Proposals for a new blueway along the River Barrow have been blocked by planners who objected to the scheme for a hard surface along the 115km of towpath.
Earlier this month, An Bord Pleanála rejected plans long in the offing for the Barrow Blueway, a new cycling and walking path between Lowtown in Co Kildare and St Mullins in Co Carlow.
Hundreds of Barrow locals had their say at public meetings, with campaigners against the path plans — among them broadcaster Olivia O’Leary — citing the existing grassy surface as more than suitable for walkers.
Others saw the blueway as “a fantastic opportunity” to save business such as pubs which have been closing at a rapid rate in rural areas, and raised the question of boggy or overgrown stretches that are a deterrent to visitors.
But others still argue that with proper maintenance and a weight of a promotional campaign behind it, the existing path would prove a major tourism attraction both domestically and abroad.
“I have people coming from the States, Canada, Australia, Europe, UK and they are just flabbergasted at how incredibly gorgeous it is, and they can’t believe there is nobody on it,” said local canoe tour operator Charlie Horan.
Those sentiments are shared by environmental journalist Lenny Antonelli, who tweeted that the Barrow is “already walkable, paddle-able and often cycle-able too.
It's already walkable, paddle-able and often cycle-able too. The #Barrow doesn't need a greenway, but it does need better marketing & promotion, particularly within Ireland, and better facilitates for visitors. Imagine if all its derelict lock cottages became bothies for example?— lenny antonelli (@lennyantonelli) April 29, 2019
“The Barrow doesn't need a greenway, but it does need better marketing and promotion, particularly within Ireland, and better facilitates for visitors. Imagine if all its derelict lock cottages became bothies for example?”
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.