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#inland – Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD, announced the opening of the Shannon Blueway: Camlin Loop today with walkers and paddlers taking to the Shannon Blueway, in Clondra, Co Longford.
The Shannon Blueway is the first of its kind in Ireland where a myriad of recreational activities have been developed and bundled together as a single or multiple visitor experience and tourism proposition. Waterways Ireland has, using the wonderful waterway assets, developed and built a canoe trail looping from Clondra through Tarmonbarry back to Clondra. Longford County Council and Longford Tourism have also developed 16km of multi-activity trail adjacent to the Royal Canal from Clondra into Longford with plans to expand those trails.
At the official opening Minister Michael Ring TD said: "I am delighted to be launching this project here in Longford today. The Shannon Blueway: Camlin Loop has the potential to have a very positive impact on jobs and the regional economy. The Mayo Greenway, which is now in its 5th year of operation, has been a success and had contributed to increased economic activity in the region. With the market for off road adventure tourism growing here in Ireland and internationally, Longford is in a prime position to benefit from this trend. The launch of the Blueway will allow local businesses to capitalise on an increase in demand for transport, equipment hire, accommodation and entertainment. I would like to commend Waterways Ireland for this initiative, which I have no doubt will have a very positive impact on the region."

The Shannon Blueway is being delivered by Waterways Ireland in partnership with the Irish Sports Council, Canoeing Ireland, Longford County Council, Longford Tourism and Fáilte Ireland.

Mark Casey, Cathoirleach of Longford County Council stated "I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate Waterways Ireland and Longford County Council on the development of the Blueway product here in Longford. This 10km Loop along the Camlin River will provide both land and water based recreational opportunities for visitors, in turn boosting our tourism numbers, whilst providing the local community with access to our County's wonderful natural infrastructure. It will also serve to stimulate the local economy by providing opportunities for service providers and new businesses. Longford Tourism is to be commended for their efforts with this inaugural Longford Blueway Festival, which has already generated significant interest and gained support from local agencies and voluntary groups. It promises to be a wonderful weekend of activities for all and the Longford Blueway itself will be a key asset to the County going forward'.

The wider Shannon Blueway of which the Camlin Loop is part, is at the heart of access to 200km of paddling area on the Shannon and Royal Canal, walking and cycling are on the canal towpath to Longford and long distance trails to the East and Dublin
Chief Executive Dawn Livingstone confirmed that partnership was the key to delivering the Shannon Blueway "Waterways Ireland has invested significantly in creating world beating facilities and services on the Shannon Navigation. Through our partnership with the National Trails Office, Canoeing Union, Longford Tourism and Longford County Council an outstanding multi-activity product has been built in the Shannon Blueway which is now being packaged by clubs and communities for their recreational activities and companies and organisations for domestic and international tourists. Partnership is key to delivering the future of the Shannon Blueway further into Longford, and indeed into Roscommon and Westmeath."

Published in Inland Waterways
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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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