A lot of progress has been made in the last six months and the plan is to announce the preferred route corridor for the Galway to Athlone section of the Cycleway by the end of November/ start of December 2021 as part of Public Consultation No.3.
Public consultations were held in the Shearwater Hotel in 2020 and I also hosted two public zoom webinars during lockdown with the Cycleway project team on the Green Route to Mountbellew and Athenry and Blue Route through Kilconnell and Woodlawn which had over 200 attendees. There were over 11,000 submissions across all 5 routes.
The key to this successful project is working in consensus with landowners in the areas to achieve a Cycleway which will transform our towns and villages in East Galway, it will give such a boost to communities and we know the potential for tourism from Cycleways in Dungarvan & Achill. It brings life back to these regions of the country.
The proposed Green Route No.1, along North Co. Galway would go allow cyclists to go from Athlone to Galway via Cornafulla, West of Shannonbridge, Kylemore, Lismany, Ballinasloe, Ahascragh, Caltra, Castleblakeney, Mountbellew, Monivea, Athenry and Oranmore.
A scenic route with highlights such as along the Grand Canal into Ballinasloe, Beara Breifne Trail in Killure, the recently restored Clonbrock House and Gardens along with the planned McAllister Whiskey & Gin Distillery in Ahascragh, Mountbellew Forest Trail and other beautiful landmarks.
The Blue Route or Central Route Corridor Number Three would connect Athlone to Galway via Cornafulla, West of Shannonbridge, Kylemore, Lismany, Ballinasloe, Aughrim, Kilconnell, Woodlawn, New Inn, Attymon, Athenry and Oranmore. Senator Dolan noted ‘The Blue Route also gives a fantastic experience to walkers and cyclists coming through Co. Galway via Ballinasloe and onto the historical village of Aughrim and to visit the Franciscan Abbey in Kilconnell and the magnificent Woodlawn House.
Recent opening of the 'Old Rail Trail’ in Athlone;
Ballinasloe-based Ollie Kenny, Managing Director at Kenny Ltd Construction, and his team were acknowledged for the construction of the 40km section of the Cycleway project at ‘The Old Rail Trail’ from Mullingar to Athlone bringing people through Castletown & Moate in Co. Westmeath right to the Marina in Athlone. This type of public infrastructure is a fantastic legacy for the company.
At the Whitegate Bridge launch Minister Hildegarde Naughton highlighted how this is part of the EuroVelo 2 Capitals route creating a quality traffic free cycleway route from Moscow to Galway, capital of the West. Enthusiasts can start in Russia and make their way through Belarus, Poland, Germany, The Netherlands, UK and into Ireland!