Initially I hoped to do the final run to the Shannon today but it would have killed me, it would have been 30km out and back and I really wasn’t up for a 60km hike today. I barely managed 24km and I’m more than happy with that to be honest. This part was all in Longford, starting at Abbeyshrule, which is my latest favourite spot in the entire country, heading out west for just over 12km to Longford Bridge on the R392.
I’m ashamed to say that I never really gave Longford much time in the past but what I’ve seen of it over the last few days is really pretty. This ends up very close to where the new Center Parcs development is going to be. Now that I’ve seen this area on the ground I think that was a really smart decision, it really is a beautiful part of the country.
Todays route covered most of the remaining westerly section of the Royal Canal just short of the point at which it heads north.
Some temporary highlights in here for the moment. Full writeup to follow.
Starting point at Abbeyshrule harbour and Webb’s Bridge. Grass Path, very muddy. Seriously do not consider the section to Draper’s Bridge without waterproof boots. And good luck if you’re on a bike.
Small Aqueduct @ 0.8km and then Draper's Bridge. 1.46km.
Path changes from mud bath to tarred public road.
Allard's Bridge 3.11km.
After this is changes back to grass and dirt path way.
Guys Bridge (orphaned) 4.25km.
Path continues to be rough but not too muddy.
Molly Ward's Bridge (orphaned) 4.79km.
Aqueduct 5.0km .
Path is very uneven and rough along this section with a couple of locked gates that must be climbed around or over.
Path changes back to public tarred road @ 5.31km.
Fowlard's Bridge for the N55 5.91km and then path changes back to grass.
Toome Bridge 7.48km.
Path continues on as a fairly uneven grassy path. As this comes to an end you have to dodge some cattle and the surface degrades to basically a field that backs up onto the canal.
Chaigneau Bridge 9.12km and Ballymahon dock, which was, and maybe still is, an RCAG development. Really nice spot, plenty of parking space and picnic tables.
The path changes back to grass and dirt after the harbour area for most of the remaining part of this section up to the Longford Bridge.
Longford Bridge 10.70km
And for the month that is in it some pictures of whitethorn in blossom on the Royal Canal.