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Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors Launched

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, has launched Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors – an ambitious and transformational National Outdoor Recreation Strategy.

The five year strategy was launched in Castlecomer Discovery Park in Co. Kilkenny where the Ardra Loop Walk and Arboretum Walk was also officially opened by the Minister.

Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors was developed in partnership with Comhairle na Tuaithe and is a collaborative cross-government strategy that reflects the views of stakeholders and the public. The new strategy will set the stage to strengthen and support the sustainable development of the outdoor recreation sector in Ireland for years to come bringing huge economic and health benefits to communities across the country.

Launching Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors, Minister Humphreys said, “the pandemic awakened a new discovery to explore amongst the Irish public. When we were confined to our counties or we could only meet friends and family outdoors, we gained a new found appreciation for the unique amenities we have on our doorstep whether it’s our forest parks, our mountain trails, our rivers, our greenways or our stunning beaches. Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors is about building on this momentum. It is about the strategic development of Ireland’s Outdoor Recreation sector so we can deliver maximum benefits to communities across the country. Those benefits are huge. Spending time outdoors supports our mental and physical health and it improves our quality of life. There also huge economic benefits, particularly for rural communities, with over 2.7 million overseas visitors taking part in outdoor activities every year in Ireland. Through this Strategy – I believe we can make Ireland the destination of choice internationally for outdoor recreation and adventure tourism.”

Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors focuses on bringing a more joined-up and cohesive approach to the development of outdoor recreation infrastructure at both a national and county level. As part of the strategy new Outdoor Recreation Committees will be established in every County to ensure there is a focused and strategic approach to the development of local amenities.

Building on this ground-up, locally led approach, the Minister is today announcing €14 million for the development of 59 outdoor recreation amenities and to support outdoor pursuits such as hiking, mountaineering, kayaking, and cycling.

Among the projects being funded today include:

  • Clare: Cliffs of Moher North Coastal Walk – Repair and upgrade of a looped section of the Cliffs of Moher North Coastal Walk – €500,000
  • Wexford: Kilmore Quay Recreation Trail – Develop cycle path along the canal, completing a looped walking trail plus footbridge and carpark – €500,000
  • Longford: North Longford Rebel Trail – North Longford Rebel Trail Phase 2 – Monaduff to Ballinamuck – €500,000
  • Wicklow: Roundwood Recreation Area – Provision of a bike hub, bridge, signage, waymarking and promotion of Roundwood Recreation Area – €495,000
  • Donegal: Carrigart to Downings Walkway – Develop a section of walkway between Carrigart and Downings – €500,000
  • Waterford: Cappoquin Railway Bridge Loop Walk- Phase 1 – Develop Cappoquin Railway Bridge Loop Walk between Millwheel Park and Rowing Club Grounds – €500,000
  • Laois: River Erkina Community Blueway – The development of a floating pontoon and access at Castle Durrow Demesne, a foot bridge on the River Goul at its confluence with the River Erkina, carpark and access at the Woodenbridge and access steps at Boston Bridge – €191,728
  • Tipperary: Clonmel to Carrick-on-Suir Blueway – Upgrading of 20km Suir Blueway Tipperary between Clonmel & Carrick-on-Suir – €450,000
  • Roscommon: Lough Key, Doon Shore and Boyle Canal/River – Installation of accessible for all kayak/canoe easy launch systems in Lough Key, Doon Shore and Boyle Canal/River – €199,800
  • Galway: Creggs Mountain Walk – Develop Creggs Mountain Walk, an element of Beara-Breifne Way & Suck Valley Way – €200,000

Concluding Minister Humphreys thanked stakeholders and the public for their engagement in developing the Strategy, “significant stakeholder and public engagement has been at the core of the development of this Strategy. I would like to thank the members of Comhairle na Tuaithe for their tireless work in developing the Strategy. Thanks to the high level of stakeholder and public engagement Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors is a truly collaborative Strategy that will set the stage to strengthen and support the sustainable development of the outdoor recreation sector in Ireland for years to come.”

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