10 Hidden Gems on Limerick Greenway

  • Limerick Greenway. Photo: Sean Curtin

Carving a 40KM path through the local, lush green countryside, Limerick Greenway follows the old Limerick to Kerry railway line, connecting the three major towns of Rathkeale, Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale. Along the way, you will walk or cycle through a Victorian era railway tunnel, spot storied castles and abbeys and bask in the peace and tranquillity of an ancient forest, with vibrant towns and villages to discover along the way. Get off the beaten track and check out our list of hidden Limerick Greenway gems.

1. Revel in the Medieval majesty of Desmond Castle, Newcastle West

The imposing Desmond Castle and Banqueting Hall in the heart of bustling Newcastle West is the town’s most notable historical landmark and a must-see for any visitor. Once used by the Earls of Desmond for lavish banquets, the vaulted medieval hall is one of the most impressive surviving halls in Ireland. Its restored features include an oak musicians' gallery and a limestone hooded fireplace. Open daily from 7 April to 26 October 2022 from 10am – 5pm and admission is completely free of charge! 

2. Get a selfie with the Ardagh Chalice wood carving, Ardagh

Did you know that one of Ireland’s most precious treasures, the Ardagh Chalice, was found by two schoolboys back in 1868 in Ardagh, Co. Limerick? Today, the 8th Century Chalice takes pride of place in the National Museum of Ireland but you can see for yourself, the lovingly replicated chalice, carved from an ash tree, at the Greenway Hub, Ardagh. 

3. Fuel up for your journey at one of Limerick Greenway’s cosy cafes

All this walking and cycling is busy work! Platform 22 located at Barnagh Greenway Hub offers barista style coffee and freshly baked goods while Café on the Greenway, open on Saturday and Sunday at the Station House, Rathkeale Hub is the perfect stop to leave you feeling refreshed and refuelled when visiting Limerick Greenway.

4. Breathe a little deeper in the tranquillity of Tullig Wood, outside Templeglantine

Just outside Templeglantine is Tullig Wood, an enchanting and serene forest, rich in native flora and fauna. Take a rest underneath the oak and ash trees and watch out for the willow warblers and chiffchaffs that live in their branches.

5. Gawp at the grandeur of Barnagh Tunnel

Barnagh Tunnel, a brick-lined, Victorian era railway innovation, which at 115 metres in length, once allowed trains to traverse the steep peak of Barnagh, now offers a spectacular viewing area, allowing you to look out over the plains of Limerick and take stock of your journey so far. Top Tip: don’t forget your picnic! 

6. Traverse Ferguson’s Viaduct

Another testament to the ingenuity of Victorian engineering, bridging the line for almost a century and still standing today, Ferguson’s Viaduct is one of the best surviving examples of 19th century railway architecture in Ireland. Check out the sweeping views to Limerick City and beyond.

7. Learn about local history at the Irish Palatine Centre, Rathkeale

Explore the history of the Palatinate, several families of German origin who settled in County Limerick in the early 1700s. This small museum, housed in Rathkeale’s old railway station, tells their story through a unique and interesting display of artefacts, photographs and other memorabilia associated with the Irish Palatine experience.

8. Brush up on your history at Abbeyfeale Heritage Trail

Situated in West Limerick, Abbeyfeale is the westernmost town in the county and at 900 years old, one of the oldest. Its heritage trail is waymarked by a series of plaques that have been erected around the town, marking the fascinating main points of interest in this historic place. 

9. Retail Therapy in Co. Limerick’s best boutiques and independent stores

Whether you are indulging in some retail therapy or simply window shopping, you will be spoiled for choice in Newcastle West. Some top spots include Kimono, Ela Marias, the G Boutique and Coffee Bar and All Seasons.

10. Take it easy at Barnagh Hub and Station

No visit to Limerick Greenway would be complete without a stop at Barnagh Station, which marks the steepest point of the Limerick to Tralee Railway line. It was once an essential stop for steam locomotives to replenish their coal and water so they could continue the journey. Today, it’s a hub of activity for all ages and abilities, offering amenities such as bike hire, crazy golf, pottery, a children’s playground, café and even kennels for canine visitors.

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Treaty Stone Limerick. Photo Piotr Machowczyk