It’s hoped a greenway in West Clare could be “better, bigger and bolder” than anything that has been seen in the country before.
Councillors in the North of the county have issued a fresh call for the West Clare Railway Greenway to be prioritised, to draw a new type of tourist into that part of the county.
From 1887 to 1961, the West Clare Railway shuttled passengers from Ennis to towns including Ennistymon, Lahinch, Miltown Malbay, Kilkee and Kilrush.
Since the mid-1990s, efforts have been made to revitalise the route and in more recent years, the idea of a greenway for walkers, runners and cyclists has been favoured.
Clare County Council says it’s a key priority in the county development plan, which runs until 2023, but that it must be delivered in cooperation with any affected landowners.
Inagh Green Party Councillor Róisín Garvey says aside from the obvious tourism benefits, it would be a wonderful amenity for communities right across the west of the county.
Should the existing proposal go ahead, it would see an 85km route in total and the local authority says the hope is to deliver a smaller 23km section between Kilrush and Kilkee as a pilot project first.
The council goes on to say that wider negotiations with landowners and local interest groups will take place at the appropriate time, as work progresses behind the scenes.
Ennistymon Fianna Fáil Councillor Shane Talty is confident that following the success of these projects in other counties, Clare’s will be the best that there is.