Plans for Greystones to Wicklow greenway move closer to reality
Plans for a greenway from Wicklow town to Greystones are gaining momentum, including funding for a full consultancy report on coastal erosion.
A feasibility study into the proposed route will be carried out while a task force featuring all the major stakeholders will also be established.
The 'Wicklow Town Team' are behind the initiative and consist of business people living in Wicklow who have an overall objective to fuel economic activity in the town and make Wicklow a 'better place to love, work and play.'
Ciaran Lally chairs the Wicklow Greenway sub-group. Other members of the group come from towns and villages along the planned greenway route, which takes in Wicklow town, Newcastle, Kilcoole and Greystones.
Wicklow County Council has agreed to fund a full feasibility study for a proposed route, while Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin has already funded a full consultancy report on a coastal erosion plan.
'We have been working on this project for the past 18 months and things are really beginning to take shape now,' said Ciaran.
'A greenway from Wicklow to Greystones could totally help to rejuvenate the town. The Great Western Greenway in Westport has resulted in massive economic activity for all towns along the route. 450,000 people visit it on an annual basis. The Waterford Greenway is also hugely successful. The Wicklow greenway will be unique in that its 20km long, is right beside the sea and is mostly flat. We are ideally located right next to Dublin. Visitors could walk the greenway to Wicklow town, then visit the Black Castle and other attractions, or continue along the cliff walk to Wicklow Head. Hotels, cafés and restaurants could all thrive with the increased number of visitors to Wicklow town attracted by the greenway. There is also the health aspects, both mental and physical.'
Minister of State Andrew Doyle arranged a recent meeting between the Wicklow Greenway sub group and Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Brendan Griffin, which had very encouraging results.
'Andrew Doyle has been very supportive and has been of great assistance,' added Ciaran. 'Minister Griffin agreed that the coastal erosion is truly shocking, is extremely urgent and is determined to help us. He also made clear that a greenway should be planned as part of any coastal erosion project. As proof of his commitment, he has already funded a full consultancy report on a coastal erosion plan, to be managed by Irish Rail and Wicklow County Council. He also agreed to set up a task force.'
The consultancy report is currently out to tender, with consultants expected to be appointed in June. The task force will be made up of representatives from Irish Rail, Wicklow County Council, OPW, National Parks and Wildlife, Failte Ireland, Department of Transport and Wicklow Green Way Group.
Minister of State at the OPW, Minister Kevin 'Boxer' Moran has also shown an interest.
'Andrew Doyle also confirmed to us that Minister Boxer Moran is shocked by the coastal erosion and has pledged that the project gets priority. He is very supportive and has been made aware of the urgency.'
Wicklow County Council has also committed to the funding of a full feasibility study for the proposed route, with consultants due to be appointed in early June.
'This study will help set out the route. For instance there is some National Parks and Wildlife land that we can't go through. We will also need to engage with some landowners. Wicklow County Council seem very keen on the greenway and we are appreciative of their help.'
Ciaran and his team have been encouraged by the level of support received so far and he aims to make the greenway a major election issue.
'These are significant developments and the dream of a Wicklow Greenway is gathering momentum. People in Wicklow town are very annoyed by the level of erosion taking place at the Murrough. This planned greenway could really prove to be a huge boost for the town. You can only imagine how many people would flock to Wicklow on a warm, sunny weekend once the greenway is up and running,' said Ciaran.
Anyone interested in getting involved with the Wicklow Town Team, can email them at email@example.com.