Local TD Denis Naughten & Cllr Evelyn Parsons have requested that the Dublin to Galway Greenway be routed along the canal through Kellysgrove Bog, adjoining the town of Ballinasloe, before continuing from Ballinasloe to Athenry and on to Galway City.
“Plans are now underway to rehabilitate Kellysgrove Bog and both local Cllr Evelyn Parsons & I believe that this should be developed into a public park for the wider Ballinasloe area,” said Denis Naughten.
“Such a park, with the inclusion of the Greenway, would tie in with the Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands Tourism brand which is promoting the region using a number of key tourism corridors, namely the Shannon Blueway and the Beara Breffni Way.
“Kellysgrove Bog is a unique site that could be the effective crossroads of the key tourism corridors proposed in Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands and could tell the story of the active rehabilitation of our bogs and repurposing of the economic importance cut away bogs are playing in the development of tourism in the region.
“This site has the added advantage that it is very close to an exit on the M6 motorway which would allow for greater accessibility of the rehabilitation project story to the general public, as well as visitors.
“At a meeting with Cllr Evelyn Parsons and the Ballinasloe based project team for the Dublin to Galway Greenway, we were informed that five route corridors will be published at the end of the month and this will be whittled down to one corridor by July.”
Speaking after the meeting Cllr. Parsons said: “I believe the new Greenway must be routed along the canal, through Kellysgrove Bog where I am committed to the development of a public park. The need for a public park is once again evident now we are facing into an extended period of restrictions. With a population of 6,700 people constrained within the area of Ballinasloe this highlights the need for a facility such as a public park, particularly with the current closure of the track at Dunlo. I have urged Galway County Council to engage with Bord na Mona at an early stage regarding the development of a park and trails.”
Denis Naughten added: “Significantly the project team said that the final route would move around the perimeter of land holdings to avoid severance and that it intended to secure any lands it requires by voluntary agreement.
“The advantage of taking such a route through Kellysgrove Bog, and a line to the northwest of the previous route, is that this could utilise a substantial amount of State owned and publicly controlled land, which would reduce the need to acquire land from farmers.
“Such a route could, for example, incorporate places such as Ahascragh, Aughrim, Kilconnell, New Inn, Mountbellew, Newbridge, Menlough, Woodlawn, Bullaun, Attymon, Kiltullagh, Esker and many others of huge historic or tourist significance, either directly or via a spur off the greenway.
“The five corridors will be published at the end of the month and it is important that local communities and landowners let the consultants working on the project know what local areas have to offer and to also express their support for a cycleway linking Athlone to Ballinasloe to Athenry and right through to Galway City.”