MULTIPLE trails and beaches across Cork are to undergo upgrades under the Government’s new outdoor recreation infrastructure scheme.
Three walking and equestrian trails in East, North and West Cork will benefit from the State funding, which granted €633,490 to Cork County Council.
Following the announcement, the council funded the balance to €700,000 to carry out the three projects.
The first will see Ireland’s inaugural horse trail, the Beara Bridle Way, extended from Urhan to Ardgroom village, following 14km of old tracks and woodland. Parking for horse boxes will be made available in Ardgroom, where riders will be able to leave their horses in a field across from the village’s shop and restaurants.
The new section will complete a 23km loop between Castletownbere and Allihies, which is hoped will be extended at a future date.
The second project includes €200,000 worth of upgrades and repairs on the Barnane and Glenabo trails on the Blackwater Way.
Finally, a 2.2km coastal walk in Little Island will be upgraded to provide a safer walking route, with a 2m-wide path along the length of the Carrigrenan Amenity Walkway overlooking Cork Harbour.
Additional parking, benches, lifebelts, and signage will also be provided.
Mayor of the County of Cork and Fianna Fáil councillor Gillian Coughlan said the projects would make Cork a more attractive destination for tourists and improve outdoor amenities for locals.
“The scheme aims to make rural Ireland a more attractive destination for adventure tourism and that’s what we want to achieve,” she said.
“We want visitors to County Cork to stay longer, but we also want to provide the very best amenities for our local communities.
“The first phase of the Beara Bridle Way opened during 2020 and is attracting visitors all year round, and there are long-term plans to create a trail that would take four days to ride.
“I know that enhancing the walks along the Blackwater River and overlooking Cork Harbour at Little Island will mean that the routes can be enjoyed by even more people.”
Meanwhile, €50,000 will be split among five West Cork blue-flag beaches — Barleycove, Owenahincha, Inchydoney, Garrylucas and Garretstown.
The funding, which is backed by Cork County Council and the Department of Rural and Community Development, will be used to review access to the beaches and design solutions to improve services for people with disabilities.