Minister Heather Humphreys has announced €3.5 million in funding to support 189 outdoor projects such as mountain trails, forest walks and greenways across the country.

The funding, under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS), is expected to enhance “unique natural amenities and support rural Ireland as a destination for adventure tourism”.

The scheme is designed to support the enhancement of dozens of recreational amenities such as mountain trails, forest walks, beaches, rivers, lakes, blueways and greenways.

Projects across the country have been chosen for investment of up to €20,000 under Measure 1 of the scheme, which is being delivered in partnership with Fáilte Ireland.

Funding for larger projects under Measure 2 and 3 of the scheme will be announced by Minister Humphreys in the coming weeks.

Announcing the funding, Minister Humphreys said:

“We will carry out upgrades to our mountain trails and forest walks so that we can further unlock the beauty of our rural countryside.

“And under this fund, we will continue to develop our greenways, cycleways and blueways.

“Covid-19 has given us a newfound appreciation for our great outdoors.

“By drawing more visitors to experience the beauty of our rural towns and villages, we will help further support our rural economy to rebuild post Covid-19.”

Since 2016, the Department of Rural and Community Development has allocated over €71 million to almost 1,200 projects through the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, the minister announced additional funding of almost €3.5 million for 12 projects supported by the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF).

The projects include the rejuvenation of town centres and public realms, as well as the development of a number of enterprise and digital hubs to facilitate remote working.