Minister of State for Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht and the Islands Seán Kyne, TD this week announced funding approval of €1.9 million by Fáilte Ireland for the development of tourist facilities at Connemara National Park.
This significant investment will provide more reasons for visitors to explore the region by providing a new and unique outdoor recreation experience of the cultural heritage of the Connemara National Park that complements the natural beauty of the landscape.
The funding will include the development of an additional 10.5 Km of new trails, a children’s natural play area, a visitor carpark at Mweelin and a new Lime Kiln Trail to enhance access to more areas of the National Park.
The project, when completed, will allow visitors to explore higher level walking and hiking, providing greater access to five of the Park’s mountains including BinnBhán, the highest mountain in Co Galway.
The project is part of Fáilte Ireland’s strategic partnership with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht’s National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS ) to achieve the aims of further developing quality visitor experiences at Ireland’s National Parks while conserving and protecting the natural environment for the enjoyment of future generations.
National Parks provide easily accessible places for visitors to connect with Ireland’s famed landscapes, help boost tourism and support economic opportunities in rural areas where they are situated.
The improvements to the recreational trail system in the Park will include:
— Improvements to the Ellis Wood nature trail
— Improving the sustainability of the Diamond Hill trails
— The development of an all ability trail from the main car park linking to the Ellis Wood nature trail
— Development of an all ability trail around the park’s pond area
— Development of a sensory trail
— Development of a new farm trail
Minister of State for Gaeilge, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Seán Kyne T.D. said Connemara National Park is one of our most popular National Parks and sees more than a quarter of a million visitors each year.
“It’s no wonder, with its beautiful landscape, varied habitats, indigenous herds and wonderful husbandry, guide and maintenance staff. I am delighted that through the Department’s strategic partnership with Fáilte Ireland the Park has secured €1.9 m for infrastructural development.
“Using the funding to create experiences such as “the Lime Kiln Trail”, we will provide a unique trail experience showcasing the Park’s cultural heritage. With investment in new experiences like this, we hope to give local people and visitors alike more choice while also better managing visitor numbers so that we can protect our wonderful habitats and encourage sustainable and responsible tourism.”
As part of the event, Minister Kyne also raised the Green Flag which was recently awarded to the National Park and planted an oak tree with members of Criost Linn Ability West.
Connemara National Park has had a number of employees from Críost Linn working in the National Park since 1994 and who have all made an important contribution to the Park. They are currently working on a project to replant oaks in the National Park from acorns gathered from old oak woodlands.