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Displaying items by tag: Blueway

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.

But as The Irish Times reports, many locals and users of the waterway believe what the Barrow and the communities along its reach really need are better promotion.

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.

“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.

Published in Aquatic Tourism

#InlandWaters - The proposed Blueway route between Toome and Coleraine along the Lower Bann corridor as moved a step closer to fruition as work was recently completed on Phase One of the project at Glenone.

In the joint venture between Mid Ulster District Council and Waterways Ireland, supported by Angling NI, Honourable Irish Society, National Coarse Fishing Federation of Ireland and local landowner William Chesney, a new multi-use public path along the riverbank was developed.

This accesses an additional 25 coarse angling stands installed as part of the phased works that complement the existing 89 angling stands and associated facilities already at the site, known locally as Molloy’s Ford.​

The work, delivered by Mid Ulster District Council, completed by IL Contracting and project managed by Robinsons & Sons, Ballymoney, was made possible by funding from Waterways Ireland and is part of a proposal to develop a Blueway route from the town of Portglenone to Newferry West, a length of approximately 7km.

Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Sean McPeake, welcomed the development, saying: “The council recognises the importance of sensitively and appropriately maximising the potential of our natural attractions, such as the Lower Bann flowing through our district, and this project is an example where building collaborative partnerships has resulted in an improved river corridor that will generate and sustain a vibrant and healthy community and economy.

“As well as providing recreational walking, cycling, running and angling opportunities to local people, the site will see international visitors in June when it hosts the 2019 FIPSed 25th European Coarse Angling Championship.”

Waterways Ireland’s Stephen Douglas said of this first phase: “It has brought together a wide range of stakeholder partners in delivering what is the first phase of establishing a Blueway path between Portglenone and Newferry and provision of infrastructure to host the 2019 European Coarse Angling Championship. Our vision is to develop Blueway infrastructure, where possible, along the full length of the Lower Bann River.

“To this end we hope to continue working with our partner organisations to develop the product, gain statutory approvals and pursue funding. Blueways developed to date along our navigations have proven to engage local communities and visitors alike and have contributed significantly in economic and social regeneration of towns and communities along our waterways”.

Blueways are a network of multi-activity recreational trails, based on or alongside idyllic inland waterways, which provide scenic routes into the heart of the countryside traversed by canoe, bike or on foot. Their value lies not only in the recreational opportunities that they offer residents and visitors, but also in their potential to stimulate local businesses and regenerate local areas.

For more information on the project, see www.midulstercouncil.org

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - That new Enniskillen Blueway water activity zone located beside Erneside footbridge will be opening soon.

A range of family-friendly water activities including canoeing, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding will be offered at the zone developed by Waterways Ireland with the support of Fermanagh & Omagh District Council, Fermanagh Lakeland Tourism and Enniskillen BID.

If you would prefer to captain your own boat and enjoy a leisurely experience around Ireland’s only island town, you might be more interested in one of the ‘wee red boats’ from Erne Boat Hire.

There is also a new heritage boat tour taking in the monastic and heritage sites around Enniskillen including Devenish Island, and the Erne Water Taxi for a more exhilarating blast around Lough Erne.

Waterways Irelad hopes the new water activity zone will play a role in encouraging young people to access the water, engage in water sports and make a connection with Lough Erne.

The activity zone also forms part of ongoing blueway developments on Lough Erne, the first of which will be a canoeing trail from Bellanaleck to Troy, taking in Enniskillen town and the new activity zone.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - Tourism and activity providers along with local communities along the route are invited to attend a series of workshops aimed at developing the Royal Canal as an attraction for domestic tourism and visitors from abroad.

Coming ahead of next year’s launch of the Royal Canal Greenway, the capacity-building workshops will help project partners engage with local trades, businesses and others to showcase the proposed plans in developing the Royal Canal as a destination.

The long-awaited Blueway and Greenway trails on and along the 144km of canal and towpath from Dublin to Longford will be the focus of the workshops, the first of which will be held next week in Mullingar on Thursday 24 May from 6.30pm at the Mullingar Park Hotel.

Dates and venues for subsequent workshops in Longford town, Maynooth and Dublin are to be confirmed. All are hosted by Waterways Ireland with the respective local authorities.

