Launch of National Greenway Strategy

Post by our project partners Waterways Ireland;

On the 20th July 2018 we were delighted to see the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Shane Ross officially launch the national Greenways strategy.National Greenway Strategy

The Strategy sets out how National and Regional Greenways in Ireland should be planned and constructed and is backed by a fund of €53m for the years 2019 to 2021.

Minister Ross said: “I am delighted to be launching this Strategy today in our Hidden Heartlands. That brand, and indeed our other tourism brands all identify activity tourism as a key sector for sustainably growing tourism numbers in Ireland. This Strategy, is, I know, eagerly awaited around the country. People have seen the benefits that have accrued to towns along our Greenways to date, examples such as Newport on the Great Western Greenway, Kilmacthomas on the Waterford Greenway and here in Moate along the Old Rail Trail. Our goal is to replicate the success of those towns and those Greenways in other locations around the country. That is why we are focussing our investment on projects of scale, the common denominator of successful projects to date is that they are in the order of 40km and thus provide the opportunity to overnight in a new area.”

The Strategy sets out the importance of early and widespread consultation with landowners and communities along and adjacent to proposed Greenway routes. The Strategy also emphasises the need to minimise the impact on landholdings by minimising severance as far as possible and providing accommodation works such as fencing and underpasses where required. The Strategy also sets out the importance of access to Scenery and things to See and Do in order to attract tourists.

Minister Brendan Griffin stated: “We are lucky to live in such a beautiful country and Greenways provide an opportunity to experience that beauty up close and at a slow pace. Our Strategy will help us fund the spine of a network of greenways that can, over time, provide links to the rest of the countryside through quiet roads that will prove attractive to many people cycling. I know that Longford County Council is looking to identify a quiet route from the end of the Royal Canal Greenway in Clondra to Athlone, this will provide a wonderful triangular route from Mullingar along the Royal Canal to Clondra and then to Athlone returning to Mullingar on the Old Rail Trail.

Minister Griffin continued: “we must also remember that Greenways are for more than people cycling, statistics from our current Greenways show that in towns such as Moate there are more people walking than cycling and the important health benefits that accrue to users are another huge benefit for our country.”

Minister Ross concluded: “I am looking forward to examining the many worthwhile project proposals that we expect to receive over the coming months under the funding call, and I would urge local authorities and state agencies to consult widely with landowners and communities along proposed routes to bring agreed routes to fruition. This Strategy sets out how that consultation should take place and suggests the components that make for a successful Greenway.”

The strategy can be found here.


Operation Transformation walk on Greenway 13th January 2018

Monaghan Sports Partnership in conjunction with Sport Ireland has teamed up with RTE’s ‘Operation Transformation’ to host one of its National Walks taking place on:

At 11.00am
(Registration from 10.30am)
At: Monaghan Harps GAA Complex—Walk takes place along the Monaghan Greenway
(light refreshments served afterwards)

All are welcome
Video footage and photographs will be taken used for promotional purposes

Supported by Pobal, Department of Health, Sport Ireland and Healthy Ireland

Launch of Ulster Canal Greenway, Phase 2 Project

Monday 11th September 2017

Ministers Ross and Humphreys launch EU INTERREG VA funded Ulster Canal Greenway Project between Smithborough, Co. Monaghan and Middletown, Co. Armagh.

Launch of Ulster Canal Greenway
Launch of Ulster Canal Greenway Four Seasons Hotel Monaghan Co.Monaghan 11 September 2017 CREDIT:

The  Minister for Transport,  Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD and the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD,  have today launched the EU-funded €4.95m Ulster Canal Greenway Project which will see the development of an off-road sustainable travel route between Smithborough, Co Monaghan and Middletown, Co Armagh.

The project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The project is also supported by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in Ireland and the Department for Infrastructure in Northern Ireland. The project partners, led by Waterways Ireland, are Monaghan County Council, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council and East Border Region Ltd.

Minister Ross stated “This is a wonderful initiative. Greenways connect communities, promote healthier lifestyles and encourage engagement with the outdoors. They also offer active travel opportunities for both pedestrians and cyclists and have proven to be a major attraction for visitors. 

I’m very pleased to be launching Phase 2 of the Ulster Canal Greenway here today. Creating a new Greenway involves years of planning, construction and goodwill from those in surrounding lands. But it’s a commitment that delivers back to the community in spades. This Greenway promises to be a major asset to surrounding areas, as it brings the old towpaths of the disused Ulster Canal back into use and extends the Monaghan Town Greenway by 22km in a very welcome cross-border project. By 2020, the Greenway will link Smithborough, Co Monaghan to Middleton, Co Armagh.

I very much look forward to making use of it in the future and I encourage you all to do likewise.”

