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Posted: 10/07/2019

Minister Ring Launches Phase III of the Shannon Blueway

 


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.

The 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 section.

A 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 successful partnership”

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.


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