Great Eastern Greenway will include North Louth
NORTH Louth is set to feature in the new Great Eastern Greenway being created from Dundalk through to Northern Ireland, the Argus has learned.
The attraction was unveiled at the Cross Border Tourism conference in the Ballymascanlon Hotel last week, where hundreds of people gathered to hear how cycling and walking destinations can provide a huge boost to the local economy.
Launching the conference, Minister of State for Sport, Michael Ring, said the government was fully committed to the development of greenways as a tourism product.
He said that tourism was a vital source of employment in Ireland, and the work undertaken locally to promote this area would go a long way towards creating jobs.
The Minister added that the development of activity based tourism facilities were also beneficial in improving the health of the nation, as well as encouraging visitors to the area.
Catherine Duff, Dundalk Town Engineer, pointed out that the west of Ireland and south west have among the best walking and cycling trails in the country.
'So we need to do something about that up here in the north east,' said Ms. Duff.
She explained the ongoing works to develop the Great Eastern Greenway, a cycling, walking and running path, stretching all the way from Dundalk, through Carlingford and Omeath and northwards to Newry, was set to come to fruition in the coming weeks.
In total, the greenway is a 42 kilometre stretch before it hits the border and links in with then already existing cycleway between Newry and Portadown.
The conference heard that inspiration was drawn from the west where an old railway line provided the route.
'The western greenway runs along a disused railway line, and has gone on to become a major success,' said Ms. Duff.
The new Great Eastern Greenway follows a similar path, using the old Greenore to Newry railway line as a route.
The Town Engineer explained that work is currently underway on the Carlingford to Omeath section of the greenway.
'We are hoping to have this stretch open in the next few weeks,' said Ms. Duff.
Gary Breen, head of operations at Failte Ireland, who was acting as chair of the conference, welcomed the development.
He added: 'The question can we develop a walking and cycling route in Louth is already on its way to being answered.'