Popular cycle and walkway to be further extended along disused railway line
on 27/11/2012 00:00:00
The trail stretches along 36km, from Rathkeale to Abbeyfeale, on the old Limerick to Tralee line which closed down in 1977.
The line covered 85k and the proposed 3km extension will open up the trail from Abbeyfeale to Kilmorna.
Welcoming the development, Cllr Michael Collins said: "I hope this will spur on the authorities on the Kerry side to now move, develop and continue the walkway into Listowel."
Mike MacDomhnaill of the West Limerick Athletics Club, said they carry out much of the training of young athletes on the trail. He said: "This further extension will mean that a full marathon could be organised on the line, safe from traffic on busy roads."
Des Moore, of the rural recreation section at the Department of the Environment praised the council's decision, which he said the department will financially support. "The Great Southern Trail has the potential to become part of a national network of cycling/walking trails of international standard which will act as a driver for rural development and tourism, notwithstanding the obviously enhanced health and well being of the local communities this development is intended to support."
Liam O'Mahony from Newcastle West, one of the original community leaders to promote the opening of the old rail line as a recreational amenity, said the further addition was a very positive development.
Mr O'Mahony said: "As the trail has developed, the tourism benefits have become obvious and it is hoped it will be emulated in Kerry."
Tom O'Neill, heritage officer with Limerick County Council, carried out an environment screening report which included a wildlife survey.
Cllr Liam Galvin praised the farming community for their cooperation in the development of the trail. The proposed plan provides for farming crossings to allow farmers access to lands.