Funding for our walkways and trails could be ‘game-changer’ for tourism

August 24th, 2022 7:00 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Tragumna is to get a boost of €30,000 so it can be made more accessible. (Photo: Andrew Harris)

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TWO walkways in Bandon are set to benefit from significant government funding which could be a game-changer for walkers and hikers in the area, and a welcome boost for tourism.

Almost €80,000 in funding under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) will go into developing two walkways in the town, with €49,500 going towards examining route options and preliminary design for the Castlebernard walkway to the west of the town. The funding is  also allocating €30,000 to develop a walkway along the former West Cork Railway, also to the west.

Cork South West FF TD Christopher O’Sullivan said the announced funding is a good start on the march to enhance public spaces in the area.‘There are community groups in Bandon who are dedicated to enhancing the areas walkways, so this will come as welcome news,’ said Deputy O’Sullivan.

‘This funding is a strong start and it brings these walkway one step closer to being realised, bringing more safe, useful and beautiful public spaces to Bandon town.’

Meanwhile,  it has been confirmed that a shared footpath/ cycle path is being constructed from the roundabout at Kevin O’Leary’s garage and Billie’s Drive Thru.

This will join up with the Graham Norton Walk, which will connect it up with Bandon town centre.

Deputy O’Sullivan was told by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) officials that Cork County Council is currently undertaking a study examining an extension of the cycle/ footway – which  is currently under construction – to the Clare O’Leary walk.

Other funding announced for West Cork under the ORIS includes €30,000 for works to enhance accessibility at Tragumna beach, €28,080 to develop a 15km linear walking trails to the Mare’s Tail waterfall in Adrigole in Beara.

The Fastnet Trails are also set for a funding boost with €5,560, which will link the trails to the Sheep’s Head Way, while €30,000 is being allocated to improve access for water sports and landscaping at Fountainstown.

Meanwhile, West Cork walkways received a further funding boost last week with a number of newly announced grants being provided to community groups who manage the trails. Some of those recipients include Union Hall Walks Project (€12,200), Sheep’s Head Way Ltd (€68,600) Castlefreke Our Walks Our Woods (€5,880) and Beara Tourism & Development Association (€18,000).

Deputy O’Sullivan welcomed this funding and said the groups will be able to use the grant to maintain and improve their local trails and promote its use to visitors.

In welcoming this  funding, Cork North West Fine Gael TD Michael Creed said that the sum of almost €1m will support and improve 113 eligible trails in Cork county.

‘Trail walking is a great activity for families in Cork to enjoy the great outdoors and explore our hidden gems this summer. These trails attract visitor to small businesses in our rural towns,’ said Deputy Creed.

‘The vital work in maintaining and improving the tails is done by groups known as community trail management organisations, who are registered with Sport Ireland and work in conjunction with Cork County Council, Coillte and the Local Development Company (LDC) in maintaining their local trails.’

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