldest city) to the coastal town of Dungarvan. It follows a historic railway line that operated from 1878 to the late 1970s.
The Greenway covers an impressive 46km and runs through 6 different stages:
- Stage 1: Waterford City to Killoteran (7.5km)
- Stage 2: Killoteran to Kilmeadan (3km)
- Stage 3: Kilmeadan to Kilmacthomas (13.5km)
- Stage 4: Kilmacthomas to Durrow (12km)
- Stage 5: Durrow to Clonea Road (6km)
- Stage 6: Clonea Road to Dungarvan (4km)
3. How long it takes to cycle
To cycle the entire length of the Greenway (i.e. Waterford City to Dungarvan, or vice versa), you should allow at least 3.5 hours. 4 if you plan on stopping for lunch at the half way point. You can then either cycle back the way you came or grab a bus (more on this below).
As The Waterford Greenway is, for the most part, nice and flat, it’s not an overly challenging cycle. Throw in the fact that there’s plenty of attractions along the way to stop-off at, and this should be doable for most.
5. Parking, start points + toilets
There’s plenty of Waterford Greenway parking, depending on where you’re starting the cycle from. In the map below, you’ll find the various parking areas along with the different start points and toilets.
6. Bike hire
If you don’t have your own bike, don’t worry – there’s heaps of Waterford Greenway bike hire spots at each section of the trail. You’ll find info on each of these below.
Waterford Greenway Map with the route, parking, entry points and toilets
The Waterford Greenway Map above is fairly straightforward. And you shouldn’t have any hassle following it. However, if you’d like a map to print out, here’s a downloadable Waterford Greenway Map. Here’s how to read the map above:
The Purple Line
This shows the full route of the Greenway, from Waterford City out to Dungarvan. The route is nice and easy to follow.
The Yellow Pointers
The yellow pointers show the Waterford Greenway parking areas that have entry points to the trail. I.e. if you park in one of these places, you’ll be able to join the trail.
The Red Pointers
The red pointers show the various public toilets that are scattered along the Greenway. This doesn’t include toilets in cafes and restaurants.
The Green Pointers
Finally, the green pointers show some of the main attractions along the route, with everything from Mount Congreve Gardens to the Kilmacthomas Viaduct plotted out.
An overview of the Waterford Greenway route
I’m going to run through what you can expect at each section of the Waterford City to Dungarvan Greenway below. You’ll also find info on where to grab some food on the way.
Now, it’s worth deciding in advance how you’re going to tackle the Greenway – i.e. are you going to cycle the full thing both ways, or are you going to cycle one way and get a bus back.
Some bike hire companies will collect you and take you back to your starting point. However, you can also grab the public bus back to Waterford from Dungarvan.
Stage 1: Waterford City to Killoteran (7.5km)
Your adventure begins in Ireland’s oldest city. If you’re visiting the area for the first time, you really should linger a day or two and enjoy the sights before heading out along the Waterford Greenway.
If you have time, the Viking Triangle, Reginald’s Tower, Waterford Crystal, the Medieval Museum and Bishop’s Palace are worth a look. You’ll find the starting point for the Waterford Greenway plotted on our map above (it’s easy to find).
The gorgeous River Suir
As you leave Waterford and head out from historic Grattan Quay, the Waterford Greenway follows the bends and contours of the sweeping River Suir. The tidal estuary of the River Suir is a Special Area of Conservation and is home to salmon, otters, lamprey, and shad.
Set a steady pace that allows you to enjoy the surrounding vistas and landmarks, including the remains of an old Red Iron Bridge and a 230m-long sail-like Thomas Francis Meagher Bridge, the longest single-span bridge in Ireland.
Mighty historical sites
Keep going and you’ll pass Woodstown, the archaeological site of the 8th century Viking settlement that predates the city of Waterford. Artifacts can be seen at the Waterford Museum of Treasures and at Reginald’s Tower.
You’ll pass the sprawling campus of the Waterford Institute of Technology and before long, you’ll leave the urban architecture in your rearview… or whatever the bike equilivant is.
Stage 2: Killoteran to Kilmeadan (3km)
This section of the Waterford Greenway is flat and easy – ideal for those with small children or for those of you looking to move at a leisurely pace.
In this section, history lovers can spot the four-bay lime kilns used in the 19th century to burn lime for farming and whitewashing houses.
After Killoteran, at the start of the second section of the Waterford Greenway, look out for Mount Congreve Gardens, one of the great gardens of the world.