Once complete, the Royal Canal Greenway will be the longest off-road walking and cycling trail on the island of Ireland.

Accompanying this will be a series of Blueway developments, the first being located in Mullingar where a 22km paddling trail and activity hub will be established.

The workshops will encourage the development of activity based packages, dining and accommodation packages and promotional materials which will activate the region and place the product in the ‘shop window’ for both the domestic and international tourist.

The Royal Canal is also at the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East and Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, two tourism initiatives developed by Fáilte Ireland.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaters - ​The newly opened Enniskillen Blueway Activity Hub offers a range of activities from guided canoeing and kayaking tours to electric bike hire, day boat hire and water taxi tours.​​

Developed by Waterways Ireland with the Enniskillen Business District and based at its offices on Sligo Road along the River Erne, the new hub makes Fermanagh’s county town the perfect base to explore Lough Erne and the wider Lakelands region.​

Full details, maps and pricing are available at www.bluewaysireland.org

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

Minister Heather Humphreys T.D., in conjunction with broadcaster & fitness expert Karl Henry, Waterways Ireland Chief Executive Dawn Livingstone and Cavan County Council Cathoirleach Paddy Smith has launched the Shannon-Erne Blueway in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan. The Shannon-Erne Blueway adds significantly to the network of Blueway trails that Waterways Ireland has developed along the navigations.

The Shannon–Erne Blueway runs from Leitrim Village to Belturbet and includes 70km of water trail and over 17km of linear and looped walking and cycling routes. The Shannon-Erne Blueway provides a range of recreational leisure activities such as paddling, walking and cycling all linked by the waterways to local towns and villages.

Minister Humphreys stated “This is a wonderful amenity which is a great addition to Cavan and Leitrim’s tourism offering. The development of Blueways across the country is an important element of the Government’s tourism strategy. Towns and villages along the Shannon-Erne route will now be able to capitalise on the increased level of visitors who will come to the region to use the Blueway for a range of recreation activities. More visitors will bring more revenue for local businesses and should boost local job creation. I would like to commend Waterways Ireland, the local authorities and the tourism agencies which have collaborated to bring this project to fruition.”

The Shannon-Erne Blueway has the potential to have a very positive impact on jobs and the regional economy. The Mayo Greenway, which is now in its 6th year of operation, has seen a jump in visitor numbers from 80,000 in 2011 to 300,000 in 2014. That means an extra €5 million was brought into the region. With the market for off road adventure tourism is growing here in Ireland and internationally, Cavan and Leitrim are 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.

Paddy Smith, Cathoirleach Cavan County Council said ' I’m very proud to be here today in Ballyconnell to launch the new Shannon – Erne Blueway . Cavan is blessed with a network of scenic waterways which can rival any in the country. We are delighted to link in with Waterways Ireland and Leitrim County Council to develop and promote the new Blueway linking the Shannon and Erne Rivers. The opportunities for recreational activities along the Blueway are many and we’re confident that visitors will want to experience all that it has to offer’

The Shannon Erne Blueway is a new concept 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, also developed and built a paddling trail from Drumshanbo through Battlebridge and Leitrim Village to Carrick on Shannon.

The Shannon-Erne Blueway is being delivered by Waterways Ireland in partnership of the Cavan County Council, 'This is Cavan', Canoeing Ireland, Leitrim County Council, Leitrim Tourism and Fáilte Ireland.

Chief Executive Dawn Livingstone confirmed that partnership was the key to delivering the Shannon Blueway "Waterways Ireland provides world beating facilities and services on the Shannon Navigation and Shannon-Erne Waterway. Through our partnership with the National Trails Office, Canoeing Ireland, Cavan County Council, 'This is Cavan', Leitrim Tourism and Leitrim County Council an outstanding multi-activity product has been built in the Shannon-Erne and Shannon Blueways 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 Roscommon, Longford and on down the Shannon as well as north onto Lough Erne."

The Shannon Erne Blueway is at the heart of 200km of paddling area, looped and linear walks.

Published in Inland Waterways

#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
Tagged under

#barrowblueway – Waterways Ireland in partnership with Carlow, Kilkenny, Kildare and Laois County Councils and LEADER Companies is proposing to develop a Barrow Blueway, a 112km long shared-use trail for local people and visitors to enjoy along the route of the Barrow Way-Marked Way.

