Minister Heather Humphreys turned the first sod on the project last week Picture: Brian Duignan
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, made history twice in Tullaghan last week. Not only was she the first Minister to visit Leitrim's only stretch of coastline, but she also turned the sod for the much anticipated Access to Sea project which is starting within the next few weeks.
Visiting Tullaghan last Wednesday during her tour of the county Minister Humphreys joked that she should “make a wish” as it was her first time to visit the Leitrim coastline.
The work is being carried out by Leitrim County Council in conjunction with the local community.
Louise Collins, Tullaghan Development Association noted that “We need to raise €20,000, for this community project.” To meet this cost Tullaghan Development Association is hoping to raise €10,000 from selling sods of the route at €50 each to supporters. A further €10,000 will be raised from sport events, summer camps and outdoor markets.
“Our sods are selling well. Everyone that buys a sod will have their name on a plaque at the only public access in Leitrim,” she explained.
The fundraising has also received a welcome boost from an anonymous donor who contributed €1,000 to the project.
“We were absolutely thrilled with this fabulous gesture. We have such good community spirit in Tullaghan and are getting huge support from our surrounding areas too,” said Ms Collins.
An online page has been set up where people can buy a sod.
“Tullaghan Access to the Sea will provide a safe recreational infrastructure for the local rural community and visitors with an inclusive approach supporting a diverse range of users, including people with disabilities and older adults,” explained Ms Collins.
Local county councillor, Justin Warnock, who has campaigned for a number of years for proper public access to be provided to the sea at Tullaghan, pointed out this will have “huge implications” for the local community, “but also for North Leitrim and the wider region”.
He said it would “open up access” to the area and would also provide an important focal point for Leitrim for tourists travelling along the Wild Atlantic Way.
In a short statement Leitrim County Council said “Tullaghan Access to the Sea has the potential to be a discovery point on the Wild Atlantic Way”, something that Cllr Warnock and the local community have been seeking since the tourist route was first launched.
Although Failte Ireland has not committed to this, the matter will be revisited once the Access to the Sea works are completed.
“We need Leitrim to be included on the Wild Atlantic Way and it is very important that Tullaghan is included as a discovery point. We will be pursuing this with Failte Ireland,” said Cllr Warnock.
Eva Costello, Failte Ireland, explained that, once completed, the Tullaghan Access to the Sea will be connected to the walk at Tullan Strand.
“This is part of the Bundoran masterplan which is currently being shown to the local business community in Bundoran,” she said.
“It will connect not just two places, it will also connect the two counties,” she added.
Following the sod turning, Tullaghan Community Group presented Minister Humphreys with two seascape prints of the Leitrim coastline by local artist, Kevin Lowery.
To purchase a sod see https://etsy.me/3S45MQz. You can get more on the Tullaghan Cross Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter pages.
You can also call Tullaghan Development Association Secretary, Louise Collins on 0874190340.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.