Dungarvan to Ballinroad (Scartore) 4kms
This 4km stretch of Line from Dungarvan incorporating the newly refurbished Walton Park and out to Ballinroad was officially opened by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar in 2013. It is simply fantastic. A beautiful walk will take you from the Norman-founded market town of Dungarvan, leaving the glistening Dungarvan Bay and King John's Castle behind you, passing the Moresby Buoy in Abbeyside which brings us back to the sinking of the Moresby ship in 1895. Next you walk over the Barnawee Causeway where many species of birds and sea life can be observed and finish at the newly-constructed carpark in Ballinroad in the townsland of Scartore.
Ballinroad (Scartore) to Durrow (Shanacool) 6kms
Ballinroad to Durrow is now complete and fully open and operational. Leaving Ballinroad (Scartore), head East past the newly planted Irish native trees with the view to your left of the Old Clonea Church with its graveyard. It is said that Christian devotion was practiced here before St. Patrick arrived in Ireland and there is the legend of the skull-like stone. Heading past marshlands, you are now in the townland of Clonea or Cluain Fhia in our native tongue which means the Meadow of the Deer which would indicate an abundance of deer here in times gone by.
The Atlantic to your right, breath in the salty sea air while the aroma of fresh strawberries waffles in the air. We come to Knock, Clonea where the trail moves inland at Ballyvoile but take in the magnificent views of Dungarvan Bay and the Gaeltacht area of An Rinn (Ring) and Helvick across the Bay before proceeding. The next few kilometres is full of history particularly with reference to Ireland's War of Independence and Civil War where the old railway line was used by rebels to attack occupying forces.
We cross the Ballyvoile Viaduct, beautifully restored by Waterford City and County Council with the story of the viaduct embedded in some of the panels of the bridge. The Bridge was blown up in 1922 during the Civil War and a train sent crashing into the valley only a few months later, it was then rebuilt and reopened in July 1924. Head through a tropical jungle type cutting into the quarter of a mile Durrow Tunnel, tasteful and discreet lighting keeps its magic and mystique intact. On a little further to Durrow (the Oak Plain) for a welcome break at Shanacool (old corner) with its Pub, Shop, picnic tables and carpark and a big welcome from Tom and Helen O'Mahony.
Durrow (Shanacool) to Kilmacthomas Old Workhouse 13kms
Leaving Durrow (Shanacool) only a few hundred metres and you are at the lonely ruins of the Durrow and Stradbally Railway Station, a heave of activity in its heyday now coming alive again. We pass what looks like an old corrugated roofed shed which decades ago was a Dance Hall run by Willie Cronin, it must have many stories to tell! On another few hundred metres to Durrow Viaduct, another impressive stone bridge but what's unique about it is that it is a railway bridge over a road bridge over a river.
Durrow House below and head eastwards through the lush countryside of Faha with the Comeragh Mountains shadowing us to the left. We are brought under the N25 national road at McGrath's Cross by means of a newly installed tunnel and it's onward for Kilmacthomas crossing the impressive curved viaduct that can only be really appreciated by coming down onto the path bringing you to the park below and looking back up.
Kilmacthomas with its milling history and home to Flahavans Porridge is making a big comeback with a powerful and highly driven local community ensuring that there will be a big welcome and plenty of facilities for the greenway users. The river Mahon flows under the viaduct and it's raging waters after a winter storm held back Oliver Cromwell's army in 1649 for three days who were rampaging through Munster, now the River Mahon has a more peaceful flow. Soon it's banks are going to be home to a new Whiskey Distillery.
Leaving Kilmacthomas we head past the ruins of the Kilmacthomas Railway Station recently taken over by the community to renovate into a welcoming station for visitors. We travel another kilometre and we travel over the newly installed bridge across the N25 road which brings us into the Old Workhouse of Kilmacthomas also called the Union. Very interesting buildings here since 1850 which housed the destitute after the famine of the 1840's. The infirmary is here, the dormitories are here and even the small morgue is still here. It recalls a few sad times in our history but important history all the same. There is a large carpark here and there is bike hire available in the workhouse buildings and now there is a café/restaurant here called Coach House Coffee. Also Mayfield Birds of Prey are here. An interesting end to this stage of the Greenway.
