By 2018, it will be possible to cycle from Dublin to Athlone almost entirely off-road

Minister Ross was at the opening of the Garrycastle to Whitegates National Cycle Network in Athlone on Friday 7th April.

Major Funding for the Dublin Galway Greenway

Supporters of the Dublin Galway Greenway project received excellent news when funding was announced to complete major sections of the route

2016 start for work on the Meath Kildare section of Greenway

According to Dail records the Minister expects that work will commence on the Meath and Kildare sections of the greenway in 2016.

Plans to Complete the Royal Canal Greenway in Longford

Longford County Council have issued proposals to complete the royal canal greenway connecting to the Dublin Galway Greenway.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Minister reiterates government commitment to the Dublin Galway Greenway


The Minister for Transport, Pascal O'Donohue, has reiterated the governments commitment to completing the Dublin Galway greenway. 

Speaking to the Shannonside newsroom, Minister O'Donohue said that he recognises that there was disappointment in Roscommon, where there was major landowner support, when funding was reallocated to the Kildare and Meath sections. But the minister says that getting full support for the landowners along the route is very important and that the government will continue to seek consensus over the coming years.

In October it was announced that funding which had been in place for the final part of the Dublin to Galway cycleway was being diverted to Kildare and Meath, because of difficulties with landowners.

From west of the Shannon, the cycleway passes through private farmland, and local farmers are concerned about the potential impacts in terms of loss of land, disruption of farming operations, and security issues. An IFA backed campaign against the greenway forced the government to pause the project west of the Shannon. The farmers have suggested routing to greenway onto busy national roads and say that the only solution is to run the greenway along the old N6. Cycling groups have raised major concerns to this option and research by Tourism Ireland claims that cycling tourists will not use a cycleway that is on a busy road.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Kildare County Council open up Public Consultation on Royal Canal Cycleway to Dublin Border




Kildare County Council have opened a public consultation on their plans for the Royal Canal Greenway Maynooth to Dublin County Boundary. This section will form part of the Dublin Galway Greenway. Planning is already in place for the western section between Maynooth and the Meath border and work is due to start next year.

Kildare County Council proposes to construct a 8.4km pedestrian and cycle greenway facility along the Royal Canal towpath from the Canal Harbour, Maynooth to the Kildare/Dublin County border in Allenswood.

The proposed development will provide a 3m wide cycleway and shared footway (greenway) for pedestrian and cyclist use with the provision of access controls (pedestrian/cycle friendly gates), road markings and associated signage at various locations over the length of the proposed greenway. A number of bridges along the route will be sensitively considered in the development.

Submissions or observations with respect to the proposed development can be made to the Council before Wednesday, 17 February 2016. Further details are available here:

http://kildare.ie/CountyCouncil/PressReleasesAdverts/RoyalCanalGreenwayMaynoothtoDublinCountyBoundary.html


Friday, December 11, 2015

Dispute over proposed Galway to Oughterard Greenway shows need to keep old train lines in public ownership



Landowners in parts of Connemara, Moycullen, Rosscahill and Oughterard have raised their concerns over the proposed Galway to Oughterard Greenway Route saying that there has been almost no discussion process in connection to the proposed cycleway.

The greenway, if built, would permit cyclists to cycle along a devoted cycling way from Galway City to Oughterard, something that local people welcome but are concerned as they say most of it is being directed through private property. Some portion of the greenway would run along a section of old railroad line and landowners said this is currently private property which they legitimately own.

The much of the route was formerly the Galway Clifden railway lane which is closed since 1935 and was bought back by the landowners. This demonstrates the need for the state to protect other public rights of ways for future uses rather than letting encroachments into these lands.

According to the Galway Independent farmers along the route say that the greenway will cut off farms, see houses demolished and impact on access to homes and landowners. As with the Dublin Galway greenway they also say there has been little or no consultation with them by either Galway County Council or the Minister for the Environment.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

RTE's Ear to the Ground to examine both sides of the Dublin Galway Greenway debate



Tonight's RTE's Ear to the Ground programme will examine both sides of the Dublin Galway Greenway debate. The shows presenters Helen Carroll, Darragh McCullough and Ella McSweeney will talk to farmers and others about the Dublin Galway greenway.

In October, funding for the Galway/Roscommon section of the Dublin Galway greenway was diverted to the Kildare and Meath sections of the international standard cycleway. The Kildare and Meath sections already have planning permission in place and are broadly supported by the local communities. Completing the section of cycleway in Kildare and Meath will connect the recently developed cycleways in Westmeath and Longford to the capital and is expected to bring a boom in tourism to the midlands region over the coming years. Already local communities are seeing the benefits of these cycleways and are using them in their droves.

There are now calls from local communities in Roscommon for the Minister to reconsider his decision to pause the project in Roscommon and have called for Ballinasloe to be connected to the network.



Sunday, December 6, 2015

New extension to the Royal Canal Greenway welcomed by Abbeyshrule Tidy Towns




A fundraiser organised by the Abbeyshrule Tidy Towns on Sunday 22nd November, 2015 was an ideal opportunity to celebrate the opening of the latest extension of the Royal Canal Greenway. The event was the first opportunity to appropriately baptise the route since it was fully completed into Abbeyshrule the week before. Longford County Council funded this extension and the works were carried out by Waterways Ireland.

The event was a fundraiser for the Abbeyshrule Tidy Town Group who do great work in the village and are a former National Winner and Entente Florale winner in 2012.



The group of about 40 cyclists met at 11 am Sunday morning and headed east to Ballincarrigy and returned. People came from Westmeath and Galway to participate. Everyone was on a high from the cycle. The cyclist finished up in the Rustic Inn, Abbeyshrule for soup and a roll. It is hoped that this will be an annual event from now on.

