Welcome to the Galway to Athlone Castle National Cycleway Project
The Virtual Consultation Room provides Information on the Preferred Route of the Cycleway
Public Information Events on the Preferred Route
The preferred route for the Galway to Athlone Cycleway project has been identified. Four public information events to display the preferred route will be held in County Galway from March 28-31. The highly-scenic cycleway, which connects to the existing Dublin Athlone Greenway, is intended to form part of an international network of long-distance cycling trails in Europe.
Landowners, farmers, cyclists, those in the hospitality industry and the wider community are all invited to view the preferred route for the 205 km stretch. Representatives of the project team will be on hand to answer questions about the route at each event.
The public information events, open from 3pm to 8pm, will take place at the:
- Oranmore: Oranmore Lodge Hotel, Tuesday 28th March at 3-8pm
- Gort: Lady Gregory Hotel, Wednesday 29th March at 3-8pm
- Portumna: Town Hall, Thursday 30th March at 3-8pm
- Ballinasloe: Shearwater Hotel, Friday 31st March at 3-8pm
Strategy for the Future Development
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. The preferred route has been identified and is available to be viewed in the Virtual Consultation Room.
Part of the Galway to Dublin Cycleway
The Department of Transport 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 2 network of long-distance cycling trails across Europe.
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.
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:
- Study Area Public Consultation: Completed in August 2022.
- Route Options Consultation: Completed in February 2021.
- Preferred Route Corridor Consultation: Completed in February 2022.
- 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.
Preferred Route Informed by Landowners
Since the project team published the emerging preferred route corridor in December 2021, extensive engagement with landowners has been undertaken to identify the preferred route for the cycleway. The preferred route was published in March 2023 and is available to view online in the Virtual Consultation Room. 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 preferred 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.
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.
Engineering and Environmental Consultants, RPS, were appointed in 2020 to work with the project team.