€8m in funding has been announced for greenways, walking trails and other outdoor recreation projects nationwide.
18 projects are being funded by the government under the 2018 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.
The projects include a coastal walking route from Youghal to Red Barn in Cork; a walking/cycle track along the disused railway line between Clifden and Oughterard in Galway; mountain bike trails in Sligo; and an 18-acre municipal park in Killeens in Wexford.
The scheme is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Rural Development and provides funding for the development, maintenance, enhancement and promotion of outdoor recreational infrastructure in Ireland.
Several grants issued today are worth €500,000 to the projects.
Making the announcement today, Minister Ring said the projects "encapsulate the diversity of work that is ongoing across the country to provide high-quality recreational infrastructure for visitors and locals alike".
“Recreational tourism is a growing part of Ireland’s tourism offering, and we have seen an increase in the number of Irish and overseas visitors enjoying the many greenways, blueways and walking trails which have been developed around the country in recent years," he said.
“The funding which I’m announcing today builds on €1.8m which I allocated earlier this year to 128 smaller scale local projects under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.
“I firmly believe that the continued development of our recreational infrastructure will not only support Ireland’s rural tourism potential, but will also provide a diverse range of recreation options for local communities to support their own health and fitness and enjoy the countryside with their families."
Minister Ring said he would be making further announcements at a later stage regarding mid-sized projects which have applied for funding under a separate strand of the scheme.
You can see the full list of projects here.