Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys announces €15.5 million in funding to develop 84 outdoor adventure projects
From Department of Rural and Community Development.

-Major investment in our mountain and forest walks, cliffways, beaches, bogs, lakes, rivers, greenways, blueways and bridleways
-Focus on developing adventure tourism activities such as hiking, mountaineering, kayaking, swimming and cycling
-New strand of funding to support projects at an early stage of delivery
-Funding being rolled out in partnership with Fáilte Ireland
-Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today announced €15.5 million in funding for 84 outdoor adventure projects.

The major investment, under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS), will see the development of 66 natural amenities and support outdoor pursuits such as hiking, mountaineering, kayaking, swimming and cycling.

For the first time under the scheme, funding is also being provided to progress 18 outdoor recreational projects that are at an early stage of development.

The investment – a key part of Our Rural Future – will support rural economies and make Rural Ireland a more attractive destination for adventure tourism.

The projects chosen for investment include walking and cycling trails, cliffways, beaches, lakes, rivers, bogs, greenways, blueways and bridleways.

Today’s announcement brings the total investment announced this year under the scheme this to almost €35 million.

Minister Humphreys made the announcement at the Nobber to Castletown Greenway in Nobber, Co Meath today. A further section of this Greenway from Wilkinstown to Castletown received approval of €500,000 in today’s funding announcement.

Announcing the funding today, Minister Humphreys said:

The 84 projects that we are investing in today will benefit people of all ages and abilities for generations to come. This unprecedented investment will also help further our ambition to support our rural economies and make Rural Ireland a destination of choice for adventure tourism. Outdoor pursuits have become an even bigger part of all of our lives over the past two years. Through this Fund, we are developing and enhancing the fantastic natural amenities in our rural communities so more and more people can access and enjoy them.”

Among the Measure 2 and Measure 3 projects being funded today include:

Donegal – Sliabh Liag Cliff Experience : Upgrade works on four sections of the existing mountain trail path: €269,682.

Kerry – Tralee Bay Coastal Greenway : Develop a 2.2km extension from Blennerville Village to Cockleshell Road: €500,000.

Galway – Portumna Blueway, Wayfinding Sculpture Park : Development of a new multi-use €2.4km leisure route and sculpture trail: €499,585.

Tipperary – Thurles River Suir Pathway : Provision of an off-road walking/cycling pathway along the River Suir: €210,487.

Cork – Beara Breifne Way : Extend the Beara bridle way and walking trail from Urhan to Ardgroom village and complete a loop in Teernahillane between Castletownbere and Allihies: €196,490.

Kilkenny – Woodstock Estate : Upgrade of woodland and garden trails to allow accessibility for all: €189,045.

Leitrim – Tullaghan Access to the Sea : Creation of a safe pathway access to Leitrim’s 4km coastline: €198,000.

Longford – Derrycassin Woods Enhancement : Upgrade to 6.5km of trail within the woods: €111,831.

Roscommon – Destination Ballyleague : Development of a high quality destination amenity on the River Shannon: €200,000.

Sligo – Muckelty Hill Trail Project : Development of a 1.5km trail providing safe access to summit views, heritage sites and trailhead car parking facilities: €123,750.

Wicklow: Enhancement of the Greystones to Bray Cliffwalk : €198,000.

Wexford – Enniscorthy Riverside Trail : Construction of a 600 metre loop around the Urrin River stepped bridge and the resurface of the entire trail: €200,000.

The Minister continued:

This investment will be felt in every county and is further proof of the positive impact ‘Our Rural Future’ is having across the country. I’m also really pleased to provide over €855,000 in funding to support 18 further projects that are at an earlier stage of development. These projects, when complete, will make Rural Ireland an even better place to live, work, visit and raise a family. I want to acknowledge the support of our partners, Fáilte Ireland, who are once again contributing to the funding of successful projects under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.”

Welcoming the ORIS announcement Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD said:

Fáilte Ireland has invested more than €11million to the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme over the past three years, with a further €4million this year. In partnership with the Department of Community and Rural Development this four-year investment has helped to truly transform the landscape of Ireland. From a tourism perspective the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme is ensuring our great outdoors are opened extensively and enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. The range of projects covering walking and cycling routes, water sports facilities, angling facilities, swimming and equestrian trails throughout Ireland are world-class and make Ireland a renowned destination for activity tourism which we must continually build on. A new measure this year – the Project Development Measure – will fund the detailed development of long-term projects that will enable the delivery of strategic, sustainable development of outdoor recreational facilities in the coming years. The inclusion of outdoor swimming facilities is welcome. As a nation we’ve taken to the water like never before and these new facilities will greatly assist in helping to maintain and build on this.”

Fáilte Ireland as the National Tourism Development Authority will continue to invest significantly over the coming years and intends to launch further investment schemes to deliver key strategic initiatives to support the recovery of the tourism sector. Included in this will be investment schemes linked to the outcome of regional tourism plans which are currently being developed.