Donall Mac An Bheatha from Longford County Council said the event was "a beautiful morning of bright sunshine and the Canal and Bogs either side looked fantastic. It was a fantastic morning’s cycling with a few new cyclists rediscovering the joys of cycling. I told the group that next year we would be cycling to Ballymahon along the then newly completed Cycle Way (Nov. 2016)"


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Minister is supportive of Longford Council's Royal Canal Greenway plans


Minister Pascal O'Donohue appears to be impressed with Longford Councils forward planning for the extension of the Royal Canal Greenway to Abbeyshrule.

In response to a Dail question from Robert Troy, Fianna Fáil TD for Longford/Westmeath, on Blueway and Greenway plans in the county of Longford, the Minister stated that while funding is fully allocated until 2016, Longford is well placed to secure future funding based on their forward planning.

The minister said "All Department funding for the delivery of greenways is fully committed up until 2016.  However, the development of a greenway along the Royal Canal from Abbeyshrule to Ballymahon is among those projects to which my Department will give serious consideration in the event of additional funding becoming available. Any funding award would include provision for the installation of signage and direction markers to highlight the existence of and assist users of the greenway.

Officials from my Department along with colleagues from the National Trails Office and Fáilte Ireland visited the location of this proposed greenway recently and its suitability and I expect to have the results of their assessment of this and a number of other proposals shortly.

I understand that planning permission is already in place for this project and this will certainly be of benefit should funding become available.  Indeed, I would urge other local authorities to follow Longford County Council's lead in progressing projects through the planning phase from their own resources as this will mean that projects are shovel ready and thus easier to allocate funding to"

Monday, November 23, 2015

440K to be spent in 2016 on Dublin End of Dublin Galway Greenway


Over €10 million is to be spent on planning and construction of transport projects in the Dublin City Council area in 2016. Contained within this budget €0.44m is planned to be used for the Royal Canal Cycle Route which is part of the Dublin Galway Greenway.

As previously reported on this blog, Dublin City Council have plans to build a cycle path along the Royal Canal in Dublin which will eventually form part of the Dublin to Galway greenway. The Dublin City Council project is to include a cycle and pedestrian route along the Royal Canal from Sheriff Street Upper to Ashtown. The 7.5 km route has been divided into three phases and the work is expected to cost between €10-12 million.

Minister o'Donohue announced last month that priority would be given to the Kildare and Meath sections of the Dublin Galway Greenway while consultations continue about a route west of the Shannon. Minister O'Donohue anticipated that work would start next year on that section with the view to opening the Dublin Galway greenway as far as Athlone in 2017. 


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Minister says pause on Galway section will give time for development of a new route




Minister Donohue says that the pause on the Galway/Roscommon section will give time for the consideration of a new route that has local support. Responding to Roscommon South Leitrim TD Denis Naughten, Minister Donohoe acknowledged that was large support for the route in Roscommon but also acknowledged that difficulties lay with the Galway section of the route.

Now officials will go back to the drawing board on deciding a route west of the Shannon based on strong local consultation. It is likely that the minister will ask the TII to look at all options including land that is in public ownership as called for by Denis Naughten.



Audio file is the property of Shannonside News and simply relinked here.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Work to start early next year on the Kildare and Meath sections of the Dublin Galway Greenway




In reponse to Deputy Anthony Lawlor's question, Minister Pascal Donohue said that he expects the preparatory work on the Kildare and Meath portions of the greenway will begin in the first half of next year. 
Minister Donohue, went on to say that he expects that those new portions of the greenway to be open by the summer of 2017, which will then allow the first half of the greenway to fully open.
During the same exchange, Deputy Denis Naughten challenged the minister on his position about the use of public lands for the greenway route west of the Shannon. Deputy Naugthen, who admits that he is probably the only public representative to say publicly that he wants the greenway between Athlone and Galway to proceed, appears to be favouring a route that would bring the cycleway from Athlone to Ballinasloe by means of a physical segregation along the existing N6 as far as Aughrim.
Details of the Dail record can be accessed here:



Saturday, November 7, 2015

Coast to Coast Greenway could avoid Galway altogether after major opposition



Disclaimer: This is a hypothetical article on alternatives to a coast to coast greenway that avoids Galway.

It's summer 2018 and the hugely anticipated national coast to coast greenway opened recently. The successful tourist route is already breathing life into towns and villages right across the country. Thousands of tourists are using the greenway and businesses right along the route are seeing huge ecomonic opportunities. The greenway route is not only being used by tourists, but it also being used by local people for recreation and school children for commuting to and from school. Some people living in rural communities have commented that this is the first time that they have had a safe route for walking and cycling. 

In late 2015, the Dublin Galway greenway hit major opposition and the route was modified to avoid Galway altogether. At that time Galway farmers mounted an IFA backed campaign to oppose the greenway through their communities. They were angered by the manner of the consultation and they had concerns about the impact the greenway would have on the productive use of their farms. The transport and tourism minister, Pascal Donaghue, decided to pause the Galway section and focus spending on the Meath and Kildare sections of the Greenway. This decision proved a very wise one as it connected the newly opened Athlone and Mullingar greenway and the Mullingar to Longford greenway. 

Following the success of the Kildare and Meath sections of the greenway, the Longford and Westmeath council agreed to create a triangular loop between the towns of Longford, Athlone and Mullingar. This circular route took in the "old rail" trail on the disused Athlone to Mullingar railway, the Royal Canal greenway from Mullingar to Longford and the picturesque Lakeside cycle along the shores of Lough Ree between Longford and Athlone. 

This created a major cycling destination in the midlands for multi-day holidays and put Ireland on the international map for cycling holidays. A few months later, the greenway network was further extended to Ballinasloe using a route that was 90% in state ownership.

