My wife and I run OnYerBike Carlingford, a fun, friendly Bike Hire business on the Carlingford Lough Greenway. This site isn't about our bikes, it's about the Greenway and all that it offers. You can of course rent bikes from us for all the family. Just visit our website for bookings or call +353 (0) 87 992 1559
Today, The Carlingford Lough Greenway has two existing sections, three if you include as I do the Greenway that links Newry to Portadown
The first section, opened in 2014, runs from Carlingford Marina (where OnYerBike is based) to the neighbouring village Omeath, just under 7km away, almost entirely along the track bed of the old Dundalk, Newry & Greenore Railway.
The second section, opened in 2018, runs from Victoria Lock to Newry between the Newry Ship Canal and the Newry River, a distance of 5.7km.
The third section is known as the 'The Newry Canal Way and runs from Newry to Portadown
Today, to cycle or walk from Carlingford to Newry and on to The Newry Canal Way would involve you traveling along the often busy R173 main road for approximately 10km. It can be done - people including myself do it - but today it is not a safe, suitable road for a family to take a ride. This will all change - and soon - with the extension of the Carlingford Lough Greenway to connect Omeath to Victoria Lock, again largely using the track bed of the Dundalk, Newry & Greenore Railway.
The vision of a cross-border Greenway that links Carlingford to Newry is being delivered by Louth County Council working in collaboration with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and East Border Region Ltd with significant EU funding. The project will create 10.1km of additional Greenway, including a link from Carlingford Marina into Carlingford itself and of course a connection between Omeath and Victoria Lock.
It's going to be fantastic - just like the existing two sections of the Carlingford Lough Greenway and the Newry Canal Way
For those who want a longer ride or a proper good walk, on the northern outskirts of Newry City is the Newry Canal Way, a 32km walking and cycling route running from Newry to Portadown along the restored towpath of the former Newry Canal. I have ridden the route - it is flat with a great surface, running through villages such as Poyntzpass and Scarva before reaching Portadown. I'm a cyclist more than a walker - Carlingford to Portadown and back is a decent spin - 106km - and a very nice day out.
When the planned extension between Omeath and Victoria Lock is finished, there will be a 53 km cross border Greenway. That's not 'pie in the sky' - that is coming soon . . .watch this space
OnYerBike has recently introduced a new range of e-bikes that will make such a day out a bit easier on the heart, lung and legs ! Probably 5 hours of cycling and 3 hours of enjoying everything the route has to offer
The vision doesn't even stop there. There are already funded feasibility studies underway to take the Greenway to Templetown and ultimately, to Dundalk. From Portadown, the Northern Ireland Greenway Plan envisions an interconnected network of Greenways that will deliver 1000km of Greenways over the next decade. People - we are at the start of something very big !
The views are magnificent as you walk, cycle or jog along this section of The Carlingford Lough Greenway. The track is almost flat - a couple of minor inclines but nothing very dramatic. It was of course the track bed of the Dundalk, Newry & Greenore railway with this particular section being built in 1876.
As you leave Carlingford Marina, you are very soon running parallel with the shoreline. To your right, you can gaze across the Lough to the majestic Mourne Mountains or to your left, the beautiful slopes of Slieve Foye. There are many places to stop along the way - you should do, you must do. Go down to the shore, find a nice patch of grass, have a picnic, enjoy the views and the time with your loved ones.
Everywhere along the way there are amazing things to see. There are many relics of the old railway - the level crossing piers, bridges, railway buildings. You will find a photo section below but for any enthusiast of 'industrial archeology ', this is a fabulous treat.
The fauna and flora are all around you. Carlingford Lough is a haven for a wide variety of birds and all along the Greenway you will see sheep, lambs, horses, cows, butterflies, and many other types of creatures enjoying the peace and tranquility of the Lough.
When you reach Omeath, you deserve a treat. There are cafes, take-aways, pubs with restaurants, shops and even a famous chip shop - Mena's Chipper - on Omeath Pier. You can read about the facilities further below but for a walker or cyclist, there are more than enough facilities, including public toilets. Avail of a drink or snack in any of the local pubs and cafes, there are toilet facilities there too.