The Ulster Canal Greenway (UCG) Phase 2 project is a pioneering move to develop the first sustainable transport alternative for cross-border commuters between Smithborough, Co. Monaghan and Middletown, Co. Armagh. Monaghan to Northern Ireland is the second highest of all South-North commuter flows, and Armagh to Ireland is the third highest of all North-South flows. The project valued at €4.95m aims to construct 22km of new cross-border Greenway by 2020 and actively to promote commuter behavioural change through a targeted community engagement programme. It will result in a 4.5% increase in the number of cross-border journeys via walking / cycling by 2023.  The project is designed to connect with the completed Phase I section, which utilises the disused Ulster Canal to provide a highly strategic route linking the east/ west sides of Monaghan.

Minister Heather Humphreys in who’s constituency the Greenway will run, said at the launch

I am delighted that Waterways Ireland, an agency under the remit of my own Department, have agreed to act as the lead partner for this flagship cross-border project. The first phase of the Greenway, here in Monaghan, already attracts over 100,000 users per year and has been a fantastic success since it opened in 2014. The further expansion of the Greenway will strengthen cross border relations by directly linking communities North and South of the border. The provision of this landmark recreational amenity will also provide a huge tourism boost for County Monaghan and the wider border region. “

Speaking at the event Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive Officer with the Special EU Programmes Body, said: “When completed this cross border project will help to meet some important targets under the sustainable transport objective of the EU’s INTERREG VA Programme. It will encourage more people to get out of their cars and increase the number of cross-border journeys made by walking and cycling, thereby helping to reduce our collective carbon footprint.

“Not only will this produce many benefits for the region, but the project is also making a contribution towards the EU’s ‘Europe 2020’ strategy which has been specifically designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help safeguard the environment,” she continued.

Also attending the launch on the day were children from St John’s Primary School, Middletown, Co Armagh and Gaelscoil Ultain, St Marys Boys School and St Louis Girls School The extended Ulster Canal Greenway route will create the first cross-border greenway that will enable cyclists and walkers commute to work and study in future years.

The Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council Cllr Cathy Bennett stated ‘The 4km Monaghan Town Greenway has been a huge success and it attracts over 100,000 users annually. I am delighted that the INTERREG VA programme is supporting the next 22km section of the Ulster Canal Greenway. This new phase of the greenway will join communities north and south of the border, bringing huge benefits to our area and encouraging even more people to get out walking and cycling on a daily basis.’

Alderman Elizabeth Ingram, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council stated A key facet of our vision is to engage and support initiatives that protect and safeguard our environment for future generations to come that is why we are delighted to partner up on the EU funded Ulster Canal Greenway project. Bringing about substantial environmental benefits whilst enhancing the quality of life in the area, this pioneering project will deliver an alternative and sustainable pathway for cyclists and walkers to commute between both sides of the border. The collaborative project highlights our commitment to growing a connected, welcoming and healthy community.”

The project will also contribute to a deepened level of partnership between key stakeholders and to the development of expertise and dissemination of best practice in delivering cross-border projects.

We’ve commissioned a short video to mark the launch of the Ulster Canal Greenway Project.

Latest News on Phase II of our Greenway Development – read our Newsletter Here

We’re excited that so many of you are so excited about our project!
And to help you to keep up to date with where the project is at in terms of its progress, we’ve put together a newsletter.
You can view the very first issue by clicking on the link below.

Ulster Canal Greenway Newsletter July 2017

If you would like us to email you the next issue as soon as it is available, you can subscribe using the form below.

Submissions invited on new National Greenways Strategy – closing date 14th July 2017

The Department of Transport Tourism and Sport has published a public consultation paper on a “Strategy for the Future Development of Greenways” and is inviting submissions from interested parties on the issues raised in the paper by 14 July.

Minister Shane Ross says:

“ The paper discusses a wide range of issues surrounding the development of greenways and poses a number of questions to prompt further debate and inform the development of an overarching Strategy for the future development of Greenways. The public consultation paper sets out the policy context for Government investment in Greenways, including their value from an economic, health, community and rural and regional regeneration perspective. It also references the significant tourism benefits that can accrue as well as providing a more sustainable transport option for many communities. Importantly, the paper seeks views from interested parties on some of the more contentious issues that have arisen in the development of some greenway projects and asks what approach should be taken to such issues in future.”

“Since becoming Minister I have been inundated with requests from all around the country for funding for Greenways. It is important that we target our investment in greenways that will deliver the most for their communities and for the country at large. The outcome of this public consultation will inform the development of a new Greenways Strategy to ensure that future funding is spent on the right projects, in the right areas and at the right time. To make sure that we take the right approach in future we need as many people as possible to give us their views during this public consultation process.”

The consultation document can be viewed at:

As set out in the public consultation paper, submissions can be made electronically to or by post to:

Sustainable Transport Division

Department of Transport, Tourism & Sport

Leeson Lane

D02 TR60

The closing date for submissions is Friday 14th July 2017.

