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  • Writer's picturePippa Hackett

Over €300,000 for Laois & Offaly for outdoor adventure projects

Meeting Hugh Sheppard to hear about Durrow Cycle Hub

I'm delighted to welcome over €300,000 in funding from the latest Outdoor Rural Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) for outdoor projects for my constituency of Laois and Offaly.

€82,386 was allocated for outdoor projects in Offaly: This funding will cover upgrades to the Figile River Walk, the ‘ seven blessed wells’ Killeigh, the Offaly Way at Kilcormac & Lough Boora and the Slieve Bloom Way. I am delighted to see funding for Shinrone Sensory Nature Trail and Woodland Walk included in this round – Offaly has so much to offer locals and visitors in our beautiful outdoors and this funding helps to extend the walking trail network and make them safer and more accessible.

Figile River Walk, Clonbullogue, Co. Offaly

€219,712 was allocated for projects in Laois to include upgrades to existing amenities such as Ballinakill Walking Trails and South Laois Cycling Trails, Castlewood Woodland Trail and Whitehorse Trail. The funding for Laois includes the development of a new lakeside trail at Kilminchy, Portloaise which will take in the three lakes.

I am particularly excited that Durrow Cycle Hub is getting off the starting blocks with funding for a feasibility study and upgrade of existing walking routes into looped cycle trails. This is a collaborative community project that I have been proud to advocate for.

It will increase the tourism offering of an already appealing area. Well done to Hugh Sheppard, Pedal Vintage, Tidy Towns and all who got the project this far. I look forward to the development of Durrow as a Family Cycle Hub for the purpose of enhancing and further promoting, the rich culture of leisure cycling locally.

White Horse River in Mountrath, Co Laois
Minister Humphreys at the announcement said “We’re at the height of the Summer and whatever the weather I know families are getting out and enjoying Ireland’s great outdoors. The funding I’m announcing today will support the further development of our greenways, blueways and hiking trails making them even more enjoyable places for families to visit. Every county will benefit from today’s announcement so if you’re a walker, a swimmer, a cyclist or even a fisherman – check out the list to see what’s happening in your county. Getting active in the fresh air outdoors can be a tonic for the body and soul and this was brought home to us all during the pandemic. Some of these amenities are often hidden gems on our doorsteps so I’m encouraging people to get out and discover them over the rest of the Summer.”

Minister Humphreys went on to state that in the last number of years her Department has provided unprecedented investment in outdoor amenities, underpinned by an ambitious rural development policy ‘Our Rural Future’. Like Minister Humphreys, I believe that outdoor recreation tourism is a growing sector, and has the potential to have huge economic benefits for rural Ireland.


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