What is a Blueway

 Blueways are a network of multi-activity recreational trails, based on or alongside idyllic lakes, canals and rivers in Ireland. They provide scenic routes into the heart of rural Ireland by canoe, bike or on foot. Connect with friends and family as you escape to unique natural environments. Feel totally chilled out on a guided paddling trip; build up an appetite on an exhilarating electric bike trip; or gently meander on a canal-side walk. Enjoy tranquil Blueway journeys, where the pace of life is slow, along glistening waters, softly fringed and abundant with nature.

Along with the trails, there's so much more to enjoy around Blueway destinations, with relaxing places to stay, delightful places to eat and exciting attractions to visit. Get a glimpse of the Blueway experience by visiting ​

Why Blueways? ​

The development of Blueways presents valuable opportunities for rural communities to attract more visitors. These values lie not only in the recreational opportunities that they offer but also in their potential to stimulate local businesses and regenerate local areas. Blueways also provide an effective model of partnership between private, community, and voluntary sectors and relevant state bodies. 


The Adventure Experience

The adventure experience offered can be enjoyed by all. With easy to follow trails, Blueways allow adventurers of all kinds, enjoy freedom and try out a new experience. Until now, the prospect of engaging in water-based activities has been fraught with barriers, including fear of water, access to opportunity, cost, etc. However, global trends towards activity tourism have resulted in increased demand for a creative approach towards a more integrated adventure tourism experience​. By bringing together a range of enthusiastic activity providers, set within the context of a vibrant and animated water-side economy, the Blueways serve to showcase an exciting tourism and recreation product. By presenting a range of activity options through idyllic natural waterscapes, including exhilarating bike hire, gentle Canadian canoe trips and cool Stand-Up-Paddling journeys, visitors are enabled to enjoy a fully immersive and rewarding adventure experience.


The Economic & Community Benefits

Available figures detailing the percentage of overseas visitors who engage in a named form of activity-based Sports Tourism on the island of Ireland shows an average aggregate spend by all overseas tourists, it is estimated that this spend contributes to over €800 million for the economy, which local and rural economies directly benefit through job creation, community partnerships as well as health and wellbeing. 

 Most recent figures from Failté Ireland show that of the eight million international visitors to holiday in Ireland in recent years;

18% engaged in water sports (1,440,000)

7% engaged in cycling activities (560,000)

23% engaged in walking activities (1,840,000)


Health & Wellbeing

Health & Wellbeing in Ireland has become a national trend over the past couple of years, with a new national framework (Healthy Ireland – A Framework for Improved Health and Wellbeing 2013 – 2025) this trend is only on the up. A recent study carried out by Prof. Martin Cormican of NUI Galway (Ireland’s Environment – An Assessment 2016) suggest that spending time in blue spaces – rivers, canals, lakes and coastline – reduces physical stress and enhances mental wellbeing. Doctors in Ireland are starting to hand out blue prescriptions, encouraging people to walk, run and spend time in nature.


Business that have developed through the Blueway process explain their perspective. ​

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