Dromore Greenway project to transform Cootehill
A dynamic team of volunteers in the Cootehill area are pushing the development of a new greenway that will run from the Errigal Country House Hotel to the Monaghan side of the town with future ambitions to link up with the Ulster Canal Greenway.
The Dromore Greenway is being developed by Cootehill Area Development Ltd in conjunction with Cavan County Council, and benefitted from a recent allocation of €200,000 from the Outdoor Recreation Fund.
Cillian Kelly is a member of Cootehill Area Development and works with John Sisk & Sons building contractors as its head of digital product delivery for Ireland and Europe. He has an ambitious vision for the project.
“We hope to make this the most connected Greenway in Ireland and take advantage of the historic sites in the area and linking the Dromore system with all the amenities we have,” he outlined.
As part of his work with Sisk, Cillian was based in Westport for 18 months and saw firsthand what the Great Western Greenway project did for the small tourist town of Westport. “I will be looking at featuring 3D modelling and drone surveying in relation to the Dromore Greenway project to the greatest extent possible,” said Cillian, whose family runs the Errigal Hotel.
“The site of the stone bridge over the Dromore river, which links counties Cavan and Monaghan, was carefully selected being a natural ford. This location became an established swimming and outdoor recreation area part of the adjoining lands are now in community ownership.
“This has facilitated the construction of carparks, changing rooms, an accessible lighted walkway, toilets and development of Erica’s Fairy Forest,” said Malachy Magee, project co-ordinator with Cootehill Area Development Ltd.
The Dromore Greenway Project and the Cootehill Active Travel Project are being progressed simultaneously, the latter was allocated €100,000 under the Active Travel Initiative to integrate footpaths and develop cycle lanes around the town.
“This is phase one of a much larger scheme and we would hope to attract similar traunches of funding over the next five to 10 years on an annual basis,” explained Cillian.
Facilities at the various schools in and around the town will also be upgraded to establish safe links to the greenway.
“For visitors from outside the area this new starting-off point, leading towards the river and woods, will extend the length of visitors’ stays in the area and provide additional car parking spaces.
“There is potential to integrate the greenway into a series of further walks along the Dromore river wetlands and onto the Black Island in Dartrey Forest, as well as possibilities to further link to Ballybay as well as North to Clones and the Ulster Canal Greenway, which is currently been developed,” outlined Malachy of the future potential.
Significant investment welcome
Fine Gael Cllr Aiden Fitzpatrick welcomed the investment for the proposed greenway and congratulated the Cootehill Area Development on its successful application to the Outdoor Recreation Fund.
He said these investments, coupled with Clár funding of €50,000, Town and Village funding of €100,000 and the upgrade of Cootehill’s Main Street at a cost of €180,000, brings to almost a million euro investment into Cootehill’s road, footpath and cycle ways infrastructure in the last year.
“Cootehill Town Team, Cootehill Chamber, Cavan County Council and the many hard working public and local representatives deserve great credit in bringing these various funding streams to Cootehill and the extra amenities they will provide,” said Cllr Fitzpatrick.
“The proposed greenway will allow people of all ages and abilities walk jog and cycle safely and from the Errigal Hotel to the Monaghan side of town taking in some lovely parts of the backlands of Cootehill, which many people would never have experienced. A special thanks to the land owners who allowed this to happen as, without them, this would not be possible. In these current times it is a great lift to the area and will benefit all in the future both physically and mentally,” concluded Cllr Fitzpatrick.
Fine Gael councillor Carmel Brady said the facilities at the amenity, known as Halton’s, have been a gem in the community for many years and well maintained for over 15 years by hard working volunteer, Bernard Mullen.
“Over the past 10 years as more funding became available for rural towns and villages, this area has been lucky to receive an injection of funding though our own local neighbour and Minister Heather Humphreys and more amenities were added. We have a wonderful carpark with gas barbecues for family picnics on the tables and benches. Adult exercise machines were added,” said Cllr Brady.
With a selection of walks and routes for different abilities through Bellamont Forest and the continued success of the parkrun, there is plenty of variety for locals and visitors alike.
“There are lots of water sports taking place like canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, brave open water swimmers who swim all year round, fishing from the water edge and also in boats on the lake. At present toilets have been installed and a coffee dock is almost complete,” noted Cllr Brady.
She too referenced the Clár funding, which will be used to continue the footpath on the Old Bridge Road from where it stopped right up Claragh Lane to the Cootehill Harps Soccer pitch.
“This will facilitate the children of the locally-based, newly-built Holy Family School to safely negotiate the short journey to the wonderful facilities at the soccer pitch,” said Cllr Brady.
Cllr Richard Truell told the Celt that the Cavan Monaghan border runs close to the Halton’s amenity area and he understands there are plans under the Rural Regeneration remit to continue the greenway facility into County Monaghan.