Proposals have been put in place to designate the River Blackwater as a ‘blueway’, turning it into a potentially major tourist attraction.
Cork County Council has lodged an application for the development of a blueway under the Government’s REDZ funding scheme.
If successful, the famed river will become the second Blueway in Cork, following on from the launch last July of the Ilen River BlueWay stretching from Baltimore to Skibbereen.
Provided REDZ approval is forthcoming, council officials say they will initiate a feasibility study examining how the project could be promoted and developed with relevant stakeholders.
Following completion of the study, a planning application will be submitted to enable delivery of the scheme.
The Blackwater, a top angling river, rises on the Cork-Kerry border and flows through the towns of Mallow and Fermoy before continuing through Co Waterford and the towns of Ballyduf, Lismore, and Cappoquin before finally entering the sea at Youghal.
Council officials said the completion of a study would ensure the local authority and all relevant stakeholders such as the National Blueway Steering Group and the county council’s Tourism Directorate are shovel-ready for all future funding opportunities that may arise.
Blueways are regarded by Fáilte Ireland as being a significant added attraction for tourists to experience the area from the water and also to extend their stay.
A Blueway is a recreational water activity developed for use by non- motorised water activity enthusiasts.
They feature trail heads, with dedicated parking, craft loading and unloading areas, access and egress points and readily available trail information.
Cllr John Paul O’Shea said there is an array of voluntary groups and agencies involved in the River Blackwater who could play a vital role. “We have a centre of excellence for angling in Kanturk, we are blessed to have a group like Mallow Search & Rescue based on the banks of the Blackwater and clubs such as the Fermoy Rowing Club which are all groups that should get involved in this process,” he said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved