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River and canal walks can have special appeal, the scenery always changing due to flowing water, weirs, locks and the changing countryside. Ireland's rivers and canals are rich in wildlife, history and folklore, and many can be explored on mostly flat, little-used trails. These hidden corridors of wildness through rural and urban Ireland reveal remnants of a time when trade, transport and industry in Ireland revolved around water rather than roads. Lenny Antonelli introduces some of the best river and canal trails in the east and east midlands, from short strolls to a five-day trek along the Barrow.
These walks encompass iconic Irish rivers such as the Liffey, the Boyne and the Nore; and waterways such as the Grand and Royal Canals. There are lesser-known trails here too, from ravines in the Slieve Bloom Mountains to the young rivers of Wicklow's deep wooded valleys. For those new to walking, these trails form easy introductions. For experienced walkers, they provide new and less-trodden paths through places of unexpected beauty.
Lenny Antonelli is a journalist and writer whose focus is the outdoors and the environment. He contributes to a variety of national and international publications. A keen walker and camper, he is happiest when outside.