It’s not often that two counties can come together and have the same vision, but that’s just what a group from Tipperary and Offaly Greenway committee have done. When the old railway line from Roscrea to Portumna closed in the 1960’s few would have thought that it might one day have a new use. The Greenway committee have got together to look at the possibility of opening up the old line and getting it to a standard that can equal or better the Great Western Greenway in Mayo. The Great Western Greenway has surpassed the expectations of everyone involved with over 300,000 cyclists and walkers using the Greenway every year. The Great Western Greenway before completion would have been in much the same condition as the Roscrea to Portumna line, with much of the line having gone back into agricultural use.
This proposal has the potential to be a wonderful tourism product for the region that will bring greater connectivity between places that would not otherwise prosper, Dr Jerry Cowley, Chairman of the Mayo Greenway is quoted as saying “There were lots of farmers/landowners who were skeptical about the Greenway when the idea was first mooted, but time and persistence won out. Now it’s a no brainer that it will help any area where such a wonderful tourist highway is located bringing great connectivity between places that would not otherwise prosper. The 150,000 plus people who used it in the first few years have already brought great prosperity and hope for the future to the area with lots of new enterprises such as cycle tours, accommodation, restaurants, tea houses, springing up in the small settlements all along its route. ”
The benefits of walking and cycling are well documented and the revenue generated by the use of the trail cannot be ignored, from bike hire, hotel/B&B rooms, coffee shops, farm produce and the ability to take your kids to school on a safe traffic free trail high on the wish list of any family with young kids. If successful, the trail could join up with the Grand Canal Greenway currently being investigated by Offaly County Council. This project will go some way to bringing tourists into the Midlands to counteract the current doughnut effect where the visitors to Ireland are being pulled to the coastal counties and leaving an area in the Midlands that sees little tourism.
The committee have commenced the consultative process with landowners of the idea and with well over 80% of land owners having agreed to a feasibility study to be carried out of their land, the committee will meet the remainder of land owners over the coming weeks. This process is to engage with the landowners and work out solutions to the landowners concerns, because it is with the co-operation of all involved that the project can progress to the next stage.
Chairman of the Roscrea Enhancement Committee, Brian King praised the great work of the sub-committee that is working round the clock to deliver on this project. Brain went on to say that from the Roscrea side the support of Tipperary County Council will be crucial and that the council has been extremely supportive. At Monday evening’s meeting of Roscrea Chamber Of Commerce Brian king said that this project offer boundless opportunities for Roscrea from both an economic and social viewpoint and no doubt the people of Birr and Portumna see the same opportunities. Brian said at the meeting that Cathal McNicholas and the team behind the greenway project are doing trojan work to deliver upon what the Chairman feels is one of the most exciting projects that the Enhancement Committee has engaged with.
ceed through Assumption Park into town where they will have short stops and reflections at Chapel Lane, Parkmore Nursing Home, the Playpark at Glebe View, St Cronan’s Church — Church St, and concluding at the Methodist Church Hall for a cup of Roscrea hospitality where light refreshments will be served. All are welcome to join in on this the 6th Annual Ecumenical Friendship walk in honour of St Cronan who founded Roscrea in the 6th Century.