A NEW Greenway route traversing the scenic landscape between the heritage towns of Roscrea and Birr has been proposed and will require cross-county work between Offaly and Tipperary County Councils to make a reality.
Already the first steps have been taken to create the greenway, which will utilise the former route of the railway that once connected Roscrea and Birr and create a new route for walkers and cyclists linking Birr Castle and Roscrea Castle.
The project is aimed at creating an attractive feature for visiting tourists and harnesses the boom in popularity for environmentally friendly and healthy greenway routes – a new phenomenon that has dramatically changed for the better the fortunes of areas where they have been established.
Spearheading the idea is Roscrea based Fianna Fail Councillor and Cathaoirleach of the Municipal Council for the Roscrea, Thurles and Templemore areas, Michael Smith, who has resurrected the idea after it was mooted almost a decade ago but failed to gain traction at the time.
Speaking at the monthly meeting of the Municipal Council in Thurles on Monday of this week, Cllr. Smith said he has already made contact with Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, Peter Ormond, who is eager to engage with his neighbouring county councillors in Tipperary.
“It is essential for this project that Tipperary and Offaly County Councils come together and I have met with the Cathaoirleach, Peter Ormond, who sees the huge opportunities for both our areas to benefit from this project,” Cllr. Smith said.
“We feel this greenway route could link the two castles in the towns and become a major attraction for Birr and Roscrea and benefit the the entire region. We just need to sow the seeds for this and it is already looking very positive,” Cllr. Smith said.
Cllr. Smith said that during the summer months he visited the Lough Boora Discovery Park with his family and was very impressed with the walking and cycling routes and added that a greenway linking Roscrea and Birr would perfectly complement and further enhance the attractions already available in both towns.
Cllr. Noel Coonan (FG), who seconded Cllr. Smith's call for the project at Monday's meeting, said greenway routes and environmentally friendly tourism is “the way forward.”
“Any obstacles such as insurance and ownership of lands should be overcome through communication and dedication for this project, which will benefit everyone in our area by attracting tourists into the region which could potentially create tourism sector jobs,” Cllr. Coonan said.