You might want to detour and admire the world-class collection of azaleas, camellias, and rhododendrons in late spring on this beautiful 18th-century Georgian estate. Look out for the medieval ruins of a Norman Castle before the trail enters a shady woodland.
Castles and railways
Shortly after, the ruins of 17th-century Kilmeaden Castle appear. Make sure and keep an eye out for Le Poer Castle. It was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell around 1850.
Parts of this section adjoin the heritage Waterford and Suir Valley Railway, a narrow-gauge railway which runs for 8.5km from the station at Kilmeadan to Gracedieu Junction and Bilberry Halt in Waterford.
If you are walking the Waterford Greenway in summer, you can hop aboard and enjoy the scenery from a restored carriage as you head back towards Waterford.
Stage 3: Kilmeadan to Kilmacthomas (13.5km)
This section of the Waterford Greenway is a fair bit lengthier that the two previous ones. On this stretch, you’ll encounter occasional ups and downs on a mostly flat surface.
You’re entering a more rural area of the route now, with evidence of farming and livestock all around you along with an abundance of wildlife and birds.
Mills and mountains
You’ll see the tall chimney tower marking the site of Fairbrook Mill, an 18th-century factory that produced paper and later processed wool. You can also visit the gardens at Fairbrook House, if it tickles your fancy.
To the north, the dramatic peaks of the magnificent Comeragh Mountains will be visible in the distance.
The next historic site is the brick-built Kilmacthomas Workhouse, also known as the old Famine Workhouse. It was built in 1850 for the Poor Law Union and the site includes a chapel and fever hospital.
The buildings have since been re-purposed as a business center, design studio, and cafe. To the north of the workhouse, there’s a graveyard where the poor were laid to rest in unmarked graves.
Stage 4: Kilmacthomas to Durrow (12km)
After passing the workhouse you’ll find plenty of opportunities for a rest and well-earned refreshments in Kilmacthomas. This lovely town marks the half-way point of the Waterford Greenway.
If you fancy a feed (or just a coffee), Kiersey’s Bar, Maggie’s Feel Good Food, Mark’s Chipper, Kirwan’s and Coach House Coffee are all worth a look.
The village also offers some mighty views of the Kilmacthomas Viaduct. This stone viaduct was built in 1878 for the Great Southern and Western Railway. The eight lofty arches span the road and river.
As you continue to spin along the Waterford Greenway, you’ll pass close to the Cloughlowrish Stone, an enormous Ice Age “glacial erratic” which was carried downriver by a slow-moving glacier.
Local legend has it that you cannot tell a lie near the stone or it will split in two. Surprisingly, it’s still in one solid piece!
Mountains, dancehalls and more
Continue through the scenic valleys with gentle inclines and seemingly never-ending views of the Comeragh Mountains. You’ll cross the Durrow Viaduct (built in 1878) over the River Tay shortly after passing the Ice Age boulder.
After that, you’ll come to the now-silent ruins of Durrow Station. This once-bustling hub is covered with ivy but you can still see the platform and waiting rooms.
One final point of interest is the red-roofed Durrow Dancehall. Although it’s now derelict, during the 1940s and 50s it was the centre of social entertainment as a dance hall. It was later used by coachbuilder Willie Cronin as a workshop.
Stage 5: Durrow to Clonea Road (6km)
The Durrow to Clonea Road section kicks-off on flat surface and then hits a moderate decline towards Scartore. If you’re cycling, it’s a rare chance to pick up a decent bit of speed as you spin downhill.
Stop for a well-earned pint of Guinness (cycle responsibly…) or an ice cream at O’Mahony’s Pub and shop and raise a toast to the original railway workers served by this historic pub.
Owned and run by Tom and Helen O’Mahony, the pub has been in Tom’s family since it opened in 1860. There are many photographs on the walls charting the history of the former railway that you can have a nosey at.
The now-iconic tunnel
The highlights of this section of the Waterford Greenway are the 400m-long Ballyvoyle Tunnel (constructed in 1878) and the historic Ballyvoyle Viaduct.
The Ballyvoyle Viaduct is an iconic monument on the Deise Greenway. Like the tunnel, it was built in 1878. It was blown up in 1922 during the Civil War, rebuilt in 1924 and now offers serene treetop views.
Breathe in the fresh sea air as you round the headland on the Copper Coast and soak up your first views of the lovely Clonea Strand.
Stage 6: Clonea Road to Dungarvan (4km)
You’ve reached the last leg of the Waterford Greenway. Fair play to ya. This section takes you along the coast and is nice and flat (make sure you keep an eye out for the beautiful Clonea Strand).
