Fingal has the potential to form part of the biggest tourist trail in Ireland if ambitious plans for a greenway linking ‘Newbridge to Newgrange’ get the go-ahead.
Fingal County Council has applied for funding under the national Greenway Fund to develop a route from Newbridge House in Donabate along the coastline and Boyne Valley to Newgrange.
The local authority collaborated with both Louth and Meath County Councils to draw up the €5.5 million plan and it hopes to move the project to design stage in 2019.
Cllr Tom O’Leary (FG) told Dublin Gazette: “This is a great idea and potentially a big tourism win for Fingal. There is €54 million in funding and 22 applications in, so tough choices are needed – but linking a national monument like Newgrange to Dublin could be a winner.”
Transport Minister Shane Ross has indicated that applications demonstrating potential to encourage overnight stays in the locality will get preference.
Development of greenways across Fingal is a key part of the council’s three-year capital programme and substantial progress has been made on a number of key projects over the past 12 months.
A project team was established earlier this year to focus specifically on greenways and two flagship schemes – the Fingal Coastal Way and the Royal Canal Way – are moving ahead.
Construction of the Baldoyle to Portmarnock Greenway will begin early in 2019. An application for the Sutton to Malahide section of the route will be submitted in late 2019.
Further north, a planning application for the Broadmeadow Way, which will link Donabate to Malahide across the estuary, will be submitted in early 2019.
The idea of a floating boardwalk on the estuary – similar to the one at Acres Lake in Co Leitrim – has been suggested at Caves Marsh to extend the cycleway to Swords.
Mayor Anthony Lavin (FG) floated the idea at a council meeting in November and options to improve a link are being considered, though the option of a bridge or a boardwalk may be challenging, given the topography.
FCC’s director of planning and strategic infrastructure, AnnMarie Farrelly, said the preferred route for the Royal Canal Greenway is being finalised and a public consultation will take place in early 2019.
She added: “We have made some good progress in 2018 and we will be on site with projects in 2019.”