Galway is set for a significant tourism coup with the announcement of Ireland’s first cross-country cycle route.
The initiative was announced by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar today and could bring millions of revenue to the West of Ireland.
Running from Dublin to Galway, the route is based on a similar design to the highly successful Great Western Greenway in Mayo. It is the first cross-country off-road trail in Ireland and while it is designed for cyclists, it could also be used by walkers.
Minister Varadkar has instructed the National Roads Authority to look at possible routes for an off-road cycle path from Maynooth to Galway. And within Dublin, the National Transport Authority is already funding detailed design work for sections along the Royal Canal. Dedicated funding for the overall project has not been allocated.
“A national off-road cycle trail would be a first for Ireland and would be a great tourism asset. I have instructed the National Roads Authority and the National Transport Authority to start planning for the project. Ireland doesn’t have a cross-country, off-road cycle route, and this would have significant potential to be marketed internationally and attract new tourists who may want to walk or cycle across Ireland,” said Minister Varadkar.
“The off-road Coast to Coast cycleway in the UK is proving very successful, while the Camino de Santiago in Spain offers a variety of routes and stages. Cycling holidays are already hugely popular in Europe. If we can secure necessary levels of funding, I would love to see this project being completed within the next few years. It has the potential to bring in at least €15 million per annum, much of that going straight into local businesses along the route.”