Following on from a number of studies and reports commissioned by various authorities including Waterways Ireland, the Local Authorities, LEADER Partnership Companies and Fáilte Ireland a series of interventions and programmes have been agreed and are being implemented by the agencies both collectively and individually. One such initiative is the Barrow Blueway.

The Barrow River and Barrow Line of the Grand Canal are waterway corridors of National and International importance and spectacular recreation and leisure amenities. Both the river and canal support a myriad of sustainable activities and sustain a rich and diverse built and natural heritage. It is the intention of Waterways Ireland to develop the existing trackway along the Barrow Line of the Grand Canal and Barrow River as a 112km Blueway. The Blueway would support a myriad of recreation activities, help grow and develop business along the length of the Barrow Blueway. The proposal entails the upgrading of the existing trackway to allow a multi use shared leisure route connecting Lowtown in Co. Kildare to St. Mullins in Co. Carlow, travelling through Lowtown, Rathangan, Monasterevin, Athy, Carlow, Leighlinbridge, Bagenalstown, Goresbridge, Graiguenamanagh and St Mullins.

Éanna Rowe, Head of Marketing & Communications, Waterways Ireland confirmed "Waterways Ireland is delighted to have progressed the Barrow Blueway proposal to the point where we now have meaningful information to share. We look forward to the Public Information Evenings where local businesses, activity providers, clubs, associations and all interested parties can come and view the proposals, examine design options and engage with our staff. We welcome all feedback and indeed will consider it as plans are finalised for this exciting new recreation and tourism initiative. "

The project is currently at design stage with tailored surface finishes to be employed to ensure a durable and fit for purpose trail in accordance with National Trails Office Guidance. This surfacing will not only improve accessibility but provide a more robust surface that will be able to better withstand footfall and traffic. Whilst it is proposed to employ a compacted stone and dust surface, a reinforced grass solution may be used in sensitive locations as guided by environmental requirements to preserve the grassy surface so valued by many people.
Carlow County Council Spokesman stated " In the context of progressing the economic and social development of the county, Carlow County Council is open to exploring and considering all recreational and tourism products, which may have a positive impact for the county, region and country, being mindful of the importance of its obligation to protect and enhance the environment and quality of life for all who live in, work in or visit the county".

Environmental studies have been commissioned including an Appropriate Assessment, given the route is partly within an SAC, and an Environmental Impact Assessment. These reports will be informed by detailed ecological assessments commissioned by Waterways Ireland ensuring the design of the Blueway is led by the baseline ecology present along the corridor.

Kilkenny Director of Services John Mc Cormack stated "Kilkenny County Council is supportive of this initiative which will maximise the tourism and recreational potential of the River Barrow for the benefit of the local economies of Graiguenamanagh, Goresbridge and the South East region in general."

The Blueway brand which Waterways Ireland has developed in conjunction with the National Trails Office, Fáilte Ireland and Canoeing Ireland, will also be used to promote internationally, the special journeys which take place either on foot, bicycle or boat on shared use trails along Ireland's Inland Waterways. Walking, cycling and canoeing activities have been shown to be highly sustainable as people engage in low group numbers, all year round and require services and facilities similar to those readily available in the towns and villages along the Barrow Valley. The Barrow Blueway is ideally suited to belong to this brand and well- placed to add to the economic and social sustainability of its towns and villages.

Before progressing the project further, Waterways Ireland would like to invite interested parties from local communities, activity providers, accommodation and food establishments to view the designs, proposed route and take the opportunity to meet and speak to Waterways Ireland personnel and give feedback on the project.

join at the following locations
Carlow: 20th November 2-7pm in the Seven Oaks Hotel, Carlow
Killkenny: 21st November 2-7pm in the Scout Hall, Graiguenamanagh
Laois: 27th November 2-7pm in the Vicarstown Inn, Vicarstown
Kildare: 4th December 2-7pm in the Community Library, Athy.

If unable to come to any of the meetings, view the information online here and submit your feedback online.

