Cork County Council has opened most of the Dunkettle to Carrigtwohill walking and cycling route on Friday — although it falls a bit short of Carrigtwohill for now.
There is only a narrow footpath between The Elm Tree and existing shared paths outside Carrigtwohill. When fully finished the route will be one of Ireland’s first substantial, non-greenway, interurban walking and cycle routes alongside a roadway.
When combined with the Dunkettle interchange cycle route, the route stretches nearly 7km from the Dunkettle Roundabout at the Glashaboy River to The Elm Tree, just west of Carrigtwohill.
For now, it links areas including Dunkettle, Little Island and Glounthaune to each other and to the two train stations along the route, Little Island and Glounthaune stations.
The route will also eventually connect to Cork City to the west, Glanmire to the northwest, and Midleton to the east, which will link to the 25km Midleton to Youghal Greenway which is under construction. The route already links into the shared paths as part of the Dunkettle interchange project
Cork County Council tweeted on Friday: “The section of the Dunkettle to Carrigtwohill Pedestrian and Cycle Route between Dunkettle and The Elm Tree is now complete!… Final landscaping, signage, pedestrian crossings & public lighting will be completed next. Funded by the NTA.”
Cork Chamber, a business group, said: “Fantastic to have this stretch of cycle and pathway complete and is a great leisure facility as well as offering choice to commuters who live and work in the nearby areas or wishing to access the train line.”
Cllr Alan O’Connor·(Green Party) said: “Great work here from all the team at Cork County Council for delivering this project, which will allow people to safely walk, cycle, etc. from Dunkettle through Little Island and Glounthaune. And it’s just the first section of a wider planned active transport space in East Cork.”
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At the moment, the route ends at the Elm Tree pub. The council already has planning permission in place for a link from there into Carrigtwohill, but the project was separated into phases. Cllr O’Connor said that “All going well, further progress should be underway by the end of this year.”
Cllr O’Connor said: “A subsequent planning permission will be required to go all the way to Midleton, and that will follow in due course I’m sure. Though I don’t have timelines for that yet, the route is part of a Cork-Waterford route, and is leading the way nationally as a demonstration of how two cities can be connected by active travel networks.”
He said: “Planning has also been approved, separately, on taking the connection about 2 km further eastwards from Carrigtwohill railway station to industrially zoned lands to the east.”
Article continues below before and after images of Phase 1:
“This project and more to come are the fruit of a greater focus in government on cycling and walking. It will not only help us reach our climate targets by giving people the option to walk and cycle rather than drive for certain journeys, it will also reap huge social benefits for local communities, and for people of all ages and abilities in those communities,” he said.
“On the completed Glounthaune section, I’m seeing walkers, cyclists, joggers, family groups cycling, elderly people with mobility aids, etc., all making use of the path, both for recreation and as a means of getting from A to B,” he said.
Cllr O’Connor added: “There’s much much more to do, of course, but it’s a good start, and we’ve started from almost nothing. The whole Cork-Waterford link has been labelled as a ‘demonstrator’ project, and I think that label is apt – once the upside of a project of this type becomes evident in practice, people will be wondering when something similar will be coming to their community too, and why it’s taken this country long to set about addressing the lack of a proper active travel network throughout the country.”
Some of the before and work-in-progress/after images of the changes around the Dunkettle project: