Family cycling in Offaly and its surrounds

 16 Sep 2020

Bike Week takes place from the 19th to the 27th September 2020. A variety of bike week activities are being delivered by local clubs, groups, organisations and schools.

For those families looking to take part in some family friendly cycles during Bike Week 2020, check out: -

1. Grand Canal Greenway 

The Grand Canal Way is an historic walking trail which traverses Leinster from Ringsend in Dublin City to the River Shannon at Shannon Harbour in County Offaly. The route is punctuated by canal locks, lock houses and industrial architecture from bygone days. The route is currently being re-purposed as the Grand Canal Greenway. This greenway will follow the pleasant canal towpath, which was formally used by powerful draft horses pulling barges laden with goods and passengers.

The Offaly section of the Grand Canal Greenway will stretch from Edenderry in the east to Shannon Harbour in the west of the county. The Tullamore to Lough Boora Section of the Greenway links two landmark sites along Ireland’s Ancient East - Tullamore DEW and Lough Boora Discovery Park. The 22km journey westwards offers historic sites and rural tranquility in abundance.

The current stage from Digby Bridge to the east of Tullamore to Henesey’s Bridge west of Rahan is largely in place, a distance of 13km. Be prepared. Although much of the route is off-road, you still need to take special care through the urban area of Tullamore and on two on-road sections. There are working farms along the route so take care of farm traffic. Beware of open deep waters of the canal. Ensure you have the fitness and time for the walk or cycle; check the weather forecast and be prepared for changing weather conditions.

Offaly County Council are currently in partnership with Waterways Ireland and Bord na Mona working towards completing a full off-road Greenway west from Tullamore to Lough Boora Discovery Park and eastwards to Daingean. Watch this space!

For more information on the route, check out In the meantime, if you are heading out for a cycle on the greenway, please bear the following in mind: -

  • be considerate of other people. This is a mixed use route - while walking, beware of cyclists approaching. Cyclists should use a bell to alert walkers.
  • park appropriately and do not block entrances or other cars.
  • leave gates as you find them and do not damage property.
  • respect farm animals and wildlife. Keep a safe distance from farm animals; and leave habitats, plants and animals as you find them.

2. Lough Boora Parklands 

For those that have not visited Lough Boora Discovery Park, it’s well worth the trip. Offering miles of safe cycling on marked trails in a unique environment, there are a number of routes available: - 

  • 5km Sculpture Park trail around the outskirts of the sculpture park
  • 6km Farmlands trail
  • 9.3km Mesolithic trail
  • 15.8km Turraun trail

Each trail explores a different habitat within the park and provides plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of the grey partridge, corncrake or any other number of birds, animals, flora and fauna of the park. Families can bring their own bikes, or rent them from Lough Boora Bike Rental which can be found beside the cafe in the park. Route maps and more information can be found by visiting 

3. Mount Lucas Wind Farm 

It’s not just wind energy that’s being produced at Mount Lucas Wind Farm; Bord na Móna Powergen has completed the development of a 7km walk / cycleway around the farm. This colour coded route is proving a big hit with fitness and biodiversity enthusiasts because as well as providing pathways for walkers, runners, joggers and cyclists, the site also allows people to view first hand a cutaway bog and its re-vegetation.

With approximately 500 people using the facility a week; and car parks at the northern and eastern ends of the site, the park is going strength to strength. For more information on Mount Lucas Wind Farm as a cycling destination, check out 

4. the "Old Rail Trail" 

The Old Rail Trail is a purpose built off-road shared pedestrian and cycleway trail, along a disused railway track from Garrycastle to Mullingar. Generally flat with a smooth surface and some gentle slopes, this trail is ideal for family groups of all ages, and all types of bikes. 

Approximately 40km in length, there are a number of access points on to the Old Rail Trail. Route maps and more information can be found by visiting