tHE INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDED TO ALLOW IRELAND TO CATCH UP WITH THE REST OF EUROPE
A national walking and cycling network consisting of:
1. Dublin to Achill cycling and walking trail along the Royal Canal from Dublin to Clondara, via minor roads to Charlestown and using disused rail track to connect to Kiltimagh and then westwards to the existing Mayo Greenway. Estimated cost is from €5m up.
2. Dublin to Tralee cycling trail along the Grand Canal to Shannon Harbour, then along minor roads to the existing West Tipperary cycle trail to Nenagh. Provide cycle lanes along the old Dublin/Limerick Road from Nenagh to Limerick, connecting to the old rail line from Limerick to Tralee (30km already completed by a local voluntary group). Estimated cost, €6m. The NRA has a plan to link Galway to Dublin by cycleway. This could be routed along the Grand Canal to Shannon Harbour as part of this route, and along the canal bank to Ballinasloe.
3. Dublin to Wexford and Rosslare cycling and walking trail along the Grand Canal branch to Athy, then following the Barrow Way through Carlow to St Mullin and then along minor roads to Rosslare Harbour. Cost is from €4m up.
4. Sligo/Mayo/Galway link utilising the old rail line from Athenry to Collooney as an off-road Greenway. Link it to Dublin/Galway route at Athenry, and through Union Wood in Sligo to link with the existing North West Trail through Donegal. Net cost €2m.
5. Boyne Valley trail along the Boyne navigation towpath to link Navan and Drogheda via Bru na Boinne and the Battle of the Boyne site, and via minor roads to link with the Royal Canal Way. Estimate is €4m.
6. Other linking trails: link the Grand and Royal Canals via old canal towpath to Kilbeggan and along the Brosna Way to Mullingar, creating a "triangle" that will allow for three-day cycling breaks from Dublin, and creating a link that will allow walking/cycling traffic from Rosslare to access the west of Ireland on an off-road route. Cost €1m.
7. Donegal and Leitrim trails -- future enhancement. The existing North-West trail in Donegal/Sligo has some issues with traffic; move it gradually off-road on to the old Donegal rail line. Link Kingfisher Trail in Fermanagh to Collooney via the old Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway.