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Welcome to the new Galway to Athlone Castle National Cycleway Project

  The Virtual Consultation Room provides some further information on the project.

    

 

 

Code of Best Practice 

published December 2021

Strategy for the Future Development

of National and Regional Greenways (2018)

   

 

 

 

The Project

The Galway to Athlone Castle National Cycleway project will see the creation of a segregated walking and cycling route linking Ballyloughane Beach in Galway City to Athlone Castle, where it will connect to the existing Athlone to Dublin Cycleway. The Cycleway will be Ireland’s first dedicated inter-city route for cyclists and walkers. Stretching across the country from Galway to Dublin, the Cycleway will be a world class amenity for families, communities and tourists to enjoy.

To identify the emerging preferred route, a series of project objectives were set, including the ‘5S’ criteria set out in the Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways, published by the Government of Ireland in 2018. The ‘5S’ criteria outline that Greenways should be Scenic, Sustainable, Strategic, Segregated, and with lots to See and do.

Following the publication of the Emerging Preferred Route Corridor in December 2021 and the completion of Public Consultation No. 3 in January 2022, the project team have been engaging with individual landowners to determine the preferred route for the project. It is anticipated that the preferred route will be published in Q1 2023.

Part of the Galway to Dublin Cycleway

The Department of Tourism, Transport and Sport is developing National and Regional Greenways across Ireland to enhance tourism and contribute to rural development. The Galway to Athlone Cycleway is a large section of the Galway to Dublin Cycleway, making it Ireland’s longest Cycleway so far. The Galway to Dublin Cycleway will be a world class amenity for pedestrians, cyclists and wheelchair users to enjoy – locals and tourists alike. It will even facilitate the first leg of the international EuroVelo network of long-distance cycling trails in Europe and will link Galway to Moscow!

Objectives

The project aims to:

  • Maximise the value of existing infrastructure and natural amenity
  • Protect areas of environmental sensitivity through the design process and in future maintenance and management
  • Develop a tourism experience that caters for a broad range of visitors
  • Be designed to international best practice and in accordance with adopted standards
  • Give regular access to visitor attractions and services along the corridor
  • Be connected with public transport hubs
  • Be in line with the Government’s five ‘S’ criteria - Scenic, Sustainable, Strategic, Segregated and lots to See and do, in conjunction with environmental, engineering and financial considerations.

Public Consultation

The Galway to Athlone Cycleway is following the public consultation guidelines as set out in the Strategy for the Future Development of National and Regional Greenways. The four separate public consultation periods are summarised below:

  1. Study Area Public Consultation: Completed in August 2022.
  2. Route Options Consultation: Completed in February 2021.
  3. Preferred Route Corridor Consultation: Completed in February 2022.
  4. Preferred Route Consultation (meetings with individual landowners): 2022-2024.

The project team includes dedicated project liaison officers who have been engaging directly with landowners since 2021. This engagement with landowners has informed the identification of a preferred route that is over 205km in length.

Emerging Preferred Route Informed by Landowners

Since the project team published an emerging preferred corridor in December 2021, extensive engagement with landowners has been undertaken, and will continue to be undertaken, to develop a preferred route for the cycleway. The preferred route starts near Ballyloughane Beach to the East of Galway City and then proceeds close to or through the following settlement areas: Oranmore, Rinville, Clarinbridge, Kilcolgan, Kinvara, Gort, Woodford, Portumna, Meelick, Clonfert, Ballinasloe, Shannonbridge, and Athlone Castle. It links places of interest, established tourism centres, public parks, and outdoor amenities.

Where feasible, the route has been amended to address identified issues whilst ensuring the continuity of the route, end to end. The project team continues to engage with landowners along the preferred route. Meeting one-to-one is most beneficial for all parties as specific and personal issues can be discussed in confidence and possible solutions identified.

Project Team

The local authorities, Galway City Council and Galway, Roscommon and Westmeath County Councils are developing the Galway to Athlone Cycleway, in partnership with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport (DTTAS).

Consultants RPS from Galway were appointed in 2020 to work with the project team.