Great Southern Greenway

Rathkeale is the start of the Great Southern Greenway, where you can enjoy walking, hiking or cycling along a 40Km (approximately) trail through West Limerick, from Rathkeale to Abbeyfeale. Conveniently located just off the N21, and with plenty of parking, Rathkeale is the ideal spot to start your Greenway adventure. The paved pathways and gentle terrain bring you past rivers, under cut stone bridges and through lush, beautiful countryside. We cordially invite you to come enjoy this fantastic amenity and respectfully ask that you follow the common-sense rules and leave it as you found it, so that all may enjoy. If there are children in your group, you might want to allow a little time to enjoy the playground across the road from the Palatine Museum.

Directions and Parking

Enter and park at the Irish Palatine Heritage Centre and Museum, which may be accessed from the R518 roundabout south of N21.

As you come off the N21 and head towards the R518 roundabout, you will see the magnificent tall spire of St. Mary’s Church. Take the roundabout exit towards the Palatine Museum.

Background

The Greenway follows the 96km route of the Limerick to Tralee/Fenit railway line. Opened in stages between 1867 and 1887, the rail line was closed between 1975 and 1978. It remains the property of CIÉ (the National Transport Company). Most of its development as a recreational amenity has been undertaken by the GST Ltd. which is a voluntary group assisted by various Local and State agencies. Today the GST is suitable for off road walking and cycling along 40km of the Co. Limerick section of the route between Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale. In Co. Kerry a short stretch has been developed near the Lartigue Museum in Listowel and work has commenced on the Tralee-Fenit section. Sincere thanks to all who have contributed to, and continue to champion, the development of the GST.

Rathkeale to Ardagh Section – 9km

The Greenway (map) starts at the former Rathkeale station, which now houses the Palatine Museum and passes the stone shell of an old station building. The trail passes between the N21 and the Rathkeale Industrial Estate for a short while before crossing over the River Deel. After crossing the bridge, you will see what remains of Glebe Castle to the left, as well as Holy Trinity Church. The trail continues to the right, by the banks of the Deel and under the N21. On the other side, the trail again follows the N21 route. Castle Matrix is on the right (easier to see through the trees in Winter). As the trail cuts North of the N21 towards Ardagh, it passes under 5 stone cut bridges.

The countryside is some of the finest in Ireland and you will see rich green pastures, cattle and horses all along the way. Take time to enjoy the hedgerows along the trail, too. Depending on the season, there are wildflowers, bramble, hawthorn, black thorn and elder blossoms or berries in abundance. After the second bridge, look out for the Churchyard at Clounagh and the distant ruins of Lisnacille Castle. The road after the third bridge leads to Cahermoyle House, once the home of William Smith O’Brien, leader of the Young Ireland Rebellion of 1848. The fifth bridge is past the old Ardagh station. Steps by the bridge lead up to the road. The view from the top of the bridge is spectacular on a sunny day.

Continuing On

Ardagh to Newcastle West is a further 4km and crosses the River Daar.

Newcastle West to Barnagh is 10km with a 2% gradient.

Barnagh to Templeglantine is 4km and features 2 stone bridges.

Templeglantine to Abbeyfeale is 10km, passing Tullig Wood and the Allaghaun River.

For more information, visit the Great Southern Trail website

© June 2019 by the Rathkeale Community Council. Page content provided by Agnes Lamont for the Rathkeale Community Council.