Humphreys announces €1.2m deal to support 33 Coillte sites

Funding will cover upgrade costs of trails, access roads, car parks and toilet facilities

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys: ‘We are making rural Ireland a destination for outdoor pursuits and adventure tourism, as well as supporting rural economies.’ Photograph:  Nick Bradshaw

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys: ‘We are making rural Ireland a destination for outdoor pursuits and adventure tourism, as well as supporting rural economies.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Government support for 33 Coillte forest visitor attractions amounting to €1.2 million has been announced by Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys.

The money will be used towards the cost of upgrades of pathways, trails, access roads, boardwalks, car parks and toilet facilities at forest locations from Cavan to Cork.

The funding comes under an agreement that the Government will provide €2 million each year for the period 2017-2021 to enhance recreational facilities on Coillte-owned land aimed at increased tourism and economic activity in rural areas.

The current allocation covers works to upgrade car parks at 15 locations and works at access roads at another four.

Also included is €80,000 towards the cost of a major repair to a 2,700m boardwalk and new trail layout at the Western Way in Co Galway.

The largest allocation is €345,000 which will go to Donadea Forest Park, Co Kildare, for a significant upgrade to the entrance and parking area, as well as the provision of toilets.

Some €94,000 will go towards the replacement of three foot bridges and a full upgrade of the access route into the car park at Devil’s Glen in Co Wicklow.

According to a new report, visitor numbers to Coillte sites increased by 40 percent during the pandemic.

Coillte is the State’s largest provider of outdoor recreation with more than 300 sites and thousands of individual forest properties. They range from simple forest trails to locations such as Lough Key Forest Park in Co Roscommon, which incorporates a tree canopy walkway, nature trails, zip wires for abseiling through trees, a marina, campsite and motorhome park, among other facilities.

Business opportunities for facilities such as bike hire also operate a at Ballyhoura, Co Limerick, and cafes in Ards, Co Donegal, and Donadea, Co Kildare.

Announcing the funding, Ms Humphreys said: “By investing in our wonderful forests and parks, we are making rural Ireland a destination for outdoor pursuits and adventure tourism, as well as supporting rural economies.”