County Roscommon & Lough Ree will see major investment as part of a €70m plan to revitalise tourism within 10km corridor of the Shannon River from Limerick to Cavan, according to Denis Naughten TD.
“This major strategic plan for tourism investment on the River Shannon and adjoining towns and villages launched today is as a direct result of a commitment which I secured in the last Programme for Government to develop and promote tourism in our region,” said Denis Naughten.
The Shannon tourism masterplan to invest more than €70 million in visitor facilities in the Shannon river region by 2030 is expected to create up to 5,000 tourism related jobs over the next decade and forms a central component of attracting tourists to Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands.
“As part of the 10 year programme, which will designate Roscommon Town as one of five hubs for tourism on the River Shannon, we will see investment for the development of facilities at Rindoon, Lecarrow and Portrunny as well as accessing the islands on Lough Ree,” explained Denis Naughten.
“Other adjoining towns included in the plan are Boyle, Strokestown and Ballinasloe which will be linked into the Shannon network through greenways, blueways and rewilding plans for our bogs and wetlands.
“Existing facilities such as those at Lough Key Forest Park with its boating, motor home, cycling, walking and zip wire facilities, are to be linked to ‘service hub’ towns and villages such as Boyle and Carrick-on-Shannon.
“The plan envisages the development of a boardwalk to link Lough Key via Knockvicar and the Boyle river to Carrick-on-Shannon and another to run from Carrick-on-Shannon to Drumshanbo, linking in with Lough Allen waterpark and a visitors’ centre at the Shed Distillery
“The masterplan includes a list of more than 20 potential sources of funding including the Government’s investment in cycling and walking, community and rural development funds and community grants among others” added Denis Naughten.
A further plan will be published later in the year for the Beara Breffni walkway through East Galway, West & North Roscommon and the intention is to link the attractions of the River Shannon with those to be developed on the Beara Breffni walkway.
Editor’s Note: Outline of some of the local projects envisaged under the plan:
Lough Ree Islands
Prepare a detailed VEDP for Lough Ree and the Mid-Shannon
Consider options for visitor access to Lough Ree Islands from Lecarrow/Portrunny and Lanesborough/Ballyleague/Hodson Bay Harbours
Develop an enhanced range of cruise options, boating and guided tours from Athlone waterfront linked to onshore attractions (islands, monastic sites, etc) with visitor distribution through the wetlands and peatlands
Rewilding Plan on our bogs/wetlands
Develop a Rewilding Plan in association with the appropriate stakeholders incl. NPWS, Local Authorities, Bord na Mona, Waterways Ireland etc to designate suitable areas for habitat regeneration, rewilding and visitor access to the post production peatlands
Rindoon Visitor Centre
Consider options for an enhanced visitor experience based at Lecarrow and/or Portrunny to include access to Rindoon
Lough Key Forest Park
Support proposals for the enhancement of visitor experiences at Lough Key as contained in the Lough Key Tourism Development Plan
Consider options for green/blue connection from Lough Key through Knockvicar to Carrick-on-Shannon
Develop Greenway links from Boyle to Lough Key
Enhance blue/green linkages to/from Boyle under provisions of Boyle 2040 strategic plan
Explore the potential for a UNESCO Biosphere Designation for Lough Ree and its environs with key partners, landowners and land manager
Delivery of long distance, themed trails to venture slowly through all Discovery Zones
Revitalise Humbert Trail links to Wild Atlantic Way in Mayo
Progress the development of the Beara Breifne Way long-distance walking trail
Corlea Iron Age Trackway
Improvement of the Visitor Centre at the Corlea Iron Age Trackway