Sharon Lavin Waterways Ireland, Pat Keating, Westmeath County Council, Cllr Paul Hamilton Kildare Co Co and Barbara Heslin Longford County Council with elected members & Executive from Longford Co Co
Longford tourism received a massive boost this afternoon as Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran TD announced a significant package of funding totalling €1m for Phase 2 of the Royal Canal Greenway.
When launched it will be the longest Greenway in Ireland totalling 130km in length, connecting Maynooth in Co Kildare with Clondra in Co Longford.
The funding will be provided from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport Budget 2020 allocation for Greenways.
The Royal Canal Greenway is a dedicated off-road cycling and walking route which is currently being developed by Waterways Ireland and the four Local Authorities, Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford using the existing tow path along the Royal Canal.
The funding will be used to complete the basic infrastructure and provide a quality visitor experience to ensure the delivery of a Royal Canal Greenway that is fully functional, animated and activated to reach international trail standards.
Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran said, “I warmly welcome this funding from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport which will be used to complete and enhance this wonderful amenity for the midlands.
"This cooperation between Department, Local Authorities, Waterways Ireland and all of the groups connected with the greenway exemplifies what can be achieved and I look forward to good progress being made in realising this significant goal.
"Once completed, this greenway will connect Dublin to Longford, adding substantially to the existing network of greenways throughout the country. I have no doubt that visitors from home and abroad will enjoy this top class experience and that it will motivate those interested in cycling and walking in this beautiful countryside to come and visit and see it first hand."
The partners are delighted at the level of demand for and interest in the Royal Canal Greenway.
Sharon Lavin Head of Marketing with Waterways Ireland said, “The Royal Canal Greenway has the potential to become a world class amenity for families, communities and tourists and the funding announced today by Minister Moran will enable Waterways Ireland to work with our partners in Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford County Councils and with the communities, voluntary groups and private enterprise along the Royal Canal to realise this potential."
The 130km trail passes through the lush green landscapes of Ireland’s Ancient East towards the River Shannon in Irelands Hidden Heartlands and strongly complements these 2 brands.
The success of the Royal Canal Greenway will rely upon enterprise development and unlocking business opportunities to create new and exciting visitor experiences both along the canal and in the wider counties.
The successful partnership between Waterways Ireland and the four Local Authorities along the route – Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford – together with other key stakeholders, are working to realise these ambitions, and a possible launch date in early 2020.