A major cycling and walking greenway project in the West of Ireland has been given the go-ahead!
The Western Rail Trail is a 128km greenway which runs from Athenry in Galway to Collooney in Sligo, following the route of the abandoned Western Rail Corridor which has been out of use for over four decades. This huge project will provide a safe link for cyclists and hikers along the West of Ireland, as it passes through and connects Galway, Mayo and Sligo. Completely separate from the major road networks, these designated cycle and walking lanes will meander through wide-open green areas and give a glimpse of the surrounding natural beauty. You can get a glimpse of some of that natural beauty in the video below...
The Galway section, which is about 45km long, has gathered huge local support and been the subject of many campaigns over the last few years. Now, the whole project has been included in the North West Regional Authority’s spatial and economic strategy for 2020-2032, which means that work can begin on turning this expansive rail network into cycle and walking lanes.
Galway East TD, Ciaran Cannon, has been an advocate of The Quiet Man Greenway Campaign for a long time, and is delighted with the news. He described it as "history in the making", going on to say:
"What an historic day for all of us involved in our Quiet Man Greenway Campaign. [...]With hundreds of submissions to the NWRA, we finally have an incredibly strong commitment to the development of our greenway. This is truly groundbreaking and all of our local authorities from Sligo, to Mayo, to Galway are now obliged to work collectively and collaboratively to deliver our greenway. The Quiet Man Greenway is actually named and mapped in the document. Sincere thanks to the hundreds of you who took the time to make a submission and to Brendan Quinn who co-ordinated our efforts. It’s an outcome we can all be proud of. Onwards we go."
And this news has already seen some economic benefits for the area, as The Quiet Man Bike Hire has become the first business to set up as a result of the new Greenway, with proposed pick-up and drop-off points for rental bikes all along the route. With activity and outdoor-based tourism growing every year, this safe haven for cyclists is sure to bring a lot of adventurers to the surrounding areas. We can't wait to go for a spin!
To keep up to date on news of this exciting new project, join The Quiet Man Greenway's Facebook group HERE.