Banking on river hub

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Limerick to ‘cash’ in on leisure potential

SWEEPING new plans for a major development of Limerick’s riverside will maximise the city’s recreational, tourism and ecological potential,

Central to this strategy is the development of a series of “looped walks”, linked to the city centre and to the expanding suburbs of Coonagh and Caherdavin.

Shannon Development and Limerick City Council  are examining an extension of the riverside landscape and its opportunity for walking and hiking routes.

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The Limerick Post has secured a final report which states: “Current research indicates that demand in Ireland is growing steadily for shorter walking routes of a varied nature, ranging from 30 minutes to a day and visitors are also looking for good quality, well marked walks that are relatively easily accessible and themed routes with an historical or environmental focus are particularly effective. Shorter, circular walks with start/finish point in the same location are popular with day visitors”.

A kickstart to an expanded development is a looped walk commencing from the Shannon Bridge and the Cleeves Bank complex, which “with its prominent position on the Shannon skyline, is at present under-exploited in terms of its strategic location on the banks of the river and proximity to Shannon Bridge.”              

The priority walkway from Shannon Bridge will run to Barrington’s Pier and extend on to the tunnel crossing at Coonagh. The continuous looped walkway will proceed under Meelick Bridge and along the creek, around the southern boundary of the industrial estate to Coonagh Road and on to Coonagh Roundabout.

Said Cllr Kathleen Leddin.

“To someone who is on record for looