On Monday, Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring announced he has allocated €984,000 under the Outdoor Recreational Infrastructure Programme to develop phase one of the Clew Bay Trail in Mayo. The funding will be used to build 8km of walking and cycling trails at Louisburgh, Old Head, Murrisk and Bertra.
The phase one works approved are part of a more extensive trail proposed for the southern side of Clew Bay which will eventually connect Louisburgh to the Great Western Greenway at Westport town, a development which has the potential to be one of the most iconic attractions along the Wild Atlantic Way and one of the most scenic Greenway trails in the world.
Minister Ring said: “I am delighted to announce this important funding which will start the process of extending the Great Western Greenway to Louisburgh. The Greenway has been a game changer for tourism in rural areas of west Mayo, attracting over 265,000 visitors each year, and has provided a platform for new tourism businesses and the regeneration of towns such as Newport, Mulranny and Achill Sound.
“As Minister for Rural and Community Development, my remit is to ensure that this Government supports rural life and livelihoods. This funding will do exactly that. It will help ensure that more people can earn a decent living in their own communities and not have to look further afield for work. I am keen to develop a greenway of greater scale, to attract international walkers and cyclists and support new tourism businesses in Murrisk, Lecanvey and Louisburgh.”
Work on the Clew Bay Trail is expected to be undertaken over the coming months and completed by June 2018 in time for the busy tourism season.
Minister Ring continued “The funding for the Clew Bay Trail follows on from a number of funding measures allocated to Louisburgh over the last number of years, in particular €814,000 for the new Bunowen Bridge, refurbishment works and new extension to Sancta Maria College, €95,000 under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme, €105,000 towards Louisburgh GAA sporting facilities, the funding given to Louisburgh Childcare, and funding of €55,000 given to Louisburgh Order of Malta Ambulance Corps.”