The last section connecting Longford to Westpost was opened by the Taoiseach and the Minister for Tourism and Transport last month. This completed the final section of the coast-to-coast greenway and connects the national greenway to the hugely successful Western greenway in Mayo. The tourism potential of this cycling product is huge. Europe cycling tourism is big business. Over 5 million Germans take a cycling holiday every year. Domestically, the German cycling tourism market has sales of more than €9 billion annually. In 2010 just over one million Dutch people went on a cycling holiday with the potential market estimated at €1.7 million

Plans are also afoot to connect the coast to coast greenway to the proposed Sligo to Athreny greenway at Charlestown, Co. Mayo in a move that will eventually bring the greenway to Galway.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a fictional article but one that the author believes could make a lot of sense. Dont book your holiday based on any information in this post.  

RTE's CountryWide coverage of the Dublin Galway Greenway


RTE CountryWide, which covers farming matters, provided coverage about the farmer's concern about the Dublin Galway greenway on their show (7th Nov 2015).

Albert Smith from the group KeepIrelandOpen is joined by the Jerry Armstrong from the IFA in Galway.  The podcast below makes for interesting listening and uncovers the amount of suspicion and disrepect on all sides. Hopefully the decision by the minister to pause the Galway section but continue with the Kildare/Meath section will give space to rebuild the relationships that are needed to make this project successful.



Audio file is the property of RTE Country Wide and simply relinked here.

RTE Interview with Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Transport on the way forward for the Galway to Dublin greenway



For those who have an interest, we have reposted the RTE Interview with Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Transport, where he discusses his decision to pause the development of the Galway-Roscommon section of the new Galway to Dublin greenway. It is interesting to note the Ministers confidence that the cross country route will definitely be built and will be in public ownership.



Audio file is the property of RTE Morning Ireland and simply relinked here.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Detailed Report shows that Greenway had support as far as Ballinasloe


This blog can reveal that the detailed report that resulted in pausing of the Dublin Galway Greenway in Galway showed large support for Greenway in Roscommon but opposition was high in East Galway.

In the proposed section from Ballinasloe to Athlone, mostly in County Roscommon, the results of the landowners consultation was positive. In a sample of  arroud 32% of the landowners in the route corridor (136 landowners), 74.3% accept the route corridor, while 19.9% object to it and 5.9% are undecided. When State-owned lands are factored into the figures it seems that almost 90% of the emerging route has acceptance in this section.

However, in Galway County and City, the acceptance of the route was much less favoured. Consultations  with a sample of around 20% of the landowners (194 landowners) along that route corridor record that c. 27% of landowners would accommodate a route for the cycleway on their lands, c. 63% would object to it with 8% undecided.

The graphic below from the report shows a large majority of landowners in Roscommon favouring the greenway.


We can also report that TD Denis Naughten representing Roscommon/South Leitrim has been trying to convince the minister to proceed with the greenway and work with the state agencies to asess state owned land that could be used west of Ballinasloe.

Given this information, it is looking like a good decision from the Minister to reallocate the funding to complete the Eastern sections of the Dublin Galway Greenway in Kildare and Meath while more efforts are made to find a suitable route.


Friday, October 30, 2015

What the papers are saying about the Dublin Galway Greenway impasse




Today was a significant (and disappointing) day for the Dublin Galway greenway. The Minister has decided to pause the Galway/Roscommon section of the Dublin Galway Greenway and instead focus the funding on the Kildare/Meath section.

The Irish Independent reported that the "Plan for cycle route from Dublin to Galway halted by landowners' objections"

Similarly, the Irish Time reported that "Objections put brakes on cycleway from Dublin to Galway".

More locally, the Galway press (Connacht Tribune) reported even though the project is stalled that "East Galway farmers remain concerned despite shelving of greenway"

Meanwhile, on a more conciliatory approach, the Shannonside newsroom reports about Denis Naughten has tried to keep discussions open when reporting that the "Roscommon TD says delay in agreement on cycleway route lies on Galway side".


Galway to lose out on Greenway Funding due to Opposition


Opposition by Galway farmers has forced the Minister of Transport and Tourism, Pascal O'Donoghue, to put plans on hold for the Dublin Galway greenway in East Galway. Reports today in several news sources have confirmed our previous reports that large scale opposition from landowners in Galway has forced the Minister to rethink the project,

The minister has decided to allocate funding to other sections of the Dublin Galway greenway.  Kildare and Meath look set to benefit from this decision. Planning permission is in place for the Royal Canal greenway in Meath and Kildare. The plan is to connect the Royal Canal greenway in Westmeath all the way to Maynooth. Just last week, Westmeath County Council officially opened the Athlone Mullingar (old rail trail), Huge crowds are already using this excellent greenway.

In other connected developments, Longford Council apparently have plans to extend the Royal Canal greenway all the way to the Shannon at Clondra and also are about to put signage up on a fantastic lake side trail along the shores of Lough Ree back into Athlone. With Minister O'Donoghue allocating immediate funds for the Kildare /Meath end of the royal canal we will hopefully see hoards of cyclists arriving into the midlands region. A multi day cycle loop of the Royal Canal/Lough Ree and Old Rail Trail will be very appealing to these visitors

It's possible that the Galway farmers are celebrating today and we have always argued that they have a right to be properly consulted about this project. It is a real pity that common sense didnt come to bear in recent days. In the longer term these farmers' communities may be the biggest losers as they miss out on millions of Euro in tourism spending from these greenway routes,

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Crunch time for the Dublin Galway Greenway?


According to reports in recent days in the Connacht Tribune, the Dublin Galway greenway project may be either terminally dead or seriously wounded. Apparently, a report into the recent consultation with landowners has been handed to the Minister. The report appears to say that 63% of galway farmers are opposed to the project in it's current plan.

