At the Lough Derg, from left,Joe McGrath, CE Tipperary County Council, Reuben Noyce, Lough Derg Watersports, Dawn Livingstone, CE Waterways Ireland, Kevin Kelly, CE Galway County Council, Eileen Manni
Tourism in Tipperary is on the crest of a wave following the launch of the Lough Derg Blueway this week.
The project is a joint venture between the local authorities straddling Lough Derg, Waterways Ireland, Lough Derg Marketing Group and tourism providers in the region.
At the launch in Killaloe, Cllr Phyll Bugler, Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council, has encouraged the businesses around Lough Derg with a vested interest in tourism to capitalise on this opportunity to promote and package the Blueway.
"The potential to create employment as a result of new businesses emerging around the Blueway is vital to the sustainability of the rural towns and communities surrounding Lough Derg. The Lough Derg Marketing Group will continue to support the Lough Derg Blueway in the coming months and years, helping it to grow into an established national and international tourism offering," she said.
Joe MacGrath, chief executive with Tipperary County Council and chair of the Lough Derg Marketing Group, said: "Through collaboration, co-operation and ambition between agencies and the tourism trade around Lough Derg we now have an excellent tourism product to attract more domestic and international visitors to the region with the launch of the Lough Derg Blueway."
The Lough Derg Blueway builds on the untapped potential of the existing waterway infrastructure and is enhanced by attractive rural towns and villages of Portumna, Dromineer, Killaloe/Ballina, Scarriff, and Mountshannon.
With 21 individual paddling trails, Lough Derg as the largest lake on the River Shannon offers its own unique Blueway experience.
The Lough shore provides achievable paddling, walking and cycling trails including heritage trails with over 90 heritage sites and access to the long distance routes of the East Clare Way and Lough Derg Way.
The Lough Derg Blueway complements the existing Waterways Ireland Blueway offerings along the Shannon and Shannon-Erne.
With 21 individual paddling trails, Lough Derg as the largest lake on the River Shannon offers its own unique Blueway experience from the linear corridors of the North Shannon and Shannon-Erne Blueways.
These three Blueways now provide over 300km of paddling and hundreds of kilometres of walking and cycling trails in the heart of rural Ireland.
By the end of 2018 Waterways Ireland will have added further Blueway offerings on Lough Erne and the Royal Canal, which, at 144km, will be the longest off-road walking / cycling trail in Ireland.