Head through Abbeyside and look forward to your final destination – Dungarvan’s historic port. The official end of the trail is in Walton Park, at the center of this lively seaside town.
Look out for the 13th century Dungarvan Castle, known locally as King John’s Castle. It was used as an RUC barracks from 1889 and was partially burnt down by Republicans during the War of Independence.
It was later used as a Garda barracks and is now an OPW (Office of Public Works) heritage site. There’s plenty of things to do in Dungarvan while you’re there.
If you’d like to polish off your cycle with a bite to eat, hop into our guide to the best restaurants in Dungarvan to find a spot.
Waterford Greenway Bike Hire
Don’t have access to your own bike? No hassle – there’s a heap of places to rent a bike on the Greenway. Most rental spots offer two types of bike:
1. Regular Bikes
Most bike hire companies serving the Waterford Greenway offer a full range of men’s, women’s and children’s bikes, including BMX and mountain bikes. Some companies offer a drop-off and pick-up service. You can also enquire about trailer bikes and bike seats for kids
2. Electric Bikes
E-bikes are an alternative way to explore the Waterford City to Dungarvan Greenway. These aerodynamic bikes are available from Spokes Cycles and Viking Bike Hire. E-bikes are regular push bikes but they also have an electric motor, battery, and electric display. You need to pedal the bike and then engage the electric motor to assist.
Places to rent a bike on the Waterford Greenway
There’s a fair few Waterford Greenway bike hire companies to choose from. I’ll pop in the various providers below, but note that this isn’t an endorsement and I’m not vouching for any of them, as I haven’t used them personally.
1. Greenway Waterford Bike Hire
The Greenway Waterford Bike Hire in Waterford City also operates from the WIT complex where there’s ample parking. You can make use of the Greenway Shuttle Bus back to the depot from Dungarvan, too.
You can also hire bicycles from Greenway Waterford Bike Hire half-way along the Waterford Greenway at the Workhouse in Kilmacthomas. This depot is open daily all year round from 9 am.
2. Spokes Cycles
Spokes Cycles has a range of mountain, BMX, e-bikes and leisure bicycles for hire at Patrick Street, Waterford. All sizes are available, including adults and kids bikes.
3. Viking Bike Hire
You’ll find Viking Bike Hire located on Parade Quay in Waterford City. Again, this provider also has a full range of bikes, including e-bikes, trailers and kiddie seats.
4. The Greenway Man
The Greenway Man at Durrow is next to the Shanacool Access Point and O’Mahony’s Pub. Open daily, they also offer history and cycle tours.
5. Greenway Rent a Bike
Next up is the Greenway Rent a Bike. You’ll find these lads at Waveworld at Clonea Beach in Dungarvan.
6. Dungarvan Bike Hire
Next up is another one that’ll prove handy for those of you starting the cycle in Dungarvan. You’ll find the Dungarvan Bike Hire Co on O’Connell St in Dungarvan.
7. Dungarvan Greenway Bike Hire
Another one for Dungarvan. Dungarvan Greenway Bike Hire can be found on Sexton Street in Dungarvan. You could also always rent the bike for a few days and tackle the Copper Coast, too!
Waterford Greenway Shuttle Bus
You’ll see a lot of talk about a ‘Waterford Greenway shuttle bus’ online. This isn’t one shuttle bus – many bike-hire companies offer a shuttle service for those that rent a bike or a scooter from them.
However, it seems like some companies that offered this during ‘normal’ times, are no longer offering the service now, so make sure to check with the rental company in advance.
If the shuttle bus isn’t running and you’re doing the route from the city to Dungarvan, you can always grab the 362 bus from the town back to the city.
FAQs about the Waterford City to Dungarvan Greenway
We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from the Waterford Greenway length to what are the best starting points.
In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.
What distance is the Waterford Greenway?
The greenway, in its entirety, is 46 glorious kilometers in length. Now, as mentioned above, you can enter via a number of different points, so if 46 km sounds like it’ll be too much for you, you can tackle it in chunks.
Can you walk the Waterford Greenway?
Yes! It’ll take you a lot longer to walk the route, but it’s absolutely possible. Many people tend to walk the Greenway over several days.
How long does Waterford Greenway take?
It depends. If you cycle the Greenway and don’t stop, you could do it in under 2.5 hours. If you make a day out of it (which you definitely should) and make a number of stops, it can take up to 7 or 8 hours.
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