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Mixed feelings as red route selected for Galway to Athlone greenway route

— Route will form part of Dublin to Galway greenway, and EuroVelo 2 Capitals Route.
— Route to detour far from the direct route to Gort and Portumna.

Campaigners seeking the red route for the Galway to Athlone greenway to be chosen have welcomed the decision, while some have questioned the indirect route and others have said “why not both”.

At the time of writing, no formal announcement on the route selection has been made. But a number of political and campaign sources have pointed to a presentation given to Galway County Council councillors this morning which showed the preferred route.

The route is expected to go via locations such as Shannon Bridge, Portumna, Gort, Coole, Kinvara, Clarinbridge, and Oranmore.

The route would be part of the cross-Europe EuroVelo 2 Capitals Route from Galway to Dublin, but — besides of the detour — it will also take in part of the Shannon greenway from Limerick to Lanesborough, and the EuroVelo Route 1, the Atlantic Coast Route.

A key part of the reasoning for the route is believed not just to be the scenic nature of the route, but also that it uses more State-owned land than the other options and avoids the areas where opposition from landowners has stalled the route for years.

In slides shown to councillors, the project team for the route said that it “utilises a lot of state-owned land, principally owned by Coillte, Bord na Mona, and ESB” and that “Route Corridor 5 in general has strong local support, though there are a number of locations where this is not the case”

RedRoute5, a local campaign for the red route, said: “The news is out #RedRoute5 has been selected as the preferential route to Connect Athlone with Galway! Check out the route detail! This has been a major community-driven campaign, and we are over the moon with the result.”

Galway Cycling Campaign saidCongrats to the Red Route 5 community @RCycleway for a truly inspiring and energetic cycleway campaign! This route had the most submissions; it shows the importance of grassroots advocacy and collaboration.”

However, away from formal campaign groups, members of the public online have expressed surprise with the indirectness of the route and issues such as possible gradients. Some said that it favours tourism over commuters but others say it will also be useful for commuting for many people.


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There was also disappointment from people who live alone the other possible routes. But there has been a commitment made that Athenry will be connected to Galway.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn, a Fianna Fáil councillor based in Athenry, said: “After my initial disappointment on hearing that the #NationalCycleway was not coming through #Athenry or any of our surrounding villages I have received a commitment from the Director of Services that they absolutely will look at connecting #Athenry to the National Cycleway.”

A number of politicians and groups shared slides by Cian McGuiness, Project Manager with consultants RPS.

The slides outline that: “Route Corridor 5 offers outstanding scenery and variety, all along its
length. It offers a series of distinct settings, ranging from the coast of Galway bay with views of the Burren, the Burren lowlands around Gort, the forested hills in the Slieve Aughties, the River Shannon Callows and Lough Derg, and the peatland landscapes of the Bord na Mona bogs. It transverses areas of high landscape quality, and the topography allows for regular high quality views.”

It continues: “It offers most to see and do, with many highly rated attractions along the length of the route, including parks and nature reserves and offers a strong cultural heritage experience.”

The slides said that the route provides “a convenient 3 day cycling itinerary between Galway and
Athlone, compared to some other options that offer only a 2 day itinerary”

IMAGE: Route options for between Galway and Athlone. The red route takes in parts of the blue and yellow routes shown here.
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4 comments

  1. If this is to be the route what’s the chance of a bridge from the old Ballinasloe feeder to Shannon Harbour to link up with the Grand Canal greenway.

    Reply
  2. The Ballinasloe route should at least come by the battle site and village.the interpretative center which is under utilised needed the boost and a refurbishment to take it out of the dark ages with a marketing plan to coincide with the walkways/cycleway route before continuing onwards to Portumna.It is astounding how a facility that could make such a huge difference to the revival of the interpretive centre,and a renewed interest in the most important and bloody battle in our nation.AUghrim is also the birthplace of one of Ireland’s most famous sons,known in America as the father of American Chemistry. There is a monument to him in Manhattan in New York which I visited but nothing of the significance worthy of his achievements and help to the Irish struggle for independence,
    Aughrim .also has old religious settlements that are yet. to be fully investigate.The history of Aughrim is rich and deep with many more stories too numerous to mention.
    Something is very wrong when this opportunity to develop the most historical place in our country’s history where the battle that shaped the future of Ireland and Europe is left out of the cycle way scheme.It would not happen in any other country to abandon their pride in such a hopefully a link at least will be part at least o this project.

    Reply
    • Missed a HUGE tourist link with The 1691 Siege of Athlone and the Battle of Aughrim , with the failure to get the greenway close to Aughrim. I’d imagine no greenway could have got too near the battle fields due to objections with landowners.

      Ideally, a slightly more direct route between Athlone and Ballinasloe (huge hinterland between both towns, vastly bigger than many areas in South Galway) would have been considered, but with the need to link Shannonbridge (Clonmacnoise attraction) Clonown / Moore was always the realistic route and it is easier to get to from Athlone Castle. Anyway, Clonown / Moore (through the bord na mona bogs) area is a nice area to cycle . Thankfully R446 road is bike friendly with properly hard shoulder.

