The Heritage Group in association with the Dromahair Development Association is leading a unique project aiming to create a looped walk through the picturesque surrounds of Dromahair and its wider environs.
In collaboration with the working group of the disused Sligo, Leitrim and Northern Counties Railway (SLNCR), this project will create a looped walk using approximately 1.2km of the former railway line and about 5km of quiet country roads.
Passing by the historical Creevelea Abbey, crossing the River Bonet, following up the main street of Dromahair and finishing at the old station, this recreational amenity will help to transform the lives of the local community in a physical, emotional and economically sustainable way.
The SLNCR group were seeking a local community to develop a demonstration stretch. A local Heritage Group met and discussed various possibilities and ways of achieving a vision for the north Leitrim village of Dromahair.
Initial steps in the development of this unique walkway began with the involvement of various interested stakeholders and preparations to draw up a phased project plan.
In June 1015 work began on researching the loop including noting documented archaeological features, ecology of the corridor etc.
The group behind the project are hoping to meet with locals who used to travel by train and record their stories and memories and are also planning to produce a creative map of the walk in both English and Irish.
As part of the development of the walk it is planned to install signage of local place names on ‘milestones’.
The project has already had a trial run with the first guided tours in English and Irish undertaken as part of Heritage week, 22-30 August 2015, providing excellent feedback on the potential of the walkway development.
Plans are also underway to organise a photographic exhibition of old images of the iconic features of the village including the Abbey Hotel.
The development of the project will also have numerous benefits to the local community, offering infrastructure to support the physical and social health of the community and giving walkers, cyclists and joggers a safe environment in which to exercise.
As part of the project local place names will also be documented in their historical form, as Gaeilge, before they are lost to history and the walk will help to raise awareness of the historical importance of the area, the uniqueness of the character of the village and areas of cultural heritage and unique ecology.
Through their collaboration with the SLNCR working group those behind this development hope to help create a multi-use recreational asset which will ultimately cross four counties.
When complete the project will also provide an invaluable educational resource highlighting the unique history and significance or the local area.
It is hoped that the project will attract many other local community activists and associations during its development, generating community spirit, involvement and pride for generations to come.