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  • Northside East

Council’s ambitious tourism plan stepped up 

Thursday, 3rd January, 2019 8:00am
Council’s ambitious tourism plan stepped up 

Newbridge House in Donabate. FILE PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Council’s ambitious tourism plan stepped up 

Newbridge House in Donabate. FILE PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Callum Lavery

FINGAL County Council has made a funding application for an ambitious plan that could boost local tourism.  

The Newgrange, County Meath to Newbridge House, Donabate Greenway route, if given the go ahead, will link Newbridge House, along the Fingal coastline and Boyne Valley to Newgrange. 

Fingal County Council has collaborated with both Louth and Meath County Councils on the project. 

The Greenway will promote walking and cycling as well as connecting tourist attractions across the area. Previous projects such as the Western Greenway and Wild Atlantic Way have been regarded as successful to date with the former earning €7 million for the area in the first year. 

Director of Planning and Strategic Infrastructure for Fingal County Council Ann Marie Farrelly said that assuming the project proceeds through the planning process in 2019, it is hoped to move to the detailed design and construction stages immediately thereafter.

“We have made some good progress in 2018 and we will be on site with some projects next year,” said Ms Farrelly. 

Skerries-based Councillor Tom O'Leary (FG) said the project has great promise for promoting tourism in the Fingal area. 

“It has great potential,” he told Northside People. “If I could estimate it, I would say there could be an extra 500,000 visitors and that’s a conservative estimate.”

Bremore Castle in Balbriggan will be one of the attractions serviced by the Greenway. Currently under development, the castle is expected to be open to tourists this year. 

“We expect to have another Bunratty medieval castle type facility,” said Cllr O’Leary. “That castle can serve a number of major events, including film shoots, and is able to handle six times the number of people for banquets that Bunratty Castle can. Bunratty had 350,000 visitors last year approximately.”

Cllr O’Leary said he can’t see the funding application not being approved and that although there may be obstacles ahead, he can see the Greenway coming together in the next five years. 

“I don’t know how they can say no to it,” he said. “I don’t know who we are competing (with) but I can’t think of one that could have the potential that this Greenway has.

“It will be interesting to see how it transpires now.  There will probably be a few little obstacles along the way to get over, a few bridges to jump in technical nature, but we’ll get over them. We’ve got over them in other areas.

“It’s going to take a number of years. They will do it section by section. I could see it coming into fruition in two to five years.”

Meanwhile, Senator James Reilly (FG) has pushed for increased funding for Greenway projects, calling for €200 million to be invested in the programme. Senator Reilly said the plan is an exciting opportunity for the area. 

“This is an exciting proposition,” he said. “It will open up huge potential in terms of tourism, linking the fabulous Newgrange to the costal facilities and historical buildings in Fingal.

“I’m going to raise this in the Seanad. I will be calling on the minister to review his funding of the Greenways. We really need a €200 million fund over the next five years to build up a national grid of Greenways. The tourism potential is well proven, in terms of the money already earned by the Western Way.”

Senator Reilly said there is a substantial number of people between the age of 60 and 80 who are healthy and wealthy and looking to be

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here