      I am a little miffed that Ballinasloe are delighted with the preferred route. They have been treated like an afterthought. It won’t really go through the town (within reason, I am not suggesting actually place it on the streets)

      Sure, it is better than being ignored completely, but if one was coming from Athlone / Dublin or Galway side, one could easily ignore Ballinasloe altogether at the Shannon bridge junction. Ballinasloe is one of the bigger towns of Galway and THE gateway to the county. Now, with the propose route, one cycles around 18 km plus from Athlone to Shannon bridge via Clonown / Moore, and then another 16 km plus from there to Ballinasloe via the old Canal. Whereas Athlone to Ballinasloe to Athlone via R466 is just about 20 km, and around similar distance via the other back grounds. Ridiculous ! Two big towns with huge hinterlands not joined up (Bear in mind South Roscommon have walk and cycle trails which take into account Drum, Taghmacconnel , Dysart)

      The greenway fails to take into account the need to be close to public transport ie the train. Bus Eireann Galway to Dublin Service (more amenable to agree to take on board one’s bike) is gone. So under this route, if you have an emergency and need to get back home to Dublin or Galway , once you pass Athlone and too far from Ballinasloe , you are in trouble with regard to access to transport)

      “The history of Aughrim is rich and deep with many more stories too numerous to mention.”

      Hang on, let us not exaggerate. if you can not be bothered to mention them now, (not literally) under a promotion campaign today, it is not worth mentioning them. Aughrim is known for the battle and no more,. There is Nothing stopping the powers that be to kick start a promotion now. The center is a few minutes outside Ballinasloe and half hour from Athlone Castle on the R446 – which can be safely cycled.

      Totally agree that the Greenway should have gone through or come closer to Ballinasloe and Aughrim

      Cowboys proposed this preferred route. The idea of it being no where near the two other bigger towns of Galway is a joke. Needless extra kilometers and it is painfully obvious that the people completely ignore the fact that riders will be coming from Dublin and Leinster. They want to get to Galway a lot quicker. . There are more sheep than people in areas like Clonfert, Meelick and Gort,

      Reply
  3. Missed a HUGE tourist link with The 1691 Siege of Athlone and the Battle of Aughrim , with the failure to get the greenway close to Aughrim. I’d imagine no greenway could have got too near the battle fields due to objections with landowners.

    Ideally, a slightly more direct route between Athlone and Ballinasloe (huge hinterland between both towns, vastly bigger than many areas in South Galway) would have been considered, but with the need to link Shannonbridge (Clonmacnoise attraction) Clonown / Moore was always the realistic route and it is easier to get to from Athlone Castle. Anyway, Clonown / Moore (through the bord na mona bogs) area is a nice area to cycle . Thankfully R446 road is bike friendly with properly hard shoulder.

    I am a little miffed that Ballinasloe are delighted with the preferred route. They have been treated like an afterthought. It won’t really go through the town (within reason, I am not suggesting actually place it on the streets)

    Sure, it is better than being ignored completely, but if one was coming from Athlone / Dublin or Galway side, one could easily ignore Ballinasloe altogether at the Shannon bridge junction. Ballinasloe is one of the bigger towns of Galway and THE gateway to the county. Now, with the propose route, one cycles around 18 km plus from Athlone to Shannon bridge via Clonown / Moore, and then another 16 km plus from there to Ballinasloe via the old Canal. Whereas Athlone to Ballinasloe to Athlone via R466 is just about 20 km, and around similar distance via the other back grounds. Ridiculous ! Two big towns with huge hinterlands not joined up (Bear in mind South Roscommon have walk and cycle trails which take into account Drum, Taghmacconnel , Dysart)

    The greenway fails to take into account the need to be close to public transport ie the train. Bus Eireann Galway to Dublin Service (more amenable to agree to take on board one’s bike) is gone. So under this route, if you have an emergency and need to get back home to Dublin or Galway , once you pass Athlone and too far from Ballinasloe , you are in trouble with regard to access to transport)

    “The history of Aughrim is rich and deep with many more stories too numerous to mention.”

    Hang on, let us not exaggerate. if you can not be bothered to mention them now, (not literally) under a promotion campaign today, it is not worth mentioning them. Aughrim is known for the battle and no more,. There is Nothing stopping the powers that be to kick start a promotion now. The center is a few minutes outside Ballinasloe and half hour from Athlone Castle on the R446 – which can be safely cycled.

    Totally agree that the Greenway should have gone through or come closer to Ballinasloe and Aughrim

    Cowboys proposed this preferred route. The idea of it being no where near the two other bigger towns of Galway is a joke. Needless extra kilometers and it is painfully obvious that the people completely ignore the fact that riders will be coming from Dublin and Leinster. They want to get to Galway a lot quicker. . There are more sheep than people in areas like Clonfert, Meelick and Gort,

    Reply

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