Clare County Council is currently progressing Section 1 of the West Clare Railway Greenway project. This aims to provide a recreational greenway between the towns of Kilrush and Kilkee, following the route of the former West Clare Railway where feasible.
The West Clare Railway between Kilrush and Kilkee closed in 1961 and since then the main transport corridor between the two towns has been the N67 National Road. The West Clare Railway Greenway project aims to develop a new walking and cycling corridor between these two seaside towns, providing a high-quality attraction and amenity to locals and tourists alike, and building on the success of the Waterford Greenway and the Limerick Greenway.
The study area currently being examined the Council is shown here, with Kilkee lying to the North West and Kilrush to the South East.
In response to the public consultation process, Cyclist.ie sent a submission to the Council on Monday 5th of October setting out our initial views on the proposals.
At the broadest level, Cyclist.ie is delighted to see this proposed greenway project advancing, and we wish to support Clare County Council in this initiative. Cyclist.ie is strongly in favour of the creation of a high quality, safe and largely / entirely segregated cycle facility linking Kilkee to Kilrush. Such a facility will offer multiple benefits to many different age cohorts and different user groups – including children, older people, tourists, utility cyclists and recreational cyclists. If designed and built to high standard, and if it offers a safe environment for all ages and abilities, it can replicate and surpass the success of other greenways in Ireland and beyond. This represents a win-win for all concerned.
More specifically Cyclist.ie strongly advises that cycle facilities do not run along / alongside the N67 except where absolutely necessary. Even if proper segregation is provided alongside an N road, the noise from motorised traffic on an N road (both engine noise and tyre noise) diminishes the quality of the experience for users – it is difficult to have a conversation with another person on a bike alongside oneself when traffic noise is significant.
In our submission we also made the point that Kilrush has terrific potential to become a properly cycle friendly town, but it is currently utterly dominated by cars. Frances St, a wonderfully wide and beautiful street, is just waiting to be set free – there is a huge opportunity to improve the urban realm there. Furthermore, all schools, sports clubs/grounds and residential areas should be connected carefully to the greenway so that parents can feel comfortable having their children cycling to school on their own. Additionally, the route should link with all of the main tourist destinations, including the Vandeleur Gardens and forest trails.
You can read Cyclist.ie’s full submission here.
To give a little bit more context on the overall consultation process for this section of the West Clare Railway Greenway, you can check out this graphic taken from the official material (a link to which can be found below).
Further information can be gleaned from this Clare County Council webpage.
Finally, if you are particularly interested in cycle campaigning issues in County Clare and would like to connect into Cyclist.ie’s advocacy work to improve cycling conditions in the County, please contact us here.