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Fancy Mountain Biking on the Slieve Blooms? Rural projects given government funding go-ahead

The regeneration of Lahinch Seaworld has been approved for government funding today.

shutterstock_1243514290 Slieve Bloom Mountains. Source: Shutterstock/Ink Drop

MOUNTAIN BIKING TRAILS and a revamped Athenry town centre are among a number of rural projects to receive funding today under the government’s Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF).

Over a dozen projects have been approved RRDF funding which aims to improve local amenities and develop existing facilities.

Projects which have been approved for funding today include:

  • Four International Mountain Biking Trails on Slieve Bloom Mountains in Co Offaly and Co Laois, Collaney in Co Sligo, Ballyhoura in Co Limerick and Co Cork and Ticknock/Ballinastoe in Co Wicklow and Co Dublin have been granted €10 million in funding. 
  • Substantial regeneration of Lahinch Seaworld in Co Clare, including a new Surf Rescue and Training Centre, has been approved funding of €2.8 million. 
  • Funding of €2.7 million has been approved for upgrades to Emily Square in Athy in Co Kildare. The former Town Hall, now the Athy Heritage Centre, will be renamed the Ernest Shackleton Centre after the polar explorer who was born in Kilkea near the town. 
  • Upgraded National Park facilities – including new park trails – in Co Clare, Co Donegal, Co Galway, Co Kerry, Co Mayo, Co Wicklow have been granted €3.9 million in RRDF funding. 

Other funding approvalS include €3.5 million towards the regeneration of Athenry town in Co Galway including the completion of the existing Bia Innovator Campus.

In Co Clare, €860,000 of funding is going toward the restoration of the historic Loophead visitor lighthouse while in Co Wexford, €665,000 is being put towards a major upgrade of Johnstown Castle Gardens and the Irish Agricultural Museum.

Funding for the above projects does not represent the total cost of these projects but the government’s RRDF contribution towards their completion. 

84 projects projects have now been allocated €86 million in funding for rural regeneration and development since the government announced the first 18 projects last year. 

Speaking today, Minister for Rural and Community Development Michael Ring described these projects as “ambitious and strategic in nature”.

“The funding will transform communities by delivering projects in sectors such as tourism, agri-food and recreation.”

Ring added that “it is vital…to build resilience in rural communities and make our towns and villages vibrant places for families to live.”

“It is also particularly appropriate, with Brexit approaching, that we continue to strengthen the rural economy and support sustainable development. The projects that this fund supports are targeting areas where they can have the greatest economic and social impact.”

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