The Royal Canal, which connects Dublin with the River Shannon is 146 km in length. It operated in competition with the Grand Canal which ran an almost parallel route to the south, and with the Grand, was made redundant by the advent of the railways in the mid-19th century. The canal was officially closed to all navigation in 1961, but like the Grand Canal, much of the Royal has been restored in recent decades.
The Royal Canal Way currently follows grassy towpaths, gravel and sometimes tarmac canal-side roads from the Dublin suburb of Ashtown to the village of Cloondara in County Longford. There is a good range of options for overnight accommodation along most of the route. However it is relatively easy to walk some sections and return to your starting point by public transport.
A slight alternative
You will find the start of the Royal Canal Way at the First Lock before Croke Park, however, if you want to make this journey as close to a Camino, you can do what Camino Society volunteer Aidan Herdman did. His journey was taken by bicycle and started at St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral on Marlborough Street and ended at Maynooth College. He was there provided with a stamp for his pilgrim passport. The Pro-Cathedral stamp is available at the Cathedral office. The entrance is at Cathedral Street off Marlborough Street. At Maynooth College, Aidan was provided with a stamp at the college shop on the south campus, about 100 metres through the south entrance gates.
Aidan took a number of photos of his trip to Maynooth and highly recommends it. The Maynooth stamp is available at the college shop on the south campus, about 100 metres through the south entrance gates.
Further information on the Royal Canal: