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New boardwalk will attract more visitors and "make a significant difference" to the area

Completion of 14km off-road waterside Blueway trail

Observer Staff

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New boardwalk will attract more visitors and "make a significant difference" to the area

Officials pictured at the opening of the Shannon Blueway at Acres Lake, Drumshanbo last Tuesday,. September 5.

The Minister for the Department of Rural and Community Development, Minister Ring TD, has launched the iconic Shannon Blueway Boardwalk in Drumshanbo completing a 14km off-road, waterside Blueway trail, linking Drumshanbo and Leitrim Village.

The €500,000 support from the Department's Rural Recreation Fund enabled the Shannon Blueway to be extended from its terminus at Drumhauver Bridge along an attractive new walkway 600 metres long in total.

The walkway has been constructed partly on land, with a significant section, 160metres long, floating over the water of Acres Lake.

The project involved the procurement and installation of the floating walkway, the construction of a new path linking the walkway to the services at Acres Lake, increased and improved parking provision, and a new viewing point and fishing stand.

Carried out by Waterways Ireland staff the work has been completed to a very high standard.

In the presence of Waterways Ireland Chief Executive, Dawn Livingstone and Leitrim County Council, Chief Executive Frank Curran, elected representatives and invited guests, Minister Ring said, “This project represents exactly what my Department is about: supporting locally led initiatives to create jobs and infrastructure.

“This boardwalk over Acres Lake will further enhance the already excellent Shannon Blueway and help attract more visitors to this area from Ireland and abroad.

“This in turn will help support local people to live and work in their community. In this respect it represents an extremely sensible and worthwhile investment in this region by the Government.

“The Shannon Greenway has been modelled on the Great Western Greenway in Mayo. As someone who has been involved in the Greenway from the start, I am proud and delighted to see the Shannon Blueway flourish.”

The Shannon Blueway has already received two awards and brought an additional 80,000 visitors to the area annually. Eight new businesses have already established.

This innovative new boardwalk which links Drumshanbo via this off-road route with Leitrim Village is hugely significant in extending the recreational provision and tourism experience and should lead to increased visitor numbers and recreational use.

Waterways Ireland, Chief Executive Dawn Livingstone said "we are indebted to Minister Ring and his officials for recognising the potential of the Shannon Blueway to create significant change in the recreational provision and tourism experience in rural Leitrim, Roscommon, Cavan and Longford.

“Drumshanbo now has the opportunity to attract some of the 80,000 extra people visiting the Shannon Blueway annually making a significant difference to the town.

“I would like to commend the work of my staff, led by Regional Manager Éanna Rowe. I would also like to recognise the support of local landowners and the wider community and partnership of Leitrim County Council in this achievement.”

The recent announcement of €1.1m of funding to Leitrim County Council will see the delivery of a new walkway and cycle way from Carrick-on-Shannon to Leitrim Village and from Acres Lake to the Lough Allen Hotel.

The Blueway network will then exceed 200km of quality multi-leisure activity trails across Leitrim, Roscommon, Longford and Cavan, both on and off water, offering a wider and deeper experience of the region through associated activities and attractions.

In conjunction with the accommodation and hospitality sector in the wider geographical area, activity providers are developing interesting and exciting packages for families and friends to experience.

Find them on www.bluewaysireland.org