Kilmacthomas Workhouse to Kilmeaden Railway Station 13kms
Leaving the Workhouse, we head eastwards through lush farming countryside with much livestock such as cows and horses to be seen. The Comeragh Mountains shadow us from the North and half way along this stretch we pass through a quarry which is no longer in production and also Dawn Meats is based here. Pass through here and within a kilometre, you will come to Haughtons Pub, just 100 metres off the Greenway. Now we head for Kilmeaden Station. About four kilometres west of Kilmeaden Station, the Greenway swops to the opposite side of the N25, Waterford Council have tunnelled underneath the N25 road for the safety of Greenway users.
On about two kilometres, keep your eyes open and look out for a tall chimley. This is Fairbrook House which was a paper and woollen mills in its long history since opening in 1776. Now owned by Clary Mastenbroek who runs a Museum of Contemporary Figurative Art and Gardens. It really is something different and Clary provides teas and coffees and light lunches, well worth a visit. Now onwards for Kilmeaden Station with its Waterford and Suir Railway, a working railway with a train on a narrow gauge track which runs on eight kilometres of track. It has become very popular with families and runs during the summer months, Easter, Halloween spooky specials and right through December with the Santa Express. A café also operates here in an old railway carriage and there are toilet facilities here as well. If you wish to have something more substantial, O'Donnachas Bar and Restaurant is only one kilometre from the Railway Station.
Kilmeaden Station to Mount Congreve 2kms
Leaving Kilmeaden Station, we head for Waterford City. It is not long before the River Suir accompanies us on the left. We pass the lonely ruins of the De Paor Castle, a large complex in Medieval times, now just a few walls indicating its presence. As we progress, the terrain becomes more wooded and we arrive at the back of the Mount Congreve House and Gardens. Mount Congreve is a world renowned garden of 70 acres with some of the finest collections of plants worldwide. You can visit Mount Congreve by accessing it from the Greenway, you can pay to visit the Garden but you can just grab a coffee and snack in the Dairy Café. Toilet facilities here as well. The River Suir is at it widest and most majestic here and the Mossy Glen is here as well with trees on both sides of the Greenway and many chimes and magic in the trees.
Mount Congreve to Waterford City 8kms
Leaving Mount Congreve, we head Eastwards, Killorteran Greenway carpark is only less that a kilometre on which would be a good carpark to park in if you want to experience the Greenway at the back of Mount Congreve and beside the River Suir. Also nearby right beside the Greenway is the site of possibly the oldest Viking settlement in Ireland, it is believed that the Vikings set up a settlement here in 840, over 70 years before they founded the oldest city in Ireland, Waterford. Only a fraction of the site has been excavated with some artefacts displayed at Reginald's Tower in Waterford City. It was only discovered over a decade ago when work began on the realignment of the N25 Road.
Next we have WIT Carriganore with a mix of the original Estate House and modern buildings of Waterford Institute of Technology. If you want to drop into WIT Carriganore, take the path off the Greenway, across the N25 bridge and cycle or walk through a woodland park for a half kilometre and you will come to the WIT Arena which has a café, massive sport facilities, a massive Greenway Carpark and bike hire with Greenway Waterford Bike Hire. Now if you have taken this option, come back onto the Greenway by coming back through the woodland path to continue your final four kilometres into Waterford City.
Again the River Suir is on your left the whole way in and you travel through mixed terrain sometimes with the N25 Road beside you until you arrive at Bilberry Carpark. A new Railway platform has just been built here so the Waterford and Suir Valley Railway will be able to travel to here by next season. Now your final one kilometre into the Bridge in Waterford City. Waterford Council have big plans to continue the Greenway beside the River Suir but for the moment, they have created a pathway beside the Bilberry Road. You pass Bilberry Rock (look up and see can you spot any of the Bilberry Goats) and pass the new Waterford Distillery and you have reached your final destination, Vadrefiord or now Waterford, the oldest City in Ireland, founded by the Vikings with rich Gaelic, Norman, English, Huguenot history knitting into the fabric that has become Waterford.