Slieve Bloom bike trails should be completed by mid 2018

Thursday, 16 November 2017

CLLR JOHN Clendennen this week said that he is very confident that the proposed Slieve Bloom bike trails will be constructed and finished by the end of the second quarter of next year. 
  "I was at a meeting recently," he said, "and was told that the project is now out for tender. I was told that the awarding of the tender will shortly be made and the work is expected to start soon after. It's confidently predicted that people will be using the new trails by the middle of 2018."
There were big breakthroughs for the trails project in March, when planning permission was granted, and in July, when it was announced that €1 million had been secured.
  It's believed that the new bike trails will make Offaly and Laois one of the leading biking destinations in Ireland, attracting both domestic and international visitors.
A similar Mountain Bike Trail project in the Ballyhoura hills in County Limerick has been very successful, attracting 45,000 visitors per annum and generating annual revenues of €2.5 million for the local economy.
The trails will be 73 kilometres in length and will cost €4 million. There will be two trailheads, one at Kinnitty, the other at Baunreagh. Visitor facilities will include an information point, toilets, showers, a café, and car parking to be provided at or near both trailheads. At the Baunreagh trailhead it's planned to create a café in an outhouse which formerly belonged to Baunreagh House.
 The idea of creating bike trails in the Slieve Blooms was first mooted about ten years ago. People have therefore been waiting a long time to see the idea come to fruition. 
"The County Council is seeking funding for all the proposed bike trails in the county," commented Cllr Clendennen, "not just the Slieve Blooms. The Council is very serious about creating cycling and walking routes throughout the county because we have seen the dividends, the benefits which Greenways bring to a region." He said the Minister for Tourism wants to see more recreational cycling and walking routes laid out across Ireland.
"These visitor facilities will also provide a focal point for walkers and hikers exploring the Slieve Bloom range. When complete it is projected that in excess of 50,000 visitors will use the trail centre each year." 


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