This is a major set back for the project and hopefully this is not the end of the ambitious plan. It comes at particularly time when optimism is high with the opening of the Mullingar to Athlone greenway. It is claimed that rural communities could benefit enormously from tourism traffic that otherwise bypasses these areas. Some communities are even seeing greenways as one way for rural communities to fight back against a backdrop of rural decline.

While some politicians such as Denis Naughten are trying to keep the dialogue open with the Minister on alternative route options, it is hard to see how the project can proceed under such uncertainties. There are dozens of other councils and organisations that are seeking funding from the Minister's department for greenway routes. And many of these funding requests have significant local consent. It would be no surprise if the Minister decides to scrap the Galway section of the Dublin Galway greenway and divert the funding elsewhere on other routes  to get to the west coast of Ireland (such as the Longford to Westport greenway or Sligo to Galway Greenway).

We hope that imagination, compromise and diplomacy could be introduced now into this debate. The current plan sounds like a classic example of a naive approach and the goodwill required from the farming sector is damaged.  The right leader here could make a difference - someone respected by the farmers as one of their own but also promoting the greenway. Anyone out there? Cycling Enda?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Celebrating the Opening of the Athlone to Mullingar Greenway

To celebrate the opening (Sunday 18th Oct) of the Athlone to Mullingar Greenway tomorrow, the latest section of the Dublin Galway Greenway, we are showcasing some amazing video footage of Moate station. Footage courtesy of Briain Smyth on Youtube. Enjoy

And for a reminder of the before and after, here's a video of the "before". Well done to all the volunteers and to Westmeath council for such amazing work. Here's to a very successful greenway!!


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dublin City Council moves a step closer to the Royal Canal Premium Cycle Route




Dublin City Council have moved a step closer to the construction of the Royal Canal Premium Cycle Route - Phase 2 by issuing a tender for a Ground Investigation Contract. The tender, that has appeared on mytenders.ie, is for the provision of  ground investigation work, ground investigation services and site-investigation services.

This cycle route will complete the capital’s section of the proposed national cycle route from Dublin to Galway, which will be Ireland’s contribution to the EuroVelo Route 2 extending across Europe to Russia.

In Dublin city a section of just 350m from Guild Street to Sheriff Street where the canal meets the Liffey, has been completed, and in Fingal a 2km section from Ashtown to the 12th lock in Castleknock opened last year.

The new 7km path will bridge the gap between these two sections. The two-way path will start on the left bank of the canal at Sheriff Street lifting bridge and will stay on this side until just after Binns Bridge in Drumcondra, at the junction of Whitworth Road and Dorset Street, where a new bridge will be built to take cyclists to the other side of the canal.

This is a real welcome move especially at a time when the latest section of the Dublin Galway greenway is due to be officially in Westmeath this coming Saturday.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

What does Sean Connery and the New Mullingar to Athlone cyclway have in common?


Ireland's latest world-class greenway (Athlone to Mullingar) is on a disused railway line that last saw serious action as a location for a movie starring 007 legend Sean Connery - 1979's The Great Train Robbery. 



According to reports in the Irish Independent by journalist Claire Mc Cormack, four decades after the collapse of rail services between Mullingar, Moate and Athlone, the historic corridor has been reconnected by a new bicycle track - 40km long and three metres wide

Next weekend the Taoiseach will be on hand to open the next phase of the Dublin to Galway cycleway. Enda Kenny will be in Westmeath to open the new 40 km cycleway that will once again connect the midland towns of Athone and Mullingar.

Apparently, the new route, which is open already to the public, is already attracting a large interest from local users. According to the reports Barry Kehoe, director of services for transport and economic development at Westmeath County Council, said the project has captured local imagination with some already sampling the route.
"People who haven't ridden a bike for 40 years are getting back on the saddle. They're using it all hours of the day, even into the darkness of the winter evenings we're seeing lights on it," he said.
In the report, it was notable that Mr Kehoe wanted to clarify that the route was intentional built to attract families and more leisurely cyclists and walkers and is not for cyclist clubs that may want to travel in group on fast road bikes. Mr Kehoe said that "It's entirely for families and we have communicated with the various cycling clubs that it is not suitable for groups. They travel too fast and take up too much space and would be intimidating for family users". 
We are looking forward to the official opening which is due to take place on Sunday October 18th.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Shackleton’s Gardens in Clonsilla to become major tourism attraction on the Dublin Galway Greenway


According to the Dublin Gazette  the historic Shackleton’s Gardens in Clonsilla could potentially become a major tourist attraction on the Dublin Galway Greenway,

There is a plan by Fingal Council to take ownership of Shackleton’s Gardens in Clonsilla in the coming weeks with a €415,000 redevelopment plan to start soon after. The gardens, behind Clonsilla train station and on the banks of the Royal canal, were once ranked among the top four gardens for herbaceous borders in Britain and Ireland. The gardens contain a wide range of rare and exotic plants collected from all over the world by the famous adventurer but in recent years they have fallen into disrepair,

It is hope that the gardens will be an important tourist stop along the Royal Canal which is now being upgraded as a greenway linking Dublin to the Shannon and on to Galway.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Opening date nears for Mullingar to Athlone section of Dublin Galway Greenway

Our sources closest to the construction of the Mullingar to Athlone cycleway are indicating a mid October offical opening date.

As of Friday evening (18th Sep), the base layer was finished to within 4km of Athlone, with the finished layer completed to about a mile of Moate Station. Its a serious job. Some of the bridges are also finished with hand railing. Topsoiling is finished to Castletown.

Here's a sneek peek courtesy of a facebook user.


