The long-awaited greenway linking Clonakilty to the Technology Park outside the town is expected to be completed by May.
As part of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) road resurfacing works, a new footpath will be constructed from the Convent of Mercy as far as the entrance to Clonakilty Community Hospital and the greenway trail, for walkers and cyclists, will begin from there.
This initial 2km trail will be the first section of a longer greenway trail that is hoped will link Clonakilty to both Timoleague and Courtmacsherry in the future.
It is being seen as a welcome boost to the town’s tourism potential.
Cllr Christopher O’Sullivan has welcomed this latest update, saying he first proposed the trail five years ago at a Western Committee meeting.
‘We are finally starting to see what is recognisable as a greenway trail and Council engineers have informed me that the work on this phase of the trail will be completed by May of this year.’
‘The first 200m will run alongside the N71 until it eventually reaches the Council-owned land at Gullane. From there it will run alongside Gullane Lake as far as the Technology Park.
‘Cork County Council has also had discussions with Clonakilty Rugby Club so that the walkway can eventually run around the rugby grounds as far as the Argideen River at Kilnagross.’
He added: ‘The full trail to Courtmacsherry is still a long way off and consultation with landowners will have to happen before that progresses. But this first section will be a significant boost for Clonakilty. There will be lighting along the route to the Technology Park, so it will provide a safe walking and cycling connection for the 1,000 people working there.’
‘Our Community Bike Scheme has become a big hit with the tourists and now they have a safe and scenic route to explore. The Council has also identified at least three points along the route near Gullane Lake that will be transformed into picnic and recreation areas,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan.
He has thanked both the County Council and Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce for their work on the matter to date.
‘It all started when we began our community tree planting event five years ago. We approached the Council for some land and they kindly offered this land at Gullane. That’s what brought my attention to its potential and the Council have been behind the project 100% ever since.’
In 2017 Clonakilty Chamber of Commerce applied to the Town and Village Renewal Scheme for a €100,000 grant and Cllr O’Sullivan said the success in getting that grant was key to delivering this project.