Big news for mountain biking in Ireland with The Government announcing over €10 million in funding to develop trails as part of the Rural Regeneration and Development project.
Coming under the Project Ireland 2040 initiative to strengthen rural economies and communities, Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development announced that 66 projects will be allocated funding of €62 million under the €1 billion Rural Regeneration and Development Fund.
Of this, mountain biking has received a welcome boost with €10,262,900 set aside as part of a flagship “International Mountain Biking Proposition for Rural Ireland” national project to develop international standard Mountain Biking Trails which will provide recreational, health and tourism benefits.
It’s intended to ensure that the funding will firmly establish Ireland as one of the top mountain biking destinations in the world.
The locations include:
- Slieve Bloom (Offaly & Laois)
- Collaney (Sligo)
- Ballyhoura (Limerick & Cork)
- Ticknock/Ballinastoe (Wicklow & Dublin)
In total the sites at Limerick, Cork, Sligo, Dublin, Wicklow, Offaly and Laois will see over 300kms of new bike trails and four new bike centres developed over the next three years.
“We are delighted to partner with Fáilte Ireland and Department of Rural and Community Development to provide a platform for this exciting development,” says Deborah Meghen, Director of Stewardship for Coillte.
“We want to continue to work with the best service providers to create outstanding destinations for mountain bikers.
“Investment has been made in the past by project partners in mountain biking across Ireland, but never to the scale needed to elevate this to an international proposition. This funding will now allow the existing trials to be upgraded to a standard that can attract visitors at home and abroad.”
According to Fáilte Ireland’s economic impact report, the development of these trail centres, could see visitors generating spend of more than €22 million per annum when completed.
“Fáilte Ireland welcomes the announcement for funding under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund to support the development of world-class mountain bike trails,” tells Orla Carroll, Director of Product Development with Fáilte Ireland.
“The location of the trails in rural and remote areas will have a positive impact on local communities and help expand their tourism offerings.”
As the centres are located in rural and some remote areas, this impact will be felt where there are few other economic drivers. There are an estimated 20 communities around the country who will see the effect of new and increased visitor numbers in their area.