"Pretty impressive stuff. Some beautiful bridges and tunnels along the route. Past half way point yesterday. No official..."
Posted by Brian Golden

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Funding should be scrapped or go elsewhere if suitable route not found says Cycling Campaign


The Galway Cycling Campaign has called on the Minister for Transport, Mr. Paschal Donohoe TD, to reject IFA proposals to put a local section of an international greenway beside the old N6.  Controversy has erupted about the routing of the Galway section of the Eurovelo 2 cycling route.  The route is meant to start in Galway and end in Moscow and much of the mainland sections are already in place. Conflict has arisen between the IFA and the NRA who have proposed to CPO farmers’ land to construct the route. 

The cyclists say both sides are at fault with the NRA approach viewed as poorly managed and divisive.  The county council and NRA seem to have ignored standard methods for providing such routes without splitting farms. The cyclists accept that the appointment of the NRA to lead the project has been highly questionable and that the NRA involvement has not been positive.  However, the IFA suggestion of putting a Greenway beside a busy road is equally flawed and would make the country a laughing stock.

The cyclists say a reality check is needed. The Greenway represents strategic international infrastructure and, if implemented correctly, could open up a huge new tourism product for East Galway.  Elsewhere in Europe cycling tourism is big business.  Over 5 million Germans take a cycling holiday every year. Domestically, the German cycling tourism market has sales of more than €9 billion annually.   In 2010 just over one million Dutch people went on a cycling holiday with the potential market estimated at €1.7 million.  For the Italian tourism market, adventure holidays (of which cycling is a part) generated €510,000 million of travel retail sales in 2008.  In 2008, around 970,000 UK holiday makers took part in cycling while on holiday.  There is also a large untapped Irish market. In 2007, research found that 28% of Irish adults had used a bicycle in the previous year.

Between the towns of Gort, Loughrea and Ballinasloe there are currently over 5000 people on the live register.  Retail in Ballinasloe has been decimated.  The cycling route represents an enormous opportunity for communities along its path - including the farming community.  By pushing a "solution" that would destroy the essential nature of the Greenway, the IFA are open to the accusation that they are sabotaging economic recovery for local communities and towns in East Galway.

Following a brief meeting with the Minister on Monday 31st of August, the cycling campaign is to bring forward alternative proposals for a different process for creating such routes. The cycling campaign endorses the view that it is better to redirect any funds elsewhere in the country than to spend them on a second class version of a cycling route in Galway.

Monday, July 27, 2015

July Update - Galway Farmers want cyclists pushed onto the N6, Longford woos minister and looks to connect Royal Canal greenway to Mayo



The latest farmer position on the Greenway through Galway and Roscommon is that the will militantly oppose the Dublin Galway greenway through East Galway.

Senator Healy Eames is one of the vocal policition on the farmers position and recommends using the N6 for the greenway.

Meanwhile, minister Donohoe is loosing patience with all the opposition on the Galway side when so many other local communities disparately want funds for greenways. He might withdraw or reallocate the funding for the Connaught leg of the greenway.

And Longford council are ceasing the opportunity to get funding to connect the Royal Canal greenway to the Mayo Greenway.

Apparently, Longford have really impressed the minister in what they can achieve with limit budgets and will look favorably on Longford quest to gain a slice of the national greenway network.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

First look at the surface of the Mullingar to Athlone greenway


The Dublin Galway greenway blog is happy to provide some early pictures of the soon to be opened Mullingar to Athlone cycle way. The Mullingar/Athlone cycleway is part of the Dublin Galway greenway and follows the route of the disused railway between the two Westmeath towns.

This picture was taken just outside Mullingar and while the greenway is not open to the public yet we were able to access the initial 2 kms of the route. We are pleasantly surprised on the high quality of the surface. The surface is equivalent to road surface and is done to an exceptionally high standard. Unfortunately the surface was only completed to Ballinalee. After that point the surface becomes compacted stone. We assume that the entire length of this cycleway will be surfaced with tarmacadam.

All indications point to a mid September opening date.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Will Cyclist be forced to cycle on a National Road as part of the Dublin Galway Greenway?

According to reports in the Connacht Tribune, cyclists on the planned Dublin Galway Greenway will be forced onto busy National Roads.


In the article,  Senator Fidelma Healy Eames is calling on the Minister of Transport to seriously consider routing cyclists onto a National Roads.


Senator Fidelma Healy Eames says using the old N6 is the only way a greenway can be developed without having a negative impact on productive farmland.

Minister Paschal Donohoe is holding meetings this week with farmers affected by the proposed route.
Senator Healy Eames is calling on the minister to maximise the use of public lands and make the old N6 safe for cyclists and pedestrians. A final decision on the proposal is to be issued in September.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"No funds available to re-open railway lines for passengers or freight" says Paschal Donohoe


Minister states greenway on closed western rail route would "fully protect integrity of corridor"
 
Greenway supporters now look for county councils to listen to Minister and back greenway for the "tourism and business benefits" it will bring
 
The Western Rail Trail Campaign received an email from Minister of Transport Paschal Donohoe on June 22nd which reinforces previous correspondence from the Minister that his preferred option is for a greenway on the route of the closed railway from Athenry to Sligo in order to protect the ownership of the closed railway route until such time as a railway ever becomes possible.
 
Brendan Quinn of the Western Rail Trail campaign said "we are in touch with the Minister on a regular basis and this email reconfirms what Minister Donohoe has said on a number of occasions that the Government has no plans to re-open the railway and that a greenway will protect the route, furthermore  this is the first time Mr. Donohoe has referred to both passenger and freight options for the railway"
 
The Minister makes three key points in his email (copy attached to this press release) quoted below:
"There is no Exchequer funding available to re open rail lines, either for passengers or freight, anywhere on the network". "Iarnród Éireann has confirmed that when Greenways are being developed along closed and abandoned railways, there is specific provision in the licence agreement to ensure that the corridor could be brought back to use as a working railway, should it be required at a future date.". "In addition to the tourism and business benefits that Greenways bring, the development of a Greenway along a rail corridor would of course also fully protect the integrity of the corridor in the event of its future reopening as an operational railway."

