THE WATERFORD (DEISE) GREENWAY
Forty-five kilometres of spectacular cycle route was opened in March 2017.Viaducts, tunnel, cliff-tops, mountain views, river estuaries, the lush pastures …. the Waterford Greenway from Dungarvan to Waterford, in the Republic of Ireland, is a spectacular creation using the old track bed of a railway line that closed in 1990 after several years of disuse.
Ten thousand people turned out on the opening day to celebrate the culmination of many years hard work by campaigners and community groups, as well as the powers that be, when the final stretches of the Waterford (Deise) Greenway were declared open on an appropriately sunny day. It is sure to be a great asset to cyclists of all abilities, to walkers, to tourists and to the local economy and communities.
On the Deise Greenway group’s website, Garvan Cummins, aka “The Greenway Man”, asks people to spread the word. Well, here’s an echo from a neighbouring island. If you are cycling in the south of the Republic of Ireland, the smooth surface, the bridges, tunnels, are all open for you to enjoy.
Garvan, a qualified teacher and history enthusiast, offers bike hire and guided rides and walks www.thegreenwayman.com. A free app for Android or iPhone is available from the community group behind the project www.deisegreenway.com. Easy to download and absolutely free, all the information you’ll need is there. Things to see nearby as well as where to get a beer or a nice cuppa, and, I quickly discovered, details of a shuttle bus between the main points along the way. Handy for the bike hirer, though it fits in with the desire to bring more tourists into the area.
Of course, economic motivation would be enough for some, but apart form the health benefits there is also the conservation of Ireland’s heritage. Along the way you’ll pass places where the railway was sabotaged during the long years of fighting for independence from the United Kingdom, as well as crossing a rebuilt viaduct blown-up during the Irish Civil War that followed the overthrow of Brtish rule in the future Republic. But there’s more from day to day life, too; Kilmacthomas Workhouse - one of the bike hire venues - Flahavan’s Porridge (still very much part of local life) and Willie Cronin’s old dance hall. And of course, there is lively, lovely Waterford, also stories of shipwrecks, the remains of Norman castles, seabirds and wildlife, sites of Christian worship before the days of Saint Patrick. Then there’s the prospect of a warm welcome from Tom and Helen o’Mahoney, at their bar.
Who could resist? It is too long since I cycled in Ireland, anyway.
Once again, we see that leisure cycling and cycle touring are good for everyone and everything. Governments and local authorities near and far, please take note.
www.deisegreenway.com/ Website of the Deise Greenway Group.
https://en-gb.facebook.com/deise.greenway/ The Deise Greenway Groups Facebook page, like it and look at the images recording its story.
www.thegreenwayman.com For Grvan's bike hire, tours and more.
http://www.visitwaterford.com General tourism website for the area.
Thanks to Garvan Cummins for his help and permission to use images from the Deise Greenway Group and John Foley (www.johnfoleyimages.com) for the images that bear his name.
Rian Glas na nDéise : in English, Waterford Green Trail
PUBLISHED APRIL 2017