Coffee shop at Lyons Village

Cycling along the Grand Canal

Cycling from Dublin city to Celbridge, Kildare

If you are looking to get out of Dublin city for the day, a good idea is to rent bikes and cycle along the Grand Canal. You can cycle along the canal towpath on a flat safe surface, away from the busy roads.  After 25 kilometres, you will discover the old restored Lyons village in County Kildare.  It’s a picturesque old village built on the banks of the Grand Canal outside Celbridge in Kildare. The original village dates back to the mid 18th Century and sprang up from the development of the Grand Canal and was based on a Water Mill.  The village was largely abandoned by the turn of the 20th Century with the decline of the Canal transport industry, then in the 1990’s,  a Historical restoration project brought the village back to life.  Today, it is known as Cliff at Lyons village, after the hotel group that own and run the old buildings as a cafe and hotel.

Coffee shop at Lyons Village
Afternoon tea at the Village at Lyons, Kildare


In 1786, the impressive Lyons mansion which overlooks the village was built, which you can catch a glimpse of from the village.  In recent times, the large manor house was bought and restored by Tony Ryan, the founder of Ryanair.

I thought at first, when I saw photos of Lyons village, that it was recently built like the Kildare shopping village but the majority of buildings are original 19th-century buildings and have been restored. There is a cafe, restaurant and holiday apartments and a few stores, including a children’s toy store and arts & crafts store but no pub or church so I guess it’s not technically a proper Irish village!

Village shop at Lyons
The Village at Lyons, old shops

It can be rented out for weddings and the wedding party would have the village to themselves for the big day. It gets a lot of walkers and cyclists, stopping by, as they go along the Grand Canal.  The day we visited, we sat outside and had afternoon tea, after cycling along the Grand Canal via Newcastle village in west county Dublin.

A nice idea for a day out, you can cycle from south Dublin city centre, starting at Ringsend and cycle along passed Grand Canal Dock, Ranelagh, Portobello, Rathmines, Harolds Cross, Crumlin, Clondalkin, Lucan  and onto the Lyons village in Kildare, this is a distance of 25 kilometres via the Grand Canal route.

You could take a Dublin bike and cycle along the Grand Canal towpath. If you are visiting Dublin for a few days, you can sign up for Dublin bikes or rent bikes from the bike rental shops.  We cycled as far as the new towpath and got off at Lucan and travelled up to Newcastle village by the road and from there to Lyons village. Unless you are cycling on a mountain bike I would recommend taking this route as after Lucan the towpath is more grassy and rough so wouldn’t be suitable for a road bike or the Dublin bikes.

cycle route dublin
Grand Canal Towpath Dublin

Another cycle or walking trail, you can do is the Arthur’s Way heritage trail, located around Celbridge and Leixlip in Kildare, it takes in places of interest connected to the famous Guinness brewery family.

Looking for other cycling and walking ideas in Ireland, check out our Greenway blogs posts.



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