"The Minister has confirmed what Greenway campaign groups in Sligo, Mayo and Galway have been saying for many years" said Quinn. The Minister added in his email that it is a matter for local authorities in the first instance to initiate proposals for a greenway on the route.  Quinn said "Sligo county council are on board and have approved the idea of a greenway on the route, and is currently looking for funding for a feasibility study.
 
Unfortunately it's a different story in Mayo and Galway where both county councils are refusing to accept the potential for tourism which a greenway from Sligo to Athenry could bring to the west.  We cannot understand why Mayo and Galway county councils are so opposed to this jobs initiative" says Quinn.
 
We have tried to explain to the councils what a greenway on the route of the closed railway line from Sligo to Athenry will do for the west. Firstly, The potential to link in with the proposed Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Fermanagh greenway from Sligo to Enniskillen opening up a direct cycle route to the West of Ireland for tourists from the North. Secondly,  to connect with the Great Western Greenway at Turlough House near Swinford connecting Enniskillen with Achill by continuous greenway. The third benefit would be to connect with the Dublin Galway greenway near Athenry to create a continuous greenway from Dublin to Mayo and Sligo.
 
Quinn added "The latest email from the Minister puts the ball firmly in the county councils' court. They can either embrace this jobs opportunity or they can continue to be in denial about a railway that clearly is not going to happen anytime soon, if ever.  The greenway option now appears to be the only show in town."
 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Greenway Updates June 2015

In the last few weeks, a number of news stories related to the Dublin Galway Greenway came into prominence.


Earlier in the month, we heard from Councillor Tom Farrell on the Shannonside FM news welcoming the significant progress being made on the Athlone to Mullingar section of the Dublin Galway Greenway. Councillor Farrell expressed his views that the opening of new Athlone to Mullingar cycleway will “re-unite Co Westmeath”.


In the last week, however, there has been mixed news on the hope of having a speedy resolution to the controversial route options on the Connaught part of the route. The Connaught Tribune reports that TD gives pledge that cycleway won’t go ahead without the support of locals. In a effort to keep everyone onside we suspect that the route on the Galway side of the greenway may start to slow now as negotiations and concessions commence.


But in an interesting development, the Connaught tribune has a story that reports that the Athenry and Sligo greenway group suggests Apple i-Way between Athenry and Sligo. As reported before by this website, joining the Longford greenway with a link to a future  Athenry and Sligo greenway could be a more realistic answer to getting a coast to coast Dublin Galway greenway.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Dublin City Council opens Public Consultation on Royal Canal Greenway



Dublin City Council has opened its plans for Royal Canal cycleway for public consultation. The 10 million Euro project, which is part of the Dublin Galway greenway, aims to provide a cycle and pedestrian route from Ashtown to Dublin City along the route of the Royal Canal.

The project is being planned in 4 phases with the 1st phase (Guild Street to Sheriff Street Upper) already constructed. The other 3 phases consist of

  • PHASE 2: SHERIFF STREET UPPER , DUBLIN 1 TO NORTH STRAND ROAD, DUBLIN 1
  • PHASE 3: NORTH STRAND ROAD, DUBLIN 1 TO PHIBSBOROUGH ROAD, DUBLIN 7.
  • PHASE 4: PHIBSBOROUGH ROAD, DUBLIN 7 TO ASHTOWN, DUBLIN 15  

In addition, for all 3 Phases of the Scheme the proposed works includes the provision of new public lighting, CCTV, gateways to prevent inappropriate motor vehicle access and other ancillary services along the entire route. An Ecological Report and Built Heritage & Conservation Report has also been provided. Plans for the proposed development may be inspected for a period of 6 weeks from Thursday 28th May at the offices of Dublin City Council, Public Counter, Planning Department, Block 4, Ground Floor, Civic offices, Wood Quay, Dublin 8 and at the following locations:

  • Charleville Mall Library, Charleville Mall, North Strand, Dublin 1.
  • Phibsborough Library, Royal Canal Bank, Phibsborough, Dublin 7
  • Cabra Area Office, 97 New Cabra Road, Cabra, Dublin 7.
  • Cabra Library, Navan Road, Cabra, Dublin 7


For more detailed see the Dublin City Council website:
http://www.dublincity.ie/main-menu-services-planning-planning-news/royal-canal-greenway-part-8

Friday, May 29, 2015

Senator Lorraine Higgins Joins Calls To Connect Our National Greenways



According to reports by Cian Ginty in IrishCycle.com, senator Lorraine Higgins has joined the growing voice for a more connected vision on the planned national greenways.

Most Galway politicians who have spoken out on the issue recently have more clearly sided with farmers’ groups who are against the Dublin-Galway route from using current farmland.

The Labour Senator’ comments comes after a press release she released earlier in the week highlighting how she is seeking a meeting between the Minister for Transport and pro-greenway groups from Tuam, Mayo and Sligo.

She told the IrishCycle website that these groups include the Sligo-Mayo Greenway group, the Tuam greenway group and the Athenry greenway supporters. These are mainly campaigning for sections of the Western Railway Corridor between Galway and Sligo to be used as a greenway. Although the railway is disused, all of the route is in public ownership, but support to turn this route into a greenway is currently limited among State bodies. Other groups are seeking the railway reopened.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Funding For Kildare Greenway Not Likely Until 2017


According to reports from KFMRadio, funding for the Kildare section of the Dublin to Galway Greenway won't be available until after 2016.

