New Ballyconnell to Bellaheady Recreational Trail Opens
The 5.5km Ballyconnell to Bellaheady Recreational Trail, a
partnership venture between Cavan County Council and Waterways Ireland, was
officially opened on Friday, 25th March by Minister for Rural and
Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, Cathaoirleach of Cavan County
Council Councillor Clifford Kelly, and Chief Executive Officer of Waterways
Ireland, Mr John McDonagh.
The project, which will ultimately form part of a broader
54km greenway along the old Cavan to Leitrim Railway line, received €684,289 in
funding from the Department of Rural and Community Development under the
Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. Additional match funding was provided
by Cavan County Council and Waterways Ireland.
5.5km trail provides an excellent recreational facility, linking Ballyconnell
and Bellaheady, along the scenic banks of the Woodford River on the Shannon
Erne Waterway. The trail also provides connectivity to the existing Woodford
Village Walk, a key amenity in the UNESCO Cuilcagh Lakelands Geopark.
Welcoming the opening of the new trail, Cathaoirleach of
Cavan County Council, Councillor Clifford Kelly said, “This trail is a
wonderful addition to our local tourism product and enhances one of our
greatest resources – our stunning natural landscape and our abundant waterways.
Every 1,000 tourists that visit Cavan help support 14 jobs. The tourism and
hospitality sector employs some 3,200 people in County Cavan and projects such
as this will contribute greatly to the recovery and future growth of the sector
in the coming months and years”.
Officially opening the new trail, Minister for Rural and
Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD said, “Projects like this
recreational trail are not just places where we can go for a walk, a run or a
“They are places where we can come together as family and
friends, to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, and where better to do this than in
Ballyconnell which is in the heart of the Cuilcagh Lakelands UNESCO Global
Geopark in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.
“I want to commend the work of Cavan County Council and
Waterways Ireland who have worked closely together to deliver this project -
without your collaboration, dedication, and drive we would not be here today.
“This project is a great example of how different parties
can work, hand in hand, to achieve results for the benefit of the wider
community and that will also encourage tourists to visit rural areas of
Ireland,” added Minister Humphreys.
Chief Executive of Waterways Ireland, Mr John McDonagh
said, “I welcome the
completion of this latest recreational trail along the Shannon-Erne Waterway
from Ballyconnell to Bellaheady. I want to acknowledge and thank Minister
Humphreys for the funding from her department in facilitating our partnership
with Cavan County Council to deliver this phase. The recreational trail will
provide a wonderful experience for local people, activity clubs, social and
youth groups to enjoy. We look forward to working with Cavan County Council to
deliver future projects along the Shannon-Erne to enhance the recreational
opportunities for local people”.
Chief Executive of Cavan County Council, Mr Tommy Ryan said,
“The partnership between Cavan County Council, Waterways Ireland, the
Department of Rural and Community Development, and of course our local
communities, has been key to delivering this project and I want to commend all
involved in bringing this trail to fruition”.
“This trail, which will prove an invaluable resource for
locals and visitors alike, delivers on many of the local authority’s strategic
goals and objectives as outlined in the council’s Walking and Cycling Strategy,
the County Cavan Tourism Strategy, the Healthy Cavan Strategy, and the Local
Economic and Community Plan, among others. I want to acknowledge the efforts of
our staff across the organisation in delivering this project, and also our
elected members whose support has been unwavering for this scheme,” added Mr
Cavan County Council Director of Services for Roads and
Infrastructure, Mr Paddy Connaughton, said, “Working alongside our partners in
Leitrim County Council and Waterways Ireland, we have made great progress in
realising our strategic goal of developing the Cavan Leitrim Railway Greenway.
In addition to today’s opening, we have also recently completed work on a
second recreational trail along this route, a 6km trail from Belturbet to
Corraquil, which was also funded through the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure
Scheme to the value of €500,000”.
“Significant strides have also been made on the Western end
of the proposed greenway, which will ultimately link Dromod in Leitrim with
Belturbet in Cavan via Mohill, providing a world-class health and recreation
amenity along the historic old narrow gauge railway line.”
For more information on the Shannon Erne Blueway, visit waterwaysireland.org.
For information on things to do and places to stay in County Cavan, visit www.thisiscavan.ie