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A view of Lough Derg from Ogonelloe. Photograph by John Kelly

Big step forward for walking route

Waterways Ireland has been urged to proactively engage with landowners once the preferred route for the proposed Limerick to Scariff Greenway is selected.
This was stressed by Councillor Pat Burke (FG) following a presentation by Waterways Ireland, Western Regional Manager, Brian Treacy at a recent Killaloe Municipal District meeting.
As a farmer working on the shores of Lough Derg near Dromann Harbour, Burke recalled he has received phone calls from land owners on the Limerick and Clare side of Lough Derg enquiring if the final route selection has been made.
“If someone gets on a bike in Limerick and arrives in Scariff along the greenway and asks where is Iniscealtra or Holy Island and how do we get there, in my view, it should have continued to Mountshannon,” he said.
“Even if the greenway went north of Scariff, it doesn’t have to run by the lakeshore. It should connect to Mountshannon in some form from the low or the high road with views of the lake.
“It is a pity that hasn’t happened. Why I don’t know. I look forward to seeing what the preferred route will be.”
Councillor Joe Cooney said it good to see this project progressing and hoped that landowners’ concerns would be taken into account once the new route is selected.
The Fine Gael councillor asked what body would be responsible for the maintenance of the greenway once it is constructed.
The meeting was told Waterways Ireland and local authorities would have to examine the maintenance issue at the development stage.
Waterways Ireland, together with Clare County Council and Limerick City and County Council are working to develop a Limerick to Scariff Greenway which is expected to cover a distance of 43 kilometres. Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) and ESB are also involved in the project.
The waterways body expects to finalise its emerging preferred route for the new greenway next month before it hosts public consultation information evenings in Scariff and Killaloe.
Once the project appraisal report is completed, the next stage involves detailed design and environmental evaluation.
The proposed greenway has been identified as a signature project in the Shannon Tourism Masterplan and would provide a gateway to and from the heart of Limerick City to Lough Derg and the Shannon.
Subject to the selection of the preferred route, the proposed greenway would link Limerick City to Scarriff Town with connections to nearby villages and towns such as Cloonlara, O’Briensbridge, Killaloe, Ogonnolloe and Tuamgraney.
Waterways Ireland, together with Limerick City and County Council, Clare County Council and ESB, are working in partnership and have established a working group to explore the potential to develop a Limerick to Scarriff Greenway.
A steering group comprising Waterways Ireland, Limerick City and County Council and Clare County Council and Transport Infrastructure Ireland has also been formed.
The proposed greenway has been identified as a signature project in the Shannon Tourism Masterplan as it would provide a gateway to and from the heart of Limerick City to Lough Derg and the Shannon.
Waterways Ireland are currently in phase two of its option selection following extensive public consultation on different routes.
Following discussions between Waterways Ireland and the ESB, the two parties have agreed a preferred route corridor along ESB lands. In total, 158 submissions were received during public consolations, and each of these submissions were assessed as part of the overall selection process.
Mr Treacy confirmed the steering group and Transport Infrastructure Ireland are analysing a draft preferred route corridor report. This resulted in some actions that are being worked on.
The waterways body is trying to avoid placing the proposed route along Special Areas of Conservation as much as possible.
It is also trying to use public lands as much as possible to minimise the disruption of private lands. Officials from Waterways Irelands have engaged with landowners on proposed route options during the public consultation process.
The proposed greenway may also provide connections to nearby villages and towns such as Cloonlara, O’Briensbridge, Killaloe, Ogonnelloe and Tuamgraney.
The greenway will also traverse and travel along a rich and varied landscape, potentially following a number of waterway routes which may include the Park Canal, the Shannon River, Errinagh Canal and the lands associated with the Shannon Head Race between Parteen Weir and Ardnacrusha and Lough Derg.
One of its objectives is to link and improve accessibility to a number of significant tourist attractions and features of interest such the Ardnacrusha Power Station, Parteen Weir, Killaloe Cathedral, Brian Boru Fort, St Cronan’s Church and Visitor Centre Tuamgraney and the Scarriff Workhouse.
A feasability study published by Clandillon Civil Consulting identified one preliminary route between Limerick and Clonlara.
The Red Toute commences at King John’s Castle and proceeds South East past Limerick
City Civic Offices and along Merchant’s Quay and George’s Quay until it meets the Park Canal. It follows the southern bank of the Shannon along existing paths past the University of Limerick Boat House to the Black Bridge, located west of the University of Limerick.
The route crosses the Black Bridge and proceeds north along the former towpaths of the Errina Canal, which is currently disused.
It continues along the Errina canal for approximately 5.5km, crossing the L7050 at Garraun and the L7048 at Cappavilla North before meeting the R471 directly west of Clonlara.
Three preliminary routes have been developed between Clonlara and the Parteen Weir.
Another three preliminary routes options are in the pipeline for consideration from Parteen Weir to Killaloe.
Two preliminary route options have been developed that bypass Killaloe.
While no option has been developed that goes through Killaoe itself, it is envisaged that whichever option was preferred would be connected to the centre of Killaloe through one or a number of links from the town centre to the greenway.
The green route follows the line of the proposed Killaloe Bypass which will be provided with pedestrian and cyclist facilities in the verge.
Having ‘picked up’ the R463 south of Killaloe in the townland of Moys, the proposed road bypasses Killaoe to the west before reconnecting with the R463 just south of Brian Boru’s Fort in Ballyvally.
Two preliminary route options have been put forward between Brian Boru’s Fort and Annacarriga.
Between Annacarriga and Scarriff, three preliminary route options have been developed, north towards Tullabeg where it enters the Aughinish Woods on the shore of Lough Derg.
The desktop assessment of the route options for the proposed greenway development has identified 56 recorded archaeological sites from the Record of Monuments and Places located within the study area, as well as 44 sites of architectural heritage significance along the route of the proposed development.

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