One of the first accredited Blueways in the world is located in Galway among the many trails of Lough Derg.
This is one of three blueways to achieve be officially accredited today, with the others located at the Suir and Boyne rivers in Tipperary and Meath.
The Lough Derg Blueway comprises a total of 160km of shoreline trails spread across Galway, Clare, and Tipperary.
Blueways are a brand-new outdoor recreation offering currently unique to Ireland.
They encourage the use of lakes, canals, rivers and costal environments for walking, cycling, swimming, kayaking, and stand up paddle boarding, while engaging with nature and heritage.
The Blueway accreditation has been developed by Fáilte Ireland, Sport Ireland, Waterways Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland.
The initiative was started to promote tourism with quality outdoor infrastructure close to water and nature.
Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly said that they have long recognised the importance of promoting Ireland’s waterways for tourism activities.
“Opening up the outdoors is a key strategic priority for Fáilte Ireland, and these accredited Blueways are another outstanding addition to our portfolio of outdoor activity infrastructure.
“They will tap into domestic and international activity and leisure tourism markets, reaping economic benefits for Meath, Clare, Galway and Tipperary.”
Commenting on the launch, Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said “Under the Programme for Government, we committed to investing in and promoting Blueways and recreational trails for the benefit of local communities and tourists alike.”
“The newly accredited Blueways announced today, will open up Meath, Tipperary, Clare and Galway to water-based and water-side activities.”
“The Blueways partnership is an important cross-border initiative that will drive Blueway development and help position the island of Ireland as a world-class activities tourism destination for visitors.”