On 4th May 2018, the 5.7km stretch of The Carlingford Lough Greenway opened connecting Newry to Victoria Lock
The Greenway starts at the Dublin Road Bridge in Newry, travels through the Albert Basin site and then along 'Middlebank' until it reaches Victoria Lock where there is a wonderful recreation area and lots of Newry Ship Canal heritage. The locks still function but ships passing from Carlingford Lough onto the Newry Ship Canal are something of a rarity. There is a threat to the possibility of tall ships even being able to may the historic voyage if the proposed 'relief road bridge' doesn't allow tall ships, such as Volharding, to make the voyage.
Now it's fair to say that right now, the part of the Greenway that joins the Dublin Road entrance to the start of Middlebank is not exactly picturesque but it's less than 1km. IF the Newry City Park ever gets the go ahead, it is going to be absolutely amazing !
As the Greenway reaches Middlebank, it is absolutely fantastic ! On one side is the Newry River and on the other, the Newry Ship Canal. The Newry Ship Canal was opened in 1769 and connected Newry with Carlingford Lough, allowing ocean going ships to reach the Irish Sea. In 1884, when the upper reaches of Carlingford Lough and the lower reaches of the Newry River were dredged, ships of up to 5,000 tons were able to reach Newry.
As you walk, jog or cycle along Middlebank, it is literally like being in another world, tree lined with herons and other seabirds in the river, swans & ducks on the canal, a huge array of wild birds in the trees. Heaven on Earth !
The towpath of the now derelict Lough Neagh to Newry canal has been converted into an amazing 32 km Greenway that starts in Portadown and finishes in Newry City. It is part of a grand plan for a 1000km network of Greenways in Northern Ireland.
The Greenway is shared use - walkers, cyclists and joggers share the path which is nice and wide in most parts. It starts at Bann Bridge in Portadown and ends at Town Hall in Newry.The route follows the towpath on the western bank of the Newry Canal.
I have ridden this Greenway a few times and I can tell you that it is absolutely fantastic - smooth, flat tarmac surface virtually all of the way with amazing country views. Portadown and Newry are sizable towns with plenty of places to eat & drinks. There are lovely villages with facilities along the way - Tandragee, Scarva, Poyntzpass & Jerretspass all offer options. Not wishing to favour anywhere in particular but Hollie Berrie at the Tea Rooms at Scarva takes some beating if you have just reached that point where a Flat White and a massive slice of some delicious cake is just what the Doctor ordered. We cyclists need to 'Carb-Load' - it goes with the Lycra. It's just an excuse really - to eat cake, not to wear Lycra !
As you leave Portadown, there is a short tree-lined stretch where the roots of the trees have turned the pathway into a mini Pump-Track but aside from that, it's smooth sailing all the way. I don't know what more I can really tell you about this Greenway - it is seriously impressive and IF ONLY we can get the stretch from Omeath to Victoria Lock finished soon, we'll have a 53km Greenway that has EVERYTHING you could possibly want - Sea views, Mountain Views, Cityscapes, lush green Countryside, rolling Hills, Canal Heritage, Railway Heritage, City Heritage, Ships, Shops, Cafes, Bistros Pubs, Toilets, Parking, the list goes on and on. It will, without question, be a world class leisure facility that will attract walkers, joggers and cyclists from all around the World. Let's get it done !!
The plan to extend The Carlingford Lough Greenway from Carlingford Marina into and around Carlingford itself is well developed. Construction is yet to start (February 2021) as obviously all such developments have been impacted by the COVID pandemic.
With a little editing for brevity, this is the plan Louth County Council intend to carry out development of a Greenway from Carlingford Marina to the Station House in Carlingford Town along the shore of Carlingford Lough and under the bridge of King John’s Castle in the townland of the Liberties of Carlingford.
The proposed Greenway will be 2.65 km in length and connect to existing and future sections of The Carlingford Lough Greenway. The Greenway will utilise existing hard surfaces where available comprising separate pedestrian and cyclist routes plus a shared walking and cycling greenway that will incorporate the following components:
It is stated that such works which will not materially affect the character of a protected structure, namely King John’s Castle or those within the designated Carlingford Architectural Conservation Area.
Carlingford is an amazing Medieval Town steeped in history with a rich array of places to Eat & Drink, lots of Things to Do, a wide range of Shops & Services. Visit Discover Carlingford to find out more.