Michael Ring T.D, Minister for Rural And Community
Development in the company of Waterways Ireland A/Chief Executive John McDonagh
and Cathaoirleach Enda McGloin has opened Phase III of the Shannon Blueway.
Funding for this project was obtained by a partnership of
Waterways Ireland and Leitrim County Council under the Outdoor Recreational
Infrastructure Scheme through the Department of Rural and Community Development.
€340k of Outdoor Recreational Infrastructure funding has been match funded with
€86k by Waterways Ireland.
Minister Ring said “I am delighted to launch Phase III of
the Shannon Blueway here in Leitrim. Waterways Ireland and Leitrim County
Council have made a huge success of the investment made through the funding
from my department, in phase i and II of this project. They have brought
100,000 of new visitors to this rural area, creating opportunities for business
growth, new businesses and jobs. Phase
III links a further four existing business to the Blueway and will be
instrumental in increasing the time and money people spend in this area.”
The works have created a path along the shores of Lough
Allen linking four tourism businesses to the lock at Blackrock and Drumshanbo
town and increasing access for walkers, cyclists and horse-riders.
works involved the upgrade of 1km of upgraded pathway along the Lough Allen
canal between Acres Cove Marina and Blackrock and the installation of a new
controlled pedestrian crossing on the R208, the only road crossing on this
new car parking facility for 13 vehicles and a new entrance location for both
pedestrians and vehicles to access Drumshanbo Lock and the newly developed
Blueway from the R208 has been created. The new section of Blueway path is 1km
in length including a pedestrian bridge across the Millrace river connecting
the town with a range of existing
amenities along the shores of the Lough Allen.
The Blueways are a series of trails both on and off water
that support multi-leisure activity. The Shannon Blueway supports a wider and
deeper experiential offering where other activities and attractions are
available along the trail and are packaged for sale, providing a dividend to
the local community and economy.
Waterways Ireland and a number of key partners including
Sport Ireland, Sports Northern Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland and Fáilte
Ireland have developed the Blueway Partnership to lead the strategic
development of Blueways on an all-island basis. Waterways Ireland has developed
a significant network of Blueways now in conjunction with partners in Local
Authorities and other agencies.
A/Chief Executive of Waterways
Ireland John Mc Donagh said “Blueways are an excellent method of linking the
waterways & paths we manage with tourism businesses and recreation clubs
providing opportunities for people to experience the outdoors, nature and
adventure. For Waterways Ireland, Phase
III of the Shannon Blueway is an extension to the network of over 400km of
walking and paddling trails we’ve developed in conjunction with our local
authority partners with significant support from the Department of Rural &
Community Development and Minister Ring. We look forward to continuing this
The Shannon Blueway has proved
to be a catalyst for ongoing rural development, social inclusion and job
creation. It has led to the establishment of 8 water- based, recreational
businesses, numerous support businesses and has attracted hundreds of thousands
of visitors to Leitrim over the past few years. In 2018 alone 100,000 visitors
utilised the Blueway facilities at Acres Lake. At the same time the Blueway is
being utilised for numerous sporting and charitable events, as a community
resource and public asset.