By 2018, it will be possible to cycle from Dublin to Athlone almost entirely off-road
“By 2018, it will be possible to cycle from Dublin to Athlone almost entirely off-road thanks to Greenways" say Minister Ross who was speaking at the opening of the latest section of the Dublin Galway greenway.
Minister Ross was at the opening of the Garrycastle to Whitegates National Cycle Network in Athlone on Friday 7th April. The project is an extension of the 42km Mullingar to Athlone Greenway officially opened in 2015, which in turn is part of the Dublin to Galway Greenway.
The 2.2km cycleway/greenway from Garrycastle to Whitegates was completed by Westmeath County Council after it was awarded €496,187 in July, 2016 from a reallocation of National Cycle Network. The fund was reallocated from the western end of the Dublin Galway greenway which has met opposition from landowners.
Minister Ross was particularly supportive and impressed with the forward thinking approach of the Westmeath, Longford, Meath and kildare councils in looking to these new cycle-ways as an opportunity for tourism. He said that "Athlone and Westmeath are very much at the centre of things when it comes to greenways – we have the continuation of the Royal Canal Greenway from Mullingar to Ballymahon in Co Longford as well as the Old Rail Trail and we are working on completing the sections in Kildare and Meath so that by 2018 it will be possible to cycle from Dublin to Athlone almost entirely off-road."
Longford/Westmeath Independent Alliance TD, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran also attending the opening and commented on the benefit to local people of these greenways. ‘Boxer’ Moran said the new Greenway will not only benefit people living in the area but tourism in the region. “It will attract new people to visit the area. It is also providing an amenity for local people to walk and cycle on and it is also making it easier and safer for people to cycle to work and school,” Deputy Moran said.
Deputy Moran said the next stage of the Greenway includes a new cycle bridge across the Shannon at Athlone.