Waterways Ireland is happy to receive feedback up until the 5th January 2015. At that point all the feedback submitted will be reviewed, appropriate amendments made and an application for planning permission submitted.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under
12th October 2014

Walking the Shannon Blueway

#shannonblueway – Leitrim, Roscommon and Cavan have many kilometres of walking trails, looped, linear, long and short distance, all linked by one thing – the waterways. There are over 100km of water trails radiating from Carrick-on-Shannon which link these existing walking trails and to which Waterways Ireland has added National Loop Walking Trails along the Lough Allen Canal in partnership with Failte Ireland and Leitrim County Council.

There are three loops between Battlebridge and Drumhauver;

Battlebridge Drumleague loop 5km
Battlebridge Drumhauver loop 9km
Drumleague Drumhauver loop 4km

The Blueway builds on the huge potential provided by the existing waterway infrastructure. The potential is enhanced by the geography of the area offering hugely attractive rural towns and villages, such as Drumshanbo, Leitrim Village, Carrick-on-Shannon, Dromod and many others, closely located along the waterway that provide natural achievable looped trails, three heritage trails and access to the long distance routes of the Miners Way and the Leitrim Way. They are immensely attractive for short duration activity breaks.

The Blueway will enhance the choice available for visitor experience with the option of coming for an extended period to cruise the waterway or coming for a half day canoeing, cycling or walking break or any combination of activities. The new Shannon Blueway will offer a wide range of affordable pursuits in a safe family friendly environment.

The existing providers of commercial and recreation services in the region already recognise the significant opportunity the Shannon Blueway presents. Three new providers have opened in recent months.

Published in Inland Waterways
Tagged under

#blueway – Minister Heather Humphreys TD, and actor & producer Carrie Crowley joined with over 300 walkers and paddlers to open the Shannon Blueway today in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Shannon Blueway runs from Drumshanbo through Battlebridge and Leitrim Village to Carrick on Shannon. It includes 16.5km of water trail and over 10km of walking routes in three loops. The Shannon Blueway provides a range of recreational leisure activities such as walking, cycling, canoeing, fishing and cruising all linked by the waterways to local towns and villages.
Minister Heather Humphrey's stated "I am delighted to be launching this project here in Leitrim today. The Shannon Blueway has the potential to have a very positive impact on jobs and the regional economy. The Mayo Greenway, which is now in its 4th year of operation, has seen a jump in visitor numbers from 80,000 in 2011 to 300,000 in 2014. That means an extra €5 million was brought into the region. With the market for off road adventure tourism is growing here in Ireland and internationally, Leitrim is in a prime position to benefit from this trend.
The launch of the Blueway will allow local businesses can 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 position impact on the region."
Carrie Crowley said "as a self-confessed blow-in to the area, the Shannon, the wonderful countryside and Leitrim people have provided me with a tranquil and inspirational place to work and home away from home .The only problem is, now our secret is out!"
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 from Drumshanbo through Battlebridge and Leitrim Village to Carrick on Shannon. It has also developed a series of looped walks adjacent to the Lough Allen Canal with plans to expand those walks to Drumshanbo and Carrick on Shannon. At the same time Waterways Ireland is also developing a canoe trail from Leitrim Village along the 63km of the Shannon Erne Waterway with a walking and cycling trail also at an advanced stage of planning.
The Shannon Blueway is being delivered by Waterways Ireland in partnership of the National Trails Office, Canoeing Ireland, Leitrim County Council, Leitrim Tourism and Fáilte Ireland.

shannon_blueway_leitrim3.jpg

Minister Heather Humphreys TD, and WI Chief Executive Dawn Livingstone 

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 Ireland, Leitrim Tourism and Leitrim 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 Leitrim, and indeed into Roscommon, Longford and Cavan."
The wider Shannon Blueway of which the Drumshanbo to Carrick on Shannon section is part, is at the heart of access to 100km of paddling area, 6 looped walks: 3 of which are on the canal towpath, two long distance walks and three heritage trails. The Shannon Blueway will ultimately provide access to 14 towns and services with each access point and town within an hours' paddling time.

shannon_blueway_leitrim2.jpg

300 paddlers joined the ShannonBlueway launch

Waterways Ireland and Leitrim Co Co will shortly be examining the possibility of providing a connection from the jetties at Acres Lake to the canal towpaths and also to complete the walking/cycling connection to Carrick-on-Shannon, and up the Shannon-Erne Waterway.

Published in Inland Waterways
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