The Royal Canal Greenway
Hotwell is 5 minutes from the Royal Canal Greenway, which doubles as a waterway and Ireland’s longest car-free cycling route. With 130km of level towpath, it's ideal for walkers, runners and cyclists of all ages and stages. Starting in Maynooth, it follows the 200 year old canal through Enfield and Mullingar to Cloondara in Longford, with cafés, picnic spots and attractions along the way. You can cycle between any of the main towns and return by train to where you started. You can arrange bike rental from Hotwell and have you and your bikes collected wherever you end up so you don’t have to backtrack. The Dublin to Maynooth section is almost completed, which means guests will soon be able cycle all the way from Hotwell to Dublin - fitness levels allowing! We like to cycle from Hotwell and stop off at Furey's Bar in Moyvalley 15 mins cycle away, or nanny Quinns Pub in Killucan, one hour away.
Kayaking tours, kayak polo and angling are also available on the canal.
The Boyne Valley
Visit the UNESCO world heritage site Bru Na Boinne, including Newgrange and the Battle of the Boyne battlefield. Explore the 225km Boyne Valley drive, a signed route through the most popular attractions along the way, including Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth, Trim Castle, Monasterboice, Slane Castle and Mellifont Abbey.
Highlights below and lots more details available at https://www.discoverboynevalley.ie
20 minutes form Hotwell, on the banks of the river Boyne, Trim is is a small medieval town. Trim Castle is foremost among those buildings. The castle is the largest
Anglo-Norman fortification in Ireland. Hugh de Lacy and his successors took 30 years to build it.The central fortification is a monumental three-storey keep. This massive 20-sided tower, which is
cruciform in shape, was all but impregnable in its day. Modern walkways now allow you to look down over the interior of the keep – a chance to appreciate the sheer size and thickness of the
mighty castle walls. The castle is often called King John’s Castle although when he visited the town he preferred to stay in his tent on the other side of the river! Visitors might recognise the
castle as one of the main locations from the movie Braveheart, when it doubled as York Castle.
The Hill of Tara
The Hill of Tara is the jewel in the crown of the Boyne Valley landscape. A site that has been in use for more than 5000 years as a place of burial and assembly, it grew to fame as the legendary inauguration site of the ancient High Kings of Ireland. It's a great place for walks and from its rolling slopes one can see all the way to the other great sites of the Boyne Valley, including Loughcrew Cairns, the Hill of Slane, Trim Castle and beyond. There's a cafe on the site and guided tours are available.
Just 5 mins outside Trim, these romantic ruins are well worth a visit. You'll find a maze of passageways with dead ends and interrupted staircases, all asking to be explored. It was used as a location for the Ridley Scott movie, The Last Duel.
Slane Castle and Wiskey Distillery
Take a guided tour of both Slane Distillery and Slane Castle. At the working distillery, the tour culminates in a tutored tasting of their signature Triple Casked Slane Irish Whiskey. In the Castle, home to the Conyngham family since 1703, you can take in the 18th Century interiors and learn about its colourful heritage and history, including the legendary Slane Rock Concerts.
Donadea Forest Park
Explore the beauty of Donadea Forest Park on a walk along one of the leafy, woodland walks. The 5km long Aylmer Loop brings you across streams and through native broadleaf woods. See marine life all around you on a walk around the lake and see squirrels and birds in the trees on the nature trail. After your walk, relax with a hot drink and tasty snack in the café in the forest park. Find the remains of Donadea Castle and walled gardens that have been reclaimed by nature. See the church and tower built by the Aylmer family and the home that was inhabited until the last of the family died in 1935. Feed the ducks and watch them swim and dive on the large lake dotted with beautiful water lilies during the summer. See the 9/11 memorial dedicated to Sean Tallon a young firefighter, whose family had emigrated from Donadea.
The Cut is a swimming spot on Lough Lene near Mullingar, great for summer swims and 30 mins away. The lake water is particularly clear and clean, the sandy bottom visible as you swim. There is a small car park, toilets and changing rooms. The water while shallow and safe along the shore is deeper in the centre and if it’s windy there can be strong currents – check with life guards before venturing too far out. Jet skis and water skis are banned but it is possible to arrange kayaking and canoeing locally.