The European Sports Tourism Innovation Award was presented to the Shannon Blueway partners Leitrim Tourism & Waterways Ireland at the prestigious European Sports Tourism Summit Awards by Ireland’s 6 Nations-winning Captain Paul O’Connell and Keith Wood of W2 Consulting.
Frank Curran, CEO of Leitrim County Council stated that ‘The Blueway represents an excellent product that has been developed through collaboration between Waterways Ireland and Leitrim County Council to facilitate the development of this signature tourism offering for Co Leitrim and the region.” Mr Curran added that Leitrim County Council are delighted to be associated with this European Sports Tourism award in recognition of the development of the Blueway .
Launched in October 2014, the Shannon Blueway is the first of its kind in Ireland where a myriad of recreational activities have been developed and bundled together as a single or multiple visitor experience and tourism proposition. Waterways Ireland has, using the wonderful waterway assets, developed and built a canoe trail from Drumshanbo through Battlebridge and Leitrim Village to Carrick-on-Shannon. It has also developed a series of looped walks adjacent to the Lough Allen Canal with plans to expand those walks to Drumshanbo and Carrick-on-Shannon.
At the same time, Waterways Ireland is also developing a canoe trail from Leitrim Village along the 63km of the Shannon Erne Waterway with a walking and cycling trail also at an advanced stage of planning.
The wider Shannon Blueway of which the Drumshanbo to Carrick-on-Shannon section is part, is at the heart of access to 100km of paddling area, 6 looped walks: 3 of which are on the canal towpath, two long distance walks and three heritage trails. The Shannon Blueway will ultimately provide access to 14 towns and services with each access point and town within an hour’s paddling time.
The Shannon Blueway is being delivered by Waterways Ireland in partnership with the Irish Sports Council, Canoeing Ireland, Leitrim County Council, Leitrim Tourism and Fáilte Ireland.
Chief Executiveof Waterways Ireland, Dawn Livingstone commented“Waterways Ireland has invested significantly in creating world beating facilities and services on the Shannon Navigation and is delighted to see this initiative recognised with the European Sports Tourism Innovation Award. Through our partnership with the National Trails Office, Canoeing Ireland, Leitrim Tourism and Leitrim County Council an outstanding multi-activity product has been built in the Shannon Blueway which is now being packaged by clubs and communities for their recreational activities and companies and organisations for domestic and international tourists.
“Partnership is key to delivering the future of the Shannon Blueway further into Leitrim and into Roscommon, Longford and Cavan,” she said.