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The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has allocated €400,000 to Clare County Council for the construction of the first phase of the West Clare Railway Greenway.

The proposed project features a 33-kilometre cycling and walking route linking Ennis to Lahinch, via Corofin and Ennistymon, along the route of the dismantled West Clare Railway.

Phase One of the four-phase project will see the construction of a 4-kilometre cycle and walking track linking Ennis town centre at the Wood Quay Car Park to the townland of Ballymaquiggan, via Active Ennis Lees Road Sports & Amenity Park in Drumcliffe. The project will include off-road cycle tracks, cycle lanes via the rededication of existing roadway, and a foot and cycle bridge crossing of the River Fergus.

Mayor of Clare Cllr. Joe Arkins commented: "The proposed track will serve as an important piece of recreational infrastructure for the people of Ennis and surrounding areas, as well as a tourism attraction for those who visit the town. I want to acknowledge the Council for its work in progressing what would be, once completed, a fantastic world-class off-road recreational path similar to the ‘Great Western Greenway’ in Mayo."

Clare County Council Senior Engineer Tom Tiernan welcomed the funding allocation adding: "Once formal notification has been received from the Department and the conditions relating to the allocation are made known, Clare County Council will prepare of programme to facilitate the implementation of the approved development."

"When completed, this 4km stretch of the Greenway will not only serve as a multifunctional route helping to attract tourism, but it will also serve as a commuter and recreational route for the people of Ennis and its environs. The linking up of the town centre to Active Ennis Lees Road Sports & Amenity Park will be of particularly benefit to the people of the town," added Mr. Tiernan.

Ian Chaplin, Clare Sustainable Travel Officer noted that the West Clare Railway Greenway was selected for funding as it met the Department's specified criteria of being "a high profile project with the potential to be trip attracting in its own right."
 
“In allocating this funding the Department has recognised the potential for the development of a world class multifunctional greenway along the route of the old West Clare Railway, which is known around the world. It has also been recognised that when completed this Greenway would connect up with many existing and planned routes such as the Wild Atlantic Way, the Eurovelo routes for Ireland, the Doolin Cycling Hub, the Cliffs of Moher Coastal Walk, the Mid Clare Way and the Burren Way.

"We are encouraging the businesses and people of Clare to get behind this project and support it as it will generate significant income for the County when completed," added. Mr. Chaplin.