A template for submissions is attached.

File attachments:

New Saturday Greenway walking/ jogging group for Over 55’s

Leslie Crawford, veteran marathon runner and instigator of ‘Monaghan, My Kinda Town’, has been at it again!  This time, he’s been inciting the over 55’s of Monaghan town to take to the roads – or to the Greenway, to be precise.

The goal is to get a little fitter, and perhaps to form a few new friendships in the process, with expert advice and gentle motivation from Himself.

The group meets on a Saturday morning at 9am,  at the car park between the Harps football ground and the entrance to the Greenway off Old Cross Square.

Leslie advises that participants bring along water, and that they wear running shoes.

Public Consultation on draft Development Strategy

Waterways Ireland, and their project partners Monaghan County Council, Cavan County Council, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Armagh City Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, East Border Region Ltd and Mid Ulster Council, propose to develop a long-distance Greenway in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, linking Castle Saunderson in County Cavan to Charlemont in County Armagh mainly along the route of the disused Ulster Canal and using sections of disused railway infrastructure. The proposals for development of these greenway sections are provided within the Ulster Canal Greenway Development Strategy.

The draft Ulster Canal Greenway Development Strategy and associated environmental reports will be available for public consultation from the 28th April 2017 until the 21st July 2017. As part of this public consultation there will be four public information events held, which will demonstrate the proposed greenway routes, with cross sections, related imagery, and interactive mapping available.

The public information events are as follows:

Courtyard Room, Newtownbutler Community Hall, Co Fermanagh Monday 8th May


Market House in Monaghan Town, Co Monaghan Tuesday 9th  May 3-8pm


Seven Horseshoes,  Belturbet, Co Cavan Wednesday 10th May 3-8pm
Middletown Market House, Co. Armagh Thursday 18th May Awaiting confirmation

You can view the draft Development Strategy here:  Draft Ulster Canal Development Strategy

You can view the Habitats Regulations Screening Report which has been carried out on the route proposed in the draft Development Strategy here: Ulster Canal Greenway Development Strategy – HRA Screening

You can view the Strategic Environmental Assessment Environmental Report which has been carried out on the draft Development Strategy here: Ulster Canal Greenway Development Strategy – SEA Environmental Report

The documentation will also be  on display at the Main Offices of each of the Partner Organisations.

They will also be available on the Partners’ websites.

Your comments and feedback on the draft Ulster Canal Greenway Development Strategy and associated environmental reports are welcome on or before July 21, 2017.

By email:
By post:  Ulster Canal Greenway Development Strategy
Cormac McCarthy
Environment & Heritage Section
Waterways Ireland
Dock Road
Co. Clare

Big News! Phase II is on the Way!

At last!  Everyone else was talking about it, but we weren’t allowed to say……..but last Friday, the funders finally officially announced it, so now we can too!!

After two years of hard (but very enjoyable) work with our colleagues in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Cavan County Council, Fermanagh and Omagh Council, East Border Region Partnership and Waterways Ireland,  we have NEWS 🙂

We started out with an ambitious plan to develop a long distance greenway across the whole of mid Ulster.  We have developed a map of possible routes and an outfit called RPS have been working on an SEA (Strategic Environmental Assessment) since early this year.

Because the route is SO long, we knew it couldn’t possible be delivered all in one go, so we identified various sections which could be done in phases.  One of these phases, from Smithboro in Co. Monaghan, in to Monaghan town to connect to the existing 4.2km of canal greenway, then continuing from the far end of the greenway onwards into Co. Armagh to Middletown,  was submitted last December to the INTERREG VA Programme under their Cross Border Greenways measure.  On Friday last, December 9th, the Special EU Programmes Body announced an allocation of €4.95 million to the project. 

The funding will cover the design and construction of a 3m wide walking and cycling track along the tow path of the disused Ulster Canal.  Where necessary, fencing, gates and lighting will be included.  Local connections with key places of business, schools and residential areas along the route are also planned, as is a connection along the N2 bypass over to the  Dublin road.  A Community Engagement programme is planned, to support people to make the shift out of their cars, at least for some shorter journeys, and to walk and cycle more.

The project route still has to be tied down in detail, and planning permission etc still has to be gone through. consultation with landowners along the route will commence in spring 2017. We expect, all going well, that construction will get underway by the end of 2018, and that work will be largely complete by the end of 2020.

There will be two posts created to oversee the delivery of the project. These will be based in Monaghan County Council, and will be advertised over the next few weeks in the local press, on the Council’s website, and here.

One will be a Project Manager post, pitched at Executive Engineer level. This will be a 4 year contract on a full time basis

The other will be a Financial Administrator post, pitched at Clerical Officer level. This will also be for 4 years, but on a part time, 20 hours a week basis

We will be re-designing this website shortly, to make room for Phase II,  the SEA on the Regional route, and other developments as they happen.