Walking & Cycling
No Disturbances From Traffic, Just The Singing Of Birds
Mullingar to Athlone
This is a ‘must’ cycle for anyone who likes getting out on their bike. Have a look at the map, start in Mullingar and follow the path as it snakes along the canal to the head of the Greenway. For the next 40km you’re in biking heaven. You’ll meet everyone on the route from passionate enthusiasts to those out for the fresh air. This is a dedicated cycle path that follows the old rail track under arched bridges, through a tunnel and past beautiful countryside all the way to Athlone. With lots of entry and exit points, you can hop on and off to explore the villages and attractions along the way.
Pass under the old 3 arched bridge near Streamstown. Stop in Moate for a bite to eat and then park the bikes for a while to explore the beauty of Dún na Sí Amenity & Heritage Park. When you’ve explored Athlone, there’s a lot more cycling still to be discovered. Use it as a base and spend a day at Lough Boora with it’s many cycle routes or head up to Hodson Bay and get on the South Roscommon trail.
In a tranquil valley in the village of Fore, about a 30-minute drive from Mullingar in County Westmeath, you can visit the spot where St Feichin founded a Christian monastery in the seventh century AD.
It is believed that, before Feichin’s death, 300 monks lived in the community. Among the remains on the site is a church built around AD 900. There are also the 18 Fore crosses, which are spread out over 10 kilometres on roadways and in fields.
Seven particular features of the site – the so-called ‘Seven Wonders of Fore’ – have acquired legendary status. They include: the monastery built on a bog; the mill without a race (the saint is said to have thrust his crozier into the ground and caused water to flow); and the lintel stone raised by St Feichin’s prayers.
St Feichin’s Way, a looped walk around the site, provides an excellent base from which to explore these fabled places.
Mullaghmeen is the largest planted beech forest in Western Europe with area of 1,000 acres, located on the Meath / Westmeath border overlooking Lough Sheelin, 9km from Castlepollard and 10km from Oldcastle. Car park opens from 08:00 to 20:00 hours. Along with beech, Sitka spruce, Scots pine, noble fir it also has a very interesting native tree collection. This is well worth a stop on the Mullaghmeen Summit Trail / Red Trail. The summit of Mullaghmeen provides magnificent views north across Lough Sheelin and into the neighbouring county of Cavan.
Enjoy the Glasson Trail which is signposted along the road and takes you through villages and unspoiled countryside. It lets you admire from a height at Ballykeeran the majestic inner lakes. Or experience the quiet secluded walk through the bog with no disturbances from traffic just the singing of birds and experience traditional turf (peat) cutting.
Scragh Bog Nature Reserve, County Westmeath is the best illustration in Ireland of the transition from alkaline fen to acidic raised bog and one of the few remaining in Europe. It contains a large number of uncommon plants and insects which are rare in Europe. Bird Watching is very popular here with Skylark and Common Snipe among other breeds observed. Plants include Sphagnum Moss, Sundew and the notable species Round-leaved Wintergreen (Pyrola rotundiflora). This is a nice walk with little ones, start off entering into the forest, continue on & you find a boardwalk & viewing points.
Other Walks include
Delvin, Canal Walk, Moate, Westmeath Way, Self Drive Trail, Belevedere Trail and Fore Trail.