New trails planned as Ireland pledges €16m for 69 outdoors projects

Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher coastal walk in County Clare will receive €500,000 in funding. Photo: Tanja/Pixabay

Ireland’s Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has announced a €16.1m investment in outdoor recreation projects across the country.

New walking trails will be established, along with projects that will support outdoor sports such as kayaking, paddle-boarding, swimming and other water-based activities.

Humphreys said: “Our beautiful outdoors have never been more available to us than today. With the summer months upon us, now is the time to enjoy the wonderful amenities right on our doorstep.”

Among the projects being funded are:

Belmullet Tidal Pool, Co. Mayo: €295,974

Boyne Valley to Lakelands Greenway Enhancement, Co. Meath: €200,000

Ardmore Beach Walkway, Co. Waterford: €500,000

Durrus Coastal Walkway, Co. Cork: €200,000

Lough Boora Discovery Park, Co. Offaly: €500,000

Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk, Co. Clare: €500,000

Other projects are:

Kilrush Wood River Walk & Cycleway, Co. Clare: €165,420

MacManus Estate, Rossylongon, Co. Donegal: €200,000

Ballyseedy Wood Amenity Trail, Co. Kerry: €200,000

Castlecomer Discovery Park Bike Trail – Co. Kilkenny: €500,000

The Ryder Cup Way – Co. Limerick: €399,983

Donamon Outdoor Recreation Area Development – Co. Roscommon: €500,000

The investment is part of the national outdoor recreation strategy ‘Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors.’

Humphreys said: “This investment from my department brings the overall allocation under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) to over €129 million since the Scheme was first launched in 2016.

“It is testament to the positive impact ‘Our Rural Future’ continues to have on communities all over Ireland and Government’s commitment to that policy. The times of lock downs are thankfully behind us, but those times gave us all an appreciation of what our stunning outdoors had to offer us for our mental and physical wellbeing.

“It gives me great satisfaction to see the work my department does to ensure that our rural communities can benefit even more from what nature has to offer. Our world class outdoor amenities continue to make rural Ireland the place to be for adventure tourists as well as those who appreciate a more sedate pace of life. These projects are spread throughout the country, so everyone can avail of the outdoors. Some of the planned investment, which is taking place all over the country, will enhance existing visitor attractions while providing new opportunities to experience our wonderful coastal landscape.”

The funding will be invested in 69 larger scale outdoor recreation projects, bringing the total number of projects funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development, since its establishment in 2017, to more than 1,650 nationwide.

The projects will be delivered by July 2026.

The announcement is in addition to the €2.3m announced in November 2023 for 50 projects, and €4.1m approved earlier this year.

Humphreys concluded: “The 69 projects that I am announcing today will be there for all of us, from all walks of life and all abilities. These excellent projects will add to Ireland’s now large pool of world class amenities and will help to achieve the goals of the National Outdoor Recreation Strategy – Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors.

“I would encourage everyone to take this opportunity to get out there and embrace our great outdoors and make the lived experience of our country better for us all.”