The first blueway for people interested in watersports has been launched in West Cork, while another planned project envisages a greenway which will attract cyclists and walkers.

Cork County Council is behind the Ilen River Blueway, which has just opened on a stretch of the river from Baltimore to Skibbereen.

In terms of the planned greenway, the county council is hoping to connect two existing routes already in place adjacent to Cork Harbour.

The new blueway is regarded by Fáilte Ireland as being a significant added attraction for tourists to have a new experience of the coastal region.

It is intended that the added attraction of specific routes and spectacular views along the waterway will encourage visitors to extend their stay in West Cork.

It is divided into three sections, with the 2.7km Skibbereen to Deelish Pier stretch considered a beginner’s trail.

Deelish Pier to Glebe Graveyard is 6km and categorised an intermediate trail, while a 8.6km route near Glebe Graveyard is listed as an advanced trail.

The council has constructed dedicated parking spaces, craft loading and unloading areas, access and exit points, and information signs about the routes.

The water-based trail was opened by Skibbereen-based councillor Joe Carroll, who said it would create another avenue for everyone to enjoy the beauty of West Cork.

“Cork has a majestic coastline and the Ilen River Blueway will provide a different perspective for visitors to enjoy the beauty of our county,” he said.

“This is a wonderful initiative and I have no doubt is only the first of many.”

The greenway, meanwhile, involves shoreline routes along the magnificent Cork Harbour. Two sections of greenways are already in place within the Cork harbour area.

One is at Passage West to Rochestown with a direct link to Blackrock Castle and the village Marina. The second is from Carrigaline to Crosshaven.

The county council is examining proposals to connect the existing pathways to create a harbour-long greenway.

Lisa O’Riordan of Cork County Council at the Ilen River Blueway developed by Cork County Council and launched in Baltimore
Lisa O’Riordan of Cork County Council at the Ilen River Blueway developed by Cork County Council and launched in Baltimore

On completion, the proposed amenity would deliver a predominantly off-road walking and cycling facility extending all the way from Cork City to Crosshaven.

The proposed new route could extend to more than 25km.

The roll-out of the greenway network could also create opportunities for the development of walking and cycling linkages to Ringaskiddy and Cobh via the cross-river ferry.

“The overall objective is to deliver a high quality network of greenways infrastructure that will encourage more people to walk and cycle every day for leisure, tourism, and even travel to work,” said a council spokeswoman.

The council’s focus at present is to secure the development of the first two phases that will connect Passage West/Glenbrook to Carrigaline.

Plans for the development are currently on public display at County Hall and also at the county council office in Carrigaline. Written submissions or observations on them can be sent to Maurice Manning, Municipal Services South, County Hall before 5pm on September 2.


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