The Grand Canal connects Dublin to the Shannon and dates back as far as the 18th Century. It’s a fantastic feat of engineering when you think about it but my favourite thing about it was probably the easiest part of it to make, the towpath.
Before barges could power themselves they had to be pulled along by a horse. The horses needed a path to walk on, one that follows the canal under every single bridge completely uninterrupted. Sounds like something worth walking on!
It’s a path but there will definitely and patches of muck. The drainage isn’t great on it as they had lower standards back in the day.
You’re grand. Just follow the canal and turn back.
About 9km if you make it all the way to Hazelhatch and back.
2/5 Dat pleasantness
Take the Adamstown exit off the N4 and follow the road straight past the Adamstown development. Guess what? If you pass a canal you’ve gone too far. Alternatively you could make use of that monument to the Celtic Tiger: Adamstown train station.
Don’t park at the pitch and putt, they have signs saying that they clamp non members. There’s a car park at the nearby GAA club and what appears to be its overflow car park beside it. All I can say is that it seems legit.
We are shockingly following the Grand Canal Way as far as Hazelhatch and turning around. Navigation should not be difficult; you’re literally following the canal.
If you park at the GAA club it’s a short stroll to the bridge and lock. Make sure you start walking with the canal on your left and travel away from the city. This is probably the only opportunity you have to fuck up. Don’t rise to the occasion.
The path is a lovely little grassy thing that follows the canal. Keep an eye out for rabbits.
At the bridge you have the option to go under or up and over. Naturally I went on top.
And this castle that looks like an emo…
So far on this walk if you’ve been enjoying yourself you have been Lovin’ Dublin but at some unmarked point you will start Lovin’ Kildare.
You have been warned.
As you approach Hazelhatch you start to see a few barges tied up. Some of them are fine looking modes of transport/ gafs. Others look like the set of some sort of post apocalyptic zombie film set entirely on Ireland’s inland waterways. 28 Days Wetter or Night of the Floating Dead.
By the time you’ve got to Hazelhatch you’ve a fine thirst on you, no doubt. Pop into McEvoys for a Lucozade and a bit of a sit down. You’ve earned it. Then turn around and go back!