This is a 276 kilometre cycle route being developed under the aegis of the Dept. of Transport. The Kildare section, 38 kilometres between Maynooth and the Meath/Westmeath border, already has planning permission.

All Department funding for greenways is fully committed up to 2016.

Minister Pascal Donohe says he "would expect that when funding becomes available that this project will be in a position to avail of that."

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Mullingar to Athlone cycleway could be open by mid-July


According to Reports from the Shannonside newsroom, the Mullingar to Athlone cycleway could be open by mid July. The Mullingar to Athlone section is a key part of the overall Dublin to Galway greenway that is hoped to be completed by 2020.

Director of Services Barry Kehoe told a recent meeting of Athlone Municipal District that paving work on the 2.5million euro project is due to begin shortly.

Councillors welcomed the news of allowing the public access to the 40 km section which will connect cyclists and walkers to the urban centres of Mullingar, Moate and Athlone.

While the route will be open to the public in mid-July, all going to plan, further works on the installation of additional things like landscaping, signage and rest areas may still be taking place by then.

For now, cyclists will dismount the trackway at Garrycastle and then be directed into Athlone town centre via retreat road; but eventually, the route along the disused railway line will continue towards town and cross the Shannon on a new cycleway bridge from the Marina at the Radisson Blu Hotel to the Luan Gallery before continuing through the West side out into South Roscommon.

This phase – the Athlone to Galway leg, is already proving controversial, with concerns expressed by several farmers at the potential impact the route could have on their land in south Roscommon.

NRA launches website to promote the Dublin to Galway Greenway



The NRA, in collaboration with local authorities, have launched a dedicated website to promote awareness of the Dublin Galway Greenway (or "Galway to Dublin Cycleway" as it is officially called). According to a spokesperson from the NRA, they would like more people to join the conversation, from different sectors, who might benefit from the project. This website is one step in promoting awareness of the project.

From the www.galwaytodublincycleway.ie website:

"The Galway to Dublin Cycleway will be the first inter-city greenway in a proposed national network. Stretching 276 km from coast to coast, this will be a world-class amenity for families, communities and tourists to enjoy, providing a cross-country route away from busy roads. From west to east the route passes through counties Galway, Roscommon, Westmeath, Meath, Kildare and Dublin. It will travel by rivers and through woods, along a disused railway line and old canal paths, and on well-signed, purpose-built cycle paths, offering rural tranquillity in a safe and traffic-free environment to everyone who uses it.  Work on the cycleway commenced in 2013 with funding from the NRA and in collaboration with the local authorities. For more information see www.galwaytodublincycleway.ie"


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Galway Council will meet the Minister to try to break the empass on the Dublin Galway Greenway Route


According to the Connacht tribune and Galway Bay fm newsroom – County Council officials will meet with the Transport Minister next week to discuss funding and land ownership issues regarding the Galway to Dublin greenway.

Maps outlining the proposed greenway route corridor were presented to councillors at this afternoon’s meeting of the Loughrea municipal district.

Director of Services Liam Gavin says the project is vital to the East Galway region, but the concerns of home and landowners along the proposed route must be taken into consideration.

It was suggested that the old N6 could be used as part of the route to avoid fragmentation of farmland – but the director said the road is too fast, and would not satisfy safety requirements.

Councillors at the meeting were in agreement that the project is a positive development, but say farms cannot be cut in half by the route, and that alternatives to this measure should be thoroughly considered.
Cathaoirleach of the Loughrea district, Councillor Michael Moegie Maher, says the district councillors will get a report on the minister’s views at their next meeting in June

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Dublin Galway Greenway Route



Several people have contacted us and asked if there is single source of information on the proposed Dublin Galway greenway route. The route crosses 6 county borders and will involve the cooperation of at least 8 local authorities and government bodies. So its not surprising, given the number of bodies involved, that there isn't one single place that lays out the entire route. Note that many of the proposed route is subject to planning and land holder agreements.

The RCAG Royal Canal Amenity Group has made a good start to list the sections along the Royal Canal and the following is our understanding of the proposed route. Please get in touch and help us to keep this information up to date.

Dublin: Guild Street to Sheriff Street to Castleknock. See Map. Note that Dublin City Council have recently announced plans to proceed.

Kildare: No work has commenced. Subject to Planning

Meath: No work has commenced. Subject to Planning

Westmeath: Westmeath/Meath border to Coolnahay, 33 km. See Map

Longford: As part of the greenway from Dublin to Galway, a high quality walking and cycling path has been completed between Longford town and Richmond Harbour in Clondra, 16.5km. See Map

Westmeath section - The Westmeath section of the Dublin to Galway Greenway, when completed, will run from Mullingar to Athlone along a disused rail line. Construction of the Greenway is well underway and a large section will be opened later this year.See Westmeath county council Info

Galway - Athlone to Galway Corridor Overview:

Ballinasloe to Galway. Again up for public consultation.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

North South Ministerial Council calls for the connection of cross border Greenways

The North South Ministerial Council (22 April 2015), which was attended by political representatives from both sides of the border, has heard of the social and economic benefits of greenways.


The ministers welcomed the continued investment by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and the Department for Regional Development on the promotion and development of sustainable transport options, including cycling.


The North South Ministerial Council is a body that has its origins from the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement (1998) which provided for co-operation and implementation for mutual benefit.


A number of interesting presentations were given by representatives from bodies such as Waterways Ireland, Tourism Ireland and local authorities. Some mentionable presentation were:


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Center Parcs in Longford could prove to a hit on the Dublin Galway Greenway



According to reports today, Center Parcs are finalising a deal to develop a forestry village resort in Ballymahon, County Longford with 600 jobs in the construction stage and a potential of 500 jobs when in operation. Center Parcs is in talks with Coillte over a site at Newcastle Woods, Co. Longford, near the River Inny and the Royal Canal. 

