Photographs: Patrick Browne
2022 got off to a promising start as Waterford Greenway added to its trophy cabinet when the 46km walking and cycling trail was named as winner of the ‘Best Visitor Attraction’ in the Irish Independent 2022 Reader Travel Awards.
With tens of thousands of amenities, places and hospitality businesses nominated in fourteen categories, Irish Independent readers were particularly taken with Waterford Greenway.
Some of the Irish Independent’s readers comments included, “The surface is perfect,” and with coffee and lunch stops “for treats” along the way, and a super choice of places to eat, drink and stay in Waterford and Dungarvan and “It is always alive with people.” Locals as well as tourists were particularly forthcoming with their praise for Waterford Greenway, citing “It promotes exercise, social get-togethers of families and mental well-being through its safe routes” and “It soothes the soul.”
Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Joe Kelly was delighted to accept the award. “What’s particularly special about this award is that it was made on behalf of the Irish Independent readers who have visited Waterford Greenway. With their experiences so positive and their feedback so affirming, the Council’s Greenway team, local communities, and stakeholders can take great pride in what they have created in Waterford.”
Pól Ó Conghaile, Travel Editor Irish Independent said, “I look forward to the Irish Independent’s Reader Travel Awards because they provide us with priceless, real-world insights from holidaymakers on the ground. Tens of thousands of comments provide a fascinating picture of what people actually visit, and why – and not a marketing snapshot.”
“This year, it was no surprise to me to see the Waterford Greenway top the nominations for ‘Ireland’s Best Visitor Attraction’. It’s a super example of a route that has caught the imagination of both locals and visitors, created real tourism momentum, and inspired businesses both on and offline. In just a few short years, it has become a gold standard greenway.”
The old railway line from Waterford City to Dungarvan is a spectacular 46km off-road cycling and walking trail which travels through time and nature crossing eleven bridges, three impressive viaducts and an atmospheric tunnel.
The popular route in Ireland’s Ancient East is peppered with heritage, history and natural beauty as it runs alongside the world renowned ornamental gardens at Mount Congreve, Waterford & Suir Valley narrow gauge heritage railway, former woollen mills and railway stations and offers breathtaking views of the River Suir, the Comeragh Mountains, The Copper Coast and Dungarvan Bay.
No stranger to accolades, Waterford Greenway made an impact with Irish Independent readers in 2019 when it was named ‘Ireland’s Favourite Adventure’ in the Irish Independent Reader Travel Awards, while in 2021 it was awarded silver in the Excellence Category at the 10th European Greenways Award Ceremony. In 2020 Waterford Greenway was the first Irish Greenway to attain Green Flag status, which it retained in 2021.