24km walking and cycling path between Ballina and Dromineer
Public consultation has opened on a plan to create a new walking and cycling path between Ballina and Dromineer.
The proposed ‘Lough Derg Greenway’ is to be a 24km amenity that would improve accessibility to local attractions in the lakeside area. While a specific route has not yet been chosen, a study area has been identified and the vision for the greenway is a path either adjacent to or overlooking the lake. Depending on selection, the preferred route may include such sites as the Graves of the Leinstermen, the Millennium Cross, Lookout, Castlelough, Garykennedy and Youghal Quay.
It is envisaged that the Lough Derg Greenway would link in with other greenway plans, including that of the 40km Limerick-Killaloe-Scariff proposal on the opposite side of the lake, which is now at route selection stage. Ultimately, it is envisaged that the Lough Derg Greenway would form part of the proposed national cycle network, which would link it with the major towns and cities in Ireland through a dedicated network of greenways. The preferred route for the Dublin-Galway Greenway was unveiled earlier this year with Portumna among its many links.
Local representatives are encouraging people to have their say on the Lough Derg Greenway, which is a Tipperary Co Council project in partnership with Transport Infrastructure Ireland. The council has set out its vision of the greenway as a “world-class recreational experience for people of all ages and abilities that will serve the local community and attract tourism to the region.
“The greenway will be developed in accordance with the Code of Best Practice for Greenways and will seek to integrate with and enhance the region in co-operation with the communities which it passes through.”
The project will involve several stages. The first stage invites landowners and residents of the area, members of the general public and other participants to provide feedback on the study area. A concept and feasibility report will be developed and it will consider the rationale for the project, along with engineering and environmental constraints that may impact its development.
“Input from the local and general public will be a critical factor to ensure the maximum benefit of this project to the local area,” the council states in advertising the scheme.
Warmly welcoming the greenway proposal, local councilors Phyll Bugler and John Carroll appealed for widespread local engagement at all stages.
“This will be fantastic for tourism on Lough Derg and I encourage everyone to make submissions,” Cllr Bugler said. “Walking is the Number 1 tourism product and to have this way overlooking the water will be fabulous for the area.”
Cllr Bugler said there would be “pros and cons” with regard to selection of the preferred route. “We’ll see what comes of the consultation and I really hope people will get involved in that,” she said.
Cllr Carroll welcomed what he described as “very exciting recreational proposals” that would link Dromineer to Ballina via Newtown, Garrykennedy and Portroe. “This proposal will have significant recreational, social, economic and environmental benefits for the areas straddling Lough Derg , from Dromineer to Ballina, which will give a major tourism boost at local level and will result in a wider tourism benefit from the surrounding hinterland,” he said.
“This project will have the potential to open up the many unspoiled beauty spots straddling Lough Derg between Ballina and Dromineer, which will attract ever-increasing numbers of recreational users to this high amenity area, which will create significant benefits for all.”
The study area map and scheme brochure are now available for inspection on the council’s website, www.tipperarycoco.ie, and the project website at www.loughderggreenway.ie. They can also be viewed at the Civic Offices in Nenagh and Killaloe Public Library. Feedback forms may be submitted online or by post. The closing date for submissions is Monday, September 19.