53km 'Blueway' breathes new life into River Suir
The new Suir Blueway Tipperary cost €5.6m to develop and aims to boost both tourism and local amenities
Ireland's newest 'Blueway' has opened for business along the River Suir in Co Tipperary.
Running from Cahir to Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir, the Suir Blueway Tipperary includes 53km of walking, cycling and watersports trails.
It cost over €5.6m to develop, Tipperary County Council says, with highlights including the Butler Trail, Cahir's Swiss Cottage and the new whitewater Canoe Slalom Course in Clonmel, which is used as a training base for the Irish national squad.
Visitors will notice refurbished pathways and multiple new access points to the river and its paths, as well as new Blueway map boards and signage.
"This is a wonderful natural amenity, which will provide an excellent base for outdoor activity and recreation for both the local community here in Tipperary as well as visitors from all over Ireland and overseas," said John Treacy, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, who officially opened the Blueway.
Blueways are multi-activity recreational trails set on or alongside lakes, canals and rivers. Other examples incorporate hundreds of kilometres and walking and paddling around Lough Derg, the North Shannon and Shannon-Erne waterways.
As well as boosting local amenities, the idea is that Blueways can help to grow tourism, jobs and local economies by encouraging visitors to linger a little longer.
According to Waterways Ireland, almost one in five waterways users are overseas visitors, half are domestic and one in three are local visitors.
The Suir Blueway Tipperary was developed as a collaboration between Tipperary County Council, Tipperary Sports Partnership and Tipperary Tourism.
"Tourism is a substantial growth area for County Tipperary," said Councillor Michael Murphy, Leas Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council.
"We have so much to offer in terms of beautiful landscapes, fascinating cultural and historical sites and stories, and some of the best food produce in Ireland."