Up to 10,000 people celebrated the official opening today, Saturday of the Waterford Greenway, the longest off-road walking and cycling experience in Ireland. Events took place at three different locations in Waterford, and on the Greenway itself, to mark the launch of the €15 million project, which runs 46km from Waterford City to Dungarvan along the former Great Southern and Western Railway line.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the old Kilmacthomas Station House, the half way point on the trail, while family-friendly events took place at Waterford Institute of Technology’s West Campus, the Dungarvan Causeway and Kilmacthomas village.
Speaking at Kilmacthomas, Mayor of Waterford, Cllr Adam Wyse said: “The Greenway is a wonderful asset for the South East. The trail will be an invaluable tourism draw for the region, where visitors, either on foot or by bike, can take in spectacular views, from the Comeragh mountains to the Copper Coast.”
Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney TD added: “This world class amenity will provide a boost to the local economy, along with offering leisure, health, transportation and environmental benefits. A shining example for future projects of its kind across the country, the Waterford Greenway highlights Ireland’s focus on promoting sustainable tourism.”
The opening ceremony at Kilmacthomas saw a performance from a choir of over 60 primary school children, while the Naval Service Reserve also marked the occasion by setting off a series of parachute flares, visible from a distance of 10 miles.
Attendees included Fáilte Ireland's Head of Ireland's Ancient East, Jenny De Saulles and Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, Michael Starrett.
The major tourism initiative features in the Atlantic Coast Route of EuroVelo, a long-distance cycling network connecting Europe. It is also part of Fáilte Ireland’s Ancient East experience.