The Royal’s strongest asset in modern times is the fact that the development of North Kildare and West Dublin has put it centre stage as an amenity and environmental asset for the thousands of new residents of the commuter belt. While the Grand Canal passes through countryside which is relatively sparsely populated, the Royal has some of Ireland’s fastest growing towns such as Leixlip and Maynooth along its banks. The fact that bus and rail routes with frequent services serve the same corridor means that the North Kildare stretch from Leixlip via Maynooth to Kilcock is extremely convenient, saving walkers from having to perform major logistical feats to organize transport at either end. Take a suburban train to Leixlip and walk to Maynooth where the rail station is beside the canal or continue to Kilcock, which is served by both bus and rail. The Royal Canal runs for 145 km from the River Liffey at Dublin to the Shannon at Clondra in Co. Longford. The route describe below, takes the walker along the almost fourteen kilometres of the waterway entirely within Co. Kildare from Leixlip to Kilcock. The grounds of St. Patrick’s College , Maynooth run parallel to the Royal Canal. The College pays an annual towpath levy of forty six pence to the state- a charge fixed in 1799 THE ROYAL CANAL 11