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Ballina to Killala greenway funded to start at both ends

Construction on a walking and cycling route between Ballina and Killala in Co Mayo is now partly-funded enough to allow it to start at both ends.

The route is dubbed the Monasteries of the Moy because it is planned to run close to Moyne Abbey and Rosserk Abbey on the south bank of the river Moy.

Work recently started on the €250,000 Ballian section of the route around the town’s Belleek Woods (pictured above), and, this week, nearly €350,000 in ‘Leader’ rural development funding was confirmed for the start of the route on the Killala end.

The Killala section will bring that end of the route from the village to the area around Moyne Abbey, while the Ballina section will mostly include upgrading current paths in Belleek Woods and construction of a short section of new path toward the town centre.

As with many greenway projects across the country, Mayo County Council has had to content with progressing the walking and cycling route while not having the funding to complete the full project.

The route will use “permissive access” to cross private land with the consent of farmers and other landowners, and it will also use State-owned land, including the Coillte-owned Belleek Woods.

The project is eventually due to be part of a network of greenways in Co Mayo which will link Castlebar, Ballina, Westport, Foxford and smaller towns and villages. The county currently has the best-known greenway in Ireland, the 42km Great Western Greenway between Westport and Achill.

An 8km greenway from Castlebar to the National Museum of Country Life at Turlough is also due to soon officially open.

A path in Belleek Woods in Ballina which is due to be upgraded as part of the Ballina to Killala route is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

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Cian Ginty


  1. I usually have concerns for the surface of these greenways when I look at the pictures. I would like try the Westport/Achiil one sometime but it really only looks to be suitable for a MTB/hybrid or at least a bike with big tyres. For convenience I would be using Bromptons, which are ok on Dublin sections of Royal Canal but I have my doubts about their handling on these other routes. Tarmac does not seem to be widespread with grit/gravel being evident. Seem to be very shortsighted if the potential users of these routes is limited by type of bicycle used.

    It’s great of course to see greenways being built in the first place. We could do with far more urban ones. Belfast seems to be advancing in this area and may overtake Dublin eventually.

  2. Kevin – agree that sealed / tarmac surface should be standard for routes expected to take a wide variety / high volume of bicycle traffic. I had similar concerns about GWG taking a road bike with skinny tyres down for a fortnight last year, but it handled surprisingly well on the gravel – the cattle grids turned out to be a bigger issue. The concern is how that surface will degrade over time, and I’ve heard of people slipping and suffering injuries.

    We’re building the 9km Connswater Greenway here in Belfast (to a high standard) but looking at the Dodder Greenway plans among others, I see Dublin (and the rest of Ireland) overtaking us – hey ho :)

  3. nigreenways,

    Surface is not only issue with greenways as you may have seen in Cian’s other article – This is a route I know very well and he even used my photo with the arrows.

    Shared surface is a curse that seems to plague our greenways, even Dodder and Royal Canal. It is leading to increasing conflict which will only be exaserbated by soon proposed introduction of fixed penalty fines for cycling on footpaths, red light jumping etc. in RoI. All this stuff makes urban greenways difficult for the increasing number of utility bicycle users.

    Thanks for advice on GWG. If it’s okish for road bike, then Bromptons might just do it. They would be easier to get through the inevitable kissing gates/barriers too (another nuisance for commuters).

  4. Although the comments above are quite old I want to add that I quite like the gravel surfaces and I have cycled both the western green way, twice, and the waterford greenway on a road bike with skinny wheels. No problem at all with either the surface or the cattle grids.


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