Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Blessington Greenway

view of one of the lakes along Blessington Greenway, own photo
Blessington Greenway walk provides an easy escape from the city with a 7k stomp through the countryside that is easily reached by public transport. The walkway, which opened as recently as 2014, is fully accessible by car or bus. The 65 goes from Dublin city centre almost to the start of the walk at the Northern tip of Blessington in Wicklow. Even if you decide to stop in Blessington town centre for refreshment first, it's only a stone's throw to AvonRi resort and adventure centre,  where the greenway begins. Access is through a gate in the back car park.

Blessington Greenway, photo by Sheila Mahon
Although the route commences so close to the town, you are instantly distanced from civilisation. The path takes you round the side of the lake and through the forest. After a while, however , you do need to leave the woods and follow the road for a few metres before resuming the track once more.  
view looking back from lake, own photo
photo by Sheila Mahon
Several kilometres on, you will need to emerge again and cross a road but at no point do you have to walk on unsafe road or on any grass verge, except at the end, when turning up a short, quiet road that leads to Russborough House. For this reason, I give this route the thumbs up for safety as well as accessibility. It is also level, with no hills to negotiate and the path is easy underfoot. At some points boardwalks help the walker cross what would be boggy or uneven terrain. I have done this walk in light rain with no bother.
Russborough House, Photo by Sheila Mahon
Russborough House is worth a tour if you have the time and interest, but at the very least the quaint tearooms serve up seriously good cake and a chance to rest. There are also a few craft studios in the beautiful grounds and a maze, which I have yet to explore. The first time trying out this walk, after a decent lunch, we braved the whole walk back to Blessington. However, 14k can be a bit much in one day, even for an avid walker like me. Revisiting with a bunch of friends on a muggy day last weekend, we left one car in Russborough and another at the start of the walk. We were so grateful for our foresight. There is a bus stop near Russborough but the route isn't all that frequent so be advised to check bus times both in advance and on Dublin Bus's real time app if possible. 

Apart from the ease and accessibility of this walk, I love it because it takes you through a variety of scenery. With cake at the end, what's not to love?

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