Funding awarded to bike and walking trail along scenic drive
A NEW cycling and walking trail through Connemara has been awarded funding as part of the development of the Wild Atlantic Way tourist route.
The greenway route will mainly run along a disused railway line from Oughterard to Clifden, and it is hoped it will match the success of the Mayo greenway route which attracted more than 200,000 visitors last year.
Junior Tourism Minister Michael Ring announced funding of €403,000 for the cycleway as part of a €1.4m allocation for three attractions on the Wild Atlantic Way driving route, which stretches 2,500km from Donegal to Cork.
The cycleway will stretch for 52km partly along the disused Connemara railway line, with plans to eventually continue it all the way to Galway, with additional funding coming from local community groups and Galway county council. It will be modelled on the Mayo greenway route from Westport to Achill, which is worth an estimated €7m a year to the local economy.
Mr Ring said that the Wild Atlantic Way – which was launched last month with the rollout of thousands of signs – was a "game-changer for the west".
Failte Ireland chief executive Shaun Quinn said the route will significantly benefit the counties it crosses.