Press Release: Grand Canal Greenway official opening by Mr. Michael Ring, T.D., Minister for Rural & Community Development

Offaly County Council in partnership with Waterways Ireland are pleased to announce the official opening of the Grand Canal Greenway, at Srah Tullamore on 12th of April 2018, by Mr. Michael Ring, T.D., Minister for Rural & Community Development.

This 4Km section was constructed in partnership with Waterways Ireland, at a cost of €170k funded from Offaly County Councils own resources including an allocation from the Tullamore MD General Municipal Allocation. Planning permission is in place for 23km of Greenway which will connect Tullamore with Lough Boora Discovery Park. (Connecting two Irelands Ancient East sites, namely Tullamore DEW and Lough Boora Discovery Park.) Construction is ongoing on this section of the Greenway.

We have since been allocated €550k by the Ministers department, which will be match funded by €167k from OCC to construct further sections east and west, and that work is currently underway.
It is an objective of Connecting People - Connecting Places, 2015, a Strategy for Walking and Cycling in County Offaly to extend the Grand Canal Greenway in Offaly from Edenderry in the east of the county to Shannon Harbour in the west, via Tullamore along the Grand Canal Towpath, a total of 71km. This vision will be achieved in a number of phases in the short to medium term. There is currently a Part 8 Planning application on public display for 33km of Greenway from Edenderry to Tullamore, with 2 more phases at pre-planning for 2018.

In addition to the 71kms of the canal mainline through Offaly, it is further planned to link the Grand Canal Greenway with the Royal Canal Greenway via the disused canal link from Ballycommon to Kilbeggan, in conjunction with Westmeath County Council and Waterways Ireland.
The Kilbeggan Link will provide a strategic National and Regional route linking the Royal Canal Greenway, the Old Rail Trail in Westmeath, the proposed Dublin to Galway ‘Euro Velo’ route, the Grand Canal Greenway and the proposed Barrow Blueway. It will also be possible to link the Grand Canal Greenway with Clonmacnoise and onwards to the West region via Banagher and Shannonbridge.

It is an aspiration that in the future it will be possible to extend the Greenway all the way to Dublin along the Grand Canal towpath in conjunction with Waterways Ireland and relevant stakeholders.

The Grand Canal Greenway is the main spine route in the proposed ‘Midlands Cycling Destination’ through Offaly, and is included in the Outdoor Recreation Plan for Public Lands and Waters in Ireland, 2017-2021. It is hoped that this project will deliver a greenway link to the River Barrow via Portarlington, to Clonmacnoise, Shannonharbour, Banagher and Athlone through west Offaly and many more connected routes.