Cork is to receive €596,000 in funding for three amenities in the county, it was announced on Monday.
Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, launched Ireland’s first-ever National Outdoor Recreation Strategy called Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors, with €14 million allocated to 59 outdoor recreation amenities.
The strategy is aimed at delivering major economic and health benefits, and is focused on hiking, cycling, wild swimming, and kayaking.
The three Cork projects set to benefit include €200,000 in funding for the Mallow Park upgrade, €196,000 for Spike Island Phase II, which will see the completion of walking route loops and an upgrade of facilities, along with €200,000 for a revamp of facilities at Fountainstown Beach.
The news was welcomed by Cllr Audrey Buckley, who has campaigned for renewed facilities and safe access for Fountainstown at Carrigaline Municipal District. “I had asked for this looped walk to be looked at. I think Covid has brought more people into our coastal areas. Sea swimming is huge,” she said.
Parking became an issue in the seaside village, with visitors walking on the road.
Ms Buckley’s motion will see the car park upgraded this year, with the installation of Portaloo toilets for four months of the year. About three months ago, outdoor funding was announced for new railings and a shared shelter for swimmers.
Ms Buckley said she was also delighted that Spike Island is to receive funding for a new path.
Minister Humphreys said, “the pandemic awakened a new discovery to explore amongst the Irish public. When we were confined to our counties or we could only meet friends and family outdoors, we gained a new found appreciation for the unique amenities we have on our doorstep whether it’s our forest parks, our mountain trails, our rivers, our greenways or our stunning beaches.
“Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors is about building on this momentum. It is about the strategic development of Ireland’s Outdoor Recreation sector so we can deliver maximum benefits to communities across the country.
“Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors focuses on bringing a more joined-up and cohesive approach to the development of outdoor recreation infrastructure at both a national and county level. As part of the strategy new Outdoor Recreation Committees will be established in every County to ensure there is a focused and strategic approach to the development of local amenities,” added Ms Humphreys.