- Official launch of 53km of walking, cycling and watersports trails
- Over €5.6 million invested by Tipperary County Council
- New recreational resource for tourists and local communities
Tipperary County Council has officially unveiled Suir Blueway Tipperary – the culmination of nearly seven years of planning and implementation and has seen an investment of more than €5.6m to develop the 53km tourism route and local amenity for the county.
The Blueway was officially opened by John Treacy, Chief Executive, Sport Ireland in the presence of the Elected Members of Tipperary County Council including Councillor Michael Murphy, Leas Cathaoirleach, Tipperary County Council, Councillor Richie Molloy, Mayor of Clonmel Borough District, Councillor Louise McLoughlin Cathaoirleach of Carrick on Suir Municipal District and Joe MacGrath, Chief Executive, Tipperary County Council.
Leas Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council, Councillor Michael Murphy said: “Tipperary County Council and Tipperary Sports Partnership have been working on this project since 2012. We are very excited to see this now come to fruition and to see our investment in our latest tourism offering come to life. Tourism is a substantial growth area for County Tipperary. We have so much to offer in terms of beautiful landscapes, fascinating cultural and historical sites and stories, and some of the best food produce in Ireland. Suir Blueway Tipperary has high potential to increase the numbers of visitors and economic opportunities along the entire route from Cahir to Clonmel to Carrick-on-Suir, as well as in other local communities. Already, one new business has opened as a result of the new Blueway and the council looks forward to welcoming and supporting more new businesses in the coming months and years. “
Refurbished pathways and multiple new access points to make it easier to get on to the river have been created in several places along the 53km route. These include at Inch Field in Cahir; in Ardfinnan, Sandybanks at Marlfield; Suir Island in Clonmel; Denis Burke Park in Clonmel; Kilsheelan, and Sean Healy Park in Carrick-on-Suir. New Blueway map boards and signage has been developed and erected to guide and improve visitor experiences.
Visitors can experience engaging tours of the world-renowned Cahir Castle before strolling down to the Swiss Cottage as paddle boarders and canoeists pass by on their way along 53km of river trails, passing through picturesque villages and towns as they follow the meandering river to the historic town of Clonmel and onwards to Carrick-on-Suir. Walkers and cyclists can enjoy beautiful scenery as they follow the river for 21km along the refurbished historic towpath from the Monument Car Park in Clonmel to Sean Healy Park in Carrick-on-Suir.
Accomplished paddlers can take on the challenge of the 300-metre whitewater Canoe Slalom Course in Clonmel, which was constructed in 2016 as part of the investment in the project. The longest slalom course in Ireland offers a unique sporting and leisure opportunity for both local users and visitors and is used by Canoeing Ireland as a training base for the Irish national squad.
The Blueway is expected to contribute to increased visitor numbers and spend in the area. According to Waterways Ireland, almost one in five waterways users are overseas visitors, half (49%) are domestic and 1 in 3 (34% ) are local visitors.
Chief Executive of Tipperary County Council, Joe MacGrath, expressed “thanks to the Elected Members of Tipperary County Council and all the state agencies that have helped make Suir Blueway Tipperary possible. Funding for the project came from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Tipperary County Council, Sport Ireland, Interreg and the Department of Rural and Community Development. Without their support, this project would not have gotten off the ground. We will be continuing to invest and improve the facilities along the river and look forward to welcoming more overseas and domestic visitors to this wonderful experience as a new product in Tipperary, Munster Vales and Irelands Ancient East.”
To date, a number of activities have taken place on the new Blueway route, including the National Canoe Slalom events and National Club Canoeing Championships, the PaddleUp Programme, the Suir Descent, Kayaking Camps, Canoeing Training & Education Courses, 10km walks, heritage walks, cycling tours from Castle to Castle, and Triathlon Events.
To find out more, follow Tipperary Tourism and Tipperary Sports Partnership on social media using the tags #SuirBluewayTipperary and #VisitTipperary.