Members of the public are being encouraged to make submissions in relation to the route options for the Galway to Athlone cycleway.

Senator for Roscommon-Galway, Aisling Dolan, has said she is backing two routes of the five corridor options being circulated by the Galway to Athlone project team – the green route and the blue route.

According to the Fine Gael senator, both of those routes come close to Ballinasloe and will be going through Roscommon, potentially along by the Shannon towards Shannonbridge.

Green route

The proposed green route number one, along north Co. Galway would allow cyclists to go from Athlone to Galway via Cornafulla, west of Shannonbridge; Kylemore; Lismany; Ballinasloe; Ahascragh; Caltra; Castleblakeney; Mountbellew; Monivea; Athenry; and Oranmore.

“It is a very scenic route with highlights such as the Grand Canal into Ballinasloe; Beara Breifne Trail in Killure; the recently restored Clonbrock House and Gardens; along with the planned McAllister Whiskey & Gin Distillery in Ahascragh; Mountbellew Forest Trail and other beautiful landmarks,” senator Dolan said.

Monivea-based Galway County Councillor, Albert Dolan, added that the green route would have positive benefits for his area of Monivea which has a lot of local history.

“When the route arrives at the Monivea woods, it presents a great utilisation of public lands coming through the forest trail. Not only is it a great use of public lands, but it would highlight the historical sites in the area, from the Ffrench estate mausoleum to the old bleaching greens of Monivea village.”

Blue route

The blue route or central route corridor number three would connect Athlone to Galway via Cornafulla, west of Shannonbridge; Kylemore; Lismany; Ballinasloe; Aughrim; Kilconnell; Woodlawn; New Inn; Attymon; Athenry; and Oranmore.

“The blue route also gives a fantastic experience to walkers and cyclists coming through Co. Galway via Ballinasloe and onto the historical village of Aughrim and to visit the Franciscan Abbey in Kilconnell and the magnificent Woodlawn House,” senator Dolan said.

She is calling on the public to make submissions before March 1: “We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform our communities, working together by consensus – safe places to walk and cycle.

“Please have your say – this is your chance to ensure the route comes near where you live, which will have a positive impact on towns such as Mountbellew or Kilconnell for example, if a route was chosen to go near those towns,” the senator added.

Councillor Albert Dolan said: “The community in Colmanstown United soccer club are getting excited to support this project and in particular, the green route as this is an area which has not seen the same inward investment as some of the other areas in recent years.

This piece of infrastructure could act as a massive economic booster to the area. I believe if the green route is to be successful it is of paramount importance that we tell our story; a story of rich heritage and history.

Maura Hannon of Galway Telework Co-Operative Society Ltd said the cycleway way offers a “wealth of history to visitors”.

“Mountbellew offers visitors a wide range of appealing diversions – historical, cultural, genealogical as well as scenic. It has a unique feature, as within short walking distance [are] wonderful woods and rural pathways.”

Public meetings

Senator Dolan will host public meetings on the green and blue routes via Zoom next week. People can join these meetings by logging in online or can also dial in by phone.

Details of the zoom public meetings are below:

  • Green route No.1: Tuesday, February 16 at 7:00pm – & enter ID: 874 1255 0603 or dial freephone 01 536 9320 & enter 874 1255 0603;
  • Blue route No.3Wednesday, February 17 at 7:00pm – & enter ID: 846 2167 4801 or dial freephone 01 536 9320 & enter 846 2167 4801.

The consultation material can be viewed online in the virtual consultation room which is live on the project website.

Interested parties can meet with the project team by arrangement to discuss any issues of interest to them, either by phone or by video appointment.

“The red areas on the maps indicate public consultation and can be a few kilometres wide,” explained senator Dolan.

If you’re a landowner, resident, business within or adjacent to these areas, contact the team with your opinion on the cycleway. By working together by consensus, we can make our towns and villages come alive for our families and communities.

Project liaison officers will be available to meet by appointment, in compliance with the applicable Covid-19 protocols.