Center Parcs resorts, which are Dutch-style forest holiday villages, already have five UK resorts and British staycationers love them. According to the Irish Independent, the resort experiences are centered on activities - ranging from kayaking and raft-building to high ropes courses, bike hire, paintball, archery, adventure golf, tennis and more. There will also be a Subtropical Swimming Paradise set at the heart of the complex.

The recent announcement by the Longford County Council to develop the Royal Canal cycle and walkway (Royal Canal Greenway) to the Westmeath border now looks like a very sensible decision. It will mean that cyclists on the Dublin Galway Greenway will have a world class tourist resort to include on their cycling holidays. 


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

200,000 Euro allocated for the Royal Canal Greenway in Fingal County Council (FCC) Programme of Works 2015



200,000 Euro for the Royal Canal Greenway has been allocated by the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Fingal County Council (FCC) in their Programme of Works 2015.

The spending allocation has been allocated for the:
o Finalisation of the design, planning and preparation of tender documents for this section of the Royal Canal Route from Phibsboro to Ashtown – €100,000
o Planning and design of cycle route on Royal Canal towpath, from 12th Lock to the county boundary with Kildare (including ‘deep sinking’ section) – €100,000

In particular the planning and design will focus on a section called the "Deep Sinking" where there is a significant grade difference between the towpaths and water surface of the canal. In a previous report by Fingal County Council an option included the construction a cantilevered boardwalk type facility.




The height of the boardwalk would be high above the canal in some parts and when completed a boardwalk style canal path could provide a really special experience similar to that of a tree top canopy experience 

Waterways Ireland encourages new business to set up along Blueways





At a Longford Tourism event last night (24th Mar 2015), Waterways Ireland and Longford Tourism urged entrepreneurs and businesses in Longford to develop new enterprises along the Shannon Camlin Blueway.


A 10 kilometre looped trail of the Shannon and Camlin River, is to be opened next month which it’s hoped will be a focal point for boating, canoeing or other outdoor pursuits. Details were also presented of a 3 day Blueway festival that will be held in Clondra from April 24th to 26th.


The Camlin is complemented by the Royal Blueway, a 16 kilometre stretch of off-road walking and cycling route, from Clondra to Longford town.


At the event, Michael Carrigy from Longford Tourism and Eanna Rowe from Waterways Ireland outlined the plan to connect the royal canal cycle way all the way from Clondra/Longford town to the Westmeath border. It was highlighted that this would complete provide a significant spur off the planned Dublin Galway greenway. When combined with the section linking Mullingar to Athlone it is hoped that the royal canal greenway will become a major tourist attraction.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Longford Council and Waterways Ireland present ambitious plan for Royal Canal




At a recent meeting on local tourism in Longford, Waterways Ireland and Longford County Council presented an ambitious plan for trails in County Longford. The meeting on the 24th Feburary at Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre was organised by Longford Tourism and was attended by various local people. Eanna Rowe from Waterways Ireland present their vision for connecting the waterways and walking routes into a series of connected trails labelled as BlueWays.

In a futher development, Longford council has just issued proposals to undertake the provision of a shared pedestrian and cycle track along the Royal Canal towpath from Cloonsheerin Bridge in the Townland of Cloonsheerin (i.e. completing the link from Longford to Abbeyshrule). The development will consist of improvements to the towpath along the Royal Canal to provide a shared pedestrian and cycle path and plans and particulars of the proposed development are now available

When completed this route would join to the Dublin Galway greenway just outside Mullingar and would provide for access to Athlone or Dublin via this route.

Monday, March 16, 2015

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has announced plans for Dublin section of Dublin Galway greenway













DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has announced plans to build a cycle path along the Royal Canal in Dublin.

The project includes a cycle and pedestrian route along the Royal Canal from Sheriff Street Upper to Ashtown. The 7.5 km route has been divided into three phases and the work is expected to cost between €10-12 million.


The plans are part of the Royal Canal Greenway project which includes a fourth, already constructed, 400m link which runs along Guild Street from North Wall Quay to Sheriff Street Upper.


Once finished the path will complete Dublin’s section of the national cycle route from Dublin to Galway – which will be used in the EuroVelo Route 2.




Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Minister cautions "Field of Dreams" approach to Greenways





The latest comments from the Minister of Transport and Tourism Paschal Donohoe provide some insight into the new ministers view of national greenways. While his comments will be welcome be some it may disappoint many looking for a coordinated strategic plan from central government on a connected set of greenways in Ireland.

The minister appears to be opening up a debate on whether there should be dedicated funding streams for greenways regardless of their viability. He seems to believe that there is an expectation building that his department will be funding greenways in every "highway and byway" in Ireland. According to Ministor Donohoe, the government has awarded €6.3m under the National Cycle Network Funding Programme 2014-2016 to three local authorities for the delivery of greenways following a competitive process. However, he appears to throw cold water on other schemes that may not be viable and cautions local communities and local authorities on a "Field of Dreams" approach to building greenways. 

The minister and called on local communities and interest groups to work hard now to develop strategies and prepare business cases will be best placed to avail of that funding.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Royal Canal featured in Irish Time's Ten great walking weekends


Great articles from Manchán Magan in the Irish Times

The Royal Canal 
Following this mercurial strip of silver, silky water that runs from Dublin through Kildare and Westmeath to Longford is like stepping back into Ireland of 200 years ago. The 144km journey from Croke Park to Clondra, where the Royal Canal meets the Shannon, takes three days to cover, mostly on gravel or tarmac towpaths. Though the stretch around Dublin is grim, the rest is tranquil, unspoilt countryside with perfect relics of late 18th-century industrial architecture.