Huge funding boost announced to develop tourism in Slieve Blooms

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

€770,000 announced to develop Slieve Blooms for tourism

Huge funding boost announced to develop tourism in Slieve Blooms

A huge funding boost has been announced to develop tourism in the Slieve Blooms.

A total of €770,000 has been announced this Monday to improve signage and walks in the Slieve Bloom Mountains.

Most of the grant from the Department of Rural and Community Development, is for the Offaly side of the mountains.

Offaly has also received funding for a project called 'Rediscovering Castle Bernard’s Historic Bridges”.

There is to be €500,000 given to create a route from Kinnitty village to the starting point of the Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Trails, and to build a new ‘Kinnitty Woods Novice-Grade mountain bike trail loop.

In Laois, a project called 'Destination Slieve Bloom' will receive €270,000 to design and install new road signs directing visitors to the Slieve Blooms, and interpretative signs in the mountains.

The project "seeks to develop an integrated programme by all stakeholders for the Slieve Bloom area under the Slieve Bloom Development Partnership.

In all over €6 million has been announced in Ireland for 14 large-scale projects under Measure 3 of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme, by Minister Heather Humphreys TD.

The investment involves a significant development of popular outdoor amenities such as trails, walkways, cycleways, and blueways.

The funding will benefit 14 projects with investments of up to €500,000 each.

It is in addition to the €9.7 million approved for 212 small and medium projects earlier this year, and is being funded in partnership with Fáilte Ireland.

Other examples of the projects awarded funding include:

·         Co. Galway – Improvements to the Connemara Trails and Eurovelo Route, including the replacement of two bridges along the Western Way and an upgrade to the mountain bike trail at Derroura Oughterard: €500,000.

·         Co. Wicklow – Development of the Blue-light Blueway from Bray along the coast of Wicklow to Wexford: €499,338.

·         Co. Limerick – Upgrade to the Limerick Greenway (Abbeyfeale, Newcastle West, Rathkeale and surrounding areas): €418,662.

·         Co. Roscommon – Investment in the Mote Forest Park Outdoor Recreation Trail Experience and Cycle Link to Beara Breifne Way: €500,000.

·         Co. Carlow - Connecting the Wicklow Way with the South Leinster Way: €371,250.

·         Co. Monaghan – Significant enhancements of Hollywood Forest Park, which include the provision of a quality freshwater bathing site: €276,385.

·         Co. Donegal – Letterkenny to Burtonport Greenway – The Muckish Railway Walk enhancement: €500,000.

·         Co Cavan – Improved access to the new ‘Killykeen Way, a 12km cycle and walking trail linking Killykeen Forest Park and Killeshandra.

·         Cos. Cork, Mayo, Leitrim & Galway - Improved safety and sustainable access at four angling locations, including wheelchair accessible platforms: €500,000.

Announcing the funding, Minister Humphreys said:

“I know how important our outdoor amenities have been to everyone during Covid-19. That’s why one of my main priorities as Minister for Rural and Community Development will continue to be investing in the great outdoors: Our greenways blueways, trails, cycle paths and forest walks.

“The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme has provided invaluable investment for outdoor amenities and facilities in rural areas over the past five years. In fact, since 2016, my Department has supported almost 1,000 projects.

“I am delighted to announce the allocation of a further €6 million for 14 projects large-scale projects today. These projects will support the development and expansion of significant outdoor amenities and trails throughout the country which will benefit local communities and visitors alike. The investment will also have major spin-off economic benefits for our rural communities.”