‘Greenway’ plan could see old railways reborn as cycle paths


The track of old railway lines in Mayo have been used to form part of the Great Western Greenway project

PLANS are afoot to create a walking/cycling trail along the old Great Northern Railway track connecting Donegal Town to Bundoran, taking in Belleek, Kesh and Pettigo.

The thrust has come from Bundoran town council whose request to the Town Hall is currently being considered.
The project simulates the 42km (26 mile) Great Western Greenway in Mayo, the longest off-road walking and cycling trail in Ireland


It has been operating for the past three years, and attracts hundreds of walkers and cyclists from all over the world every year.

A similar scheme in Donegal and Fermanagh is thought to have major tourism potential and would form an important link between the beaches of south Donegal and the Fermanagh lakelands.

The Greenway follows the route of the renowned Westport to Achill railway which closed in 1937, and, already, it has played host to the annual Burrishoole walking festival in June.

Robert Gibson, the director of leisure with Fermanagh Council, stressed that plans for the Bundoran-Pettigo, via Belleek and Kesh trail was only at a preliminary stage.

“It’s a very interesting line in that it goes into Fermanagh and, yes, the council are interested in promoting greenways and looking at opportunities for people to access the countryside and create opportunities for tourism.

“The Western Greenway, for instance, has proven to be a very strong tourist attraction.”

Sinead Cusack, one of the landowners along the Western Greenway, told the Herald that she and fellow landowners had no objection to allowing access across lands that are part of the Greenway.


“Without out cooperation, the Greenway wouldn’t have happened.

“We have a good work scheme and we’re getting a few pounds every year for providing the access, and while we don’t make a lot out of it, it’s very good for the local economy and for the tourist industry.”

Only walkers and cyclists are allowed to use the Greenway, and dogs provided they are under control.

“That’s because some of the greenway is open to grassland where there are sheep, and, yes, no horses, quads or motorbikes are permitted.”

A spokesman for the Burrishoole walking festival told the Herald that a group of local volunteers acted as guides through some of Ireland’s most breathtaking landscapes, along low and high level trails overlooking the famous great western greenway and Clew Bay between Newport and Mulranny.

“Families are also accommodated with walks on the greenway.

“Each year the walks attract people from around the world, and locals are particularly urged to take a few hours out and enjoy these fabulous walks right on their doorsteps.”

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