Earlier this month, Ireland’s first floating boardwalk was unveiled at Acres Lake in Co Leitrim.
The 600m boardwalk – between Drumshanbo and Carrick-on-Shannon – will serve as the final leg of the Shannon Blueway, part of an expanding network of recreational trails that offer walking, kayaking, and cycling routes in lesser-known parts of the State.
The boardwalk is to provide access to Acres Lake and via the Lough Allen Canal northwards to Lough Allen and southwards to Battlebridge, Leitrim village and Carrick-on-Shannon, and farther south from there.
The Shannon Blueway encompasses more than 200km of waterborne or waterside trails, linking to the river Boyle near Carrick-on-Shannon, allowing access to Lough Key and its adventure playground, as well as the town of Boyle in Co Roscommon via Boyle Harbour.
A turn at Leitrim village gives access to the Shannon-Erne Waterway, which in turn leads to Lough Erne, the Fermanagh lakelands and Enniskillen.
Going south from Carrick-on-Shannon, the Blueway winds its way through lakes and rivers to the river Camlin and Richmond Harbour in Cloondara, Co Longford, where the Royal Canal offers access all the way to Dublin.
On opening the boardwalk, Minister for Rural Development Michael Ring said the €500,000 cost was “an excellent investment”.
“For years Leitrim and its neighbouring counties were not given the recognition they were due but the Shannon Blueway, which this boardwalk is part of, is making the region increasingly hard to ignore. This boardwalk is just another feather in the cap of this region. A combination of a beautiful natural resource, the commitment and creativity of the local community and the support of the State has helped to create this fantastic Shannon Blueway and I urge people from Ireland and beyond to visit it.
A further €1.1 million had been made to Leitrim County Council for a walkway and cycleway from Carrick-on-Shannon to Leitrim village, and from Acres Lake to the Lough Allen Hotel.