Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys has announced that over €6.5 million is being made available in funding for 38 projects under Measure 2 of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

The scheme provides funding for the development, promotion and maintenance of outdoor amenities such as trails, walkways, cycleways and blueways.

The funding announced today (Thursday, March 4) will benefit 38 medium-sized projects, with funding of up to €200,000 each.

This investment is in addition to €3.2 million approved for 173 smaller Measure 1 projects in January and is being funded in partnership with Fáilte Ireland.

Examples of the projects awarded funding today include:

  • Co. Leitrim – Sheemore Walk and Cycle Track: €149,400;
  • Co. Wexford – Forth Mountain Equestrian Trail and Ballybrittas Portal Tomb Walk: €166,500;
  • Co. Sligo – Benbulben Access Upgrade Project, including new disability and age-friendly spaces: €198,000;
  • Co. Clare – O’Briensbridge canoe trails with floating pontoon jetty: €200,000;
  • Co. Roscommon – Portrun Water and Land Outdoor Recreation Amenity improvements: €200,000;
  • Co. Cork – Trails at Mallow Castle grounds and blueway facilities along the River Blackwater: €200,000;
  • Co Cavan – Dromore Greenway: €200,000;
  • Co Longford – Newtownforbes Bog Walk: €200,000;
  • Co. Monaghan – Ballybay Trail Network: €200,000.

Announcing the funding, Minister Humphreys said:

“The value we place on our outdoor amenities, and the contribution which they make to our physical and mental wellbeing, has never been more appreciated than during the current Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We can also expect our outdoor recreation facilities to play an important part in supporting Ireland’s social and economic recovery as restrictions on movements are relaxed and the tourism sector re-opens.

“These facilities will make such a difference to communities and will also have a hugely positive impact on tourism.”

‘Unique natural heritage of our country’

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin added:

“Successful delivery of these projects will encourage activities-based outdoor recreation and tourism in communities throughout the country. 

“This will play a key role in developing environmentally-sustainable tourism and allowing people to experience more closely the unique natural heritage of our country.”

Since 2016, the Department of Rural and Community Development has allocated over €61 million to 959 projects through the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

The minister is expected to make a further announcement in respect of Measure 3 projects (larger projects accessing funding of up to €500,000 each) in the coming weeks.