Offaly’s Grand Canal Greenway will have ‘transformative effect’ on the local economy


Think about travelling in your bicycle or strolling alongside virtually 100kms of peaceable greenway via the unspoiled Offaly countryside – amongst greenery and wildlife alongside the banks of the historic Grand Canal.

This game-changing native amenity and vacationer attraction will quickly change into a actuality and hopes are excessive the Offaly Grand Canal Greenway may have a transformative impact on the native economic system in among the most rural components of the county.

Already receiving rave opinions on Tripadvisor, when totally full the Grand Canal Greenway will hyperlink with comparable initiatives in Kilbeggan and Mullingar to the east and North Tipperary and Galway to the west – creating an unbelievable community of secure routes for individuals embracing the brand new phenomenon that has remodeled the world of recreation and tourism.

Anybody who has not too long ago visited Westport and Newport in County Mayo, or travelled alongside the southern sections of the Wild Atlantic Manner route in Clare, Kerry and Cork may have seen the dramatic impact that greenways can have on the native economic system and vacationer numbers.

It’s hoped Offaly’s Grand Canal Greenway can replicate this success and the members of Birr Municipal Council obtained an replace from Space Engineer, Willie Ryan at their month-to-month assembly final week in regards to the undertaking’s progress; which he mentioned is already having a constructive impression on small companies within the villages dotted alongside the route.

Mr Ryan mentioned the part of greenway between Belmont and Ferbane boasts notably lovely surroundings and mentioned there are “nice alternatives for the event of native companies and economies” on this area.

Presently it stretches for 94.3kms, with 57kms off-road and on routes dedicated to solely pedestrians and cyclists and 20.2kms on shared roads – with plans to extend the off-road greenway solely segments to 75.7kms and scale back the shared sections to 17.5kms.

€7-million has been spent on the undertaking thus far and has seen collaboration between Offaly County Council’s planning and roads departments and the Waterways Eire steering group for the scheme’s supply.

This route’s success has been achieved with the help of a number of landowners and shareholders, who noticed the potential profit to the realm, Mr Ryan mentioned. The route additionally hyperlinks into Lough Boora and is attracting vacationers to remain within the space and go to areas normally past the attain of most guests throughout a brief keep.

The plans intention to construct a robust model for the scheme, with its personal eye-catching signage and identification and enhances the present robust vacationer product within the larger cities like Birr and Tullamore. 

The members thanked Mr Ryan for his informative replace and offered enter with suggestions to increase a hyperlink between Birr and Lusmagh and to encourage lodging suppliers to embrace the scheme’s potential. Capitalising on attracting guests to remain within the space for greater than only a quick go to is important, the members agreed.

Cllr. John Clendennen mentioned a possibility exists to sometime hyperlink the path to the Slieve Bloom Mountains and the favored mountain biking trails, with additional potential for creating signal assisted looped routes to draw the very devoted street biking neighborhood. 

Cllr. John Leahy mentioned the undertaking, which as soon as appeared aspirational, is now connecting communities and creating alternatives for a cottage trade to develop alongside it, whereas Cllr. Peter Ormond mentioned he hopes to see main funding in selling the Grand Canal Greenway and its alternatives to individuals within the space.

“It’s a improbable piece of infrastructure to have in our county”, Cllr. Ormond mentioned.

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