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.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hopes for a breakthrough on the Dublin Galway Greenway


The Transport Minister, Shane Ross, said yesterday that he hopes to do something in "a more concrete way" to solve the impasse on the Dublin Galway greenway. Minister Ross was answering a question in the Dail from FF TD Robert Troy on the long delays for the project.

Minister Ross agreed with Robert Troy that the ‘Greenway’ holds a huge tourism potential for the  Midlands. He also said that in the meantime, he would "examine potential funding options to deliver the sections of the Galway to Dublin greenway in counties Kildare and Meath that have planning permission in place and may be progressed quickly". He also went on to highlight the huge potential for the Midlands to be a destination in its own right by commenting that "the completion of these sections would allow for the provision of a fully off-road greenway from Maynooth to Athlone. The provision of this 100 km section, combined with the 26 km Mullingar to Abbeyshrule greenway, would provide a multi-day cycling experience which would be attractive to visitors from home and overseas."

The following is an audio clip of Minister Shane Ross's Dail statement on the matter. Audio file is the property of http://www.midlands103.com/ and simply relinked here.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

What can the Dublin Galway Greenway planners learn from the Sheep's Head Way in West Cork?



RTE's Nationwide show on Friday 27th May 2016 examined how the rural community on the Sheep's Head peninsula in West Cork are benefiting from walking and cycling routes. The RTE programme highlighted the benefits and some of the concerns of the communities but it also highlighted how the Sheep's Head way could serve as a model for encouraging community support for other national greenways.

The show mentioned that there are many positive impacts that accrue to communities that embrace tourism. But the presenter, Anne Cassin, also spoke about the opposition from landowners on other prominent greenway projects such as the the Dublin to Galway greenway route and the proposed greenway in Kerry.

The story of the Sheep's Head way goes back 20 years when the community and farmers decided to open their land under permissive access for a cycling and walking route. 260 farmers came together and gave their permission for their land to be used for a walking route. RTE's show pointed out that the trust was there from the start and it was the farmers themselves that decided to open their lands for the route. 

However there were initial concerns in a number of areas. The concerns about insurance were addressed by the government. In 2008 the government set up a insurance scheme as part of the national walk scheme.  There were also concerns around 'rights of way'which were surmounted by a system of 'permission access' where the route is closed for 1 day each year (on the 31st Jan every year) so no right of way can be established. There were also initially concerns about obstructio of productive farming by blocking of gateways and walkers dogs but these were resolved by more investment in parking areas and proper signage. 

One of the main reasons for the success of the Sheep's Head way is that the farmers have a say through the rural recreation officer and a system of committees. As such, the farmers do not have to deal with faceless bureaucrats and can have any issues or concerns addressed more quickly.

Now the whole Sheep's head community can see the benefits with many new tourism related business opportunities in the area and additional employment. Many farmers have branched into agri-tourism and self-catering and some have reported that their income from tourism is starting to exceed their income from their traditional farming. The report went on to say that even if a farmer does not directly benefit from the walks that they can indirectly benefit from greater choice in amenities in the area such as new restaurants and coffee shops. Since this scheme is such a success for all involved, now the good will of farmers adds to the experience of the walkers and cyclists.

According the Patrica Bevin, the rural recreation officer for the Sheep's Head way, these schemes have to come from the "bottom up and it is crucial that it starts from the community and the farmers themselves. The community needs to see the opportunity for something special themselves and only then can the walkways and cycle-ways can come from this."

This RTE's nationwide show can be found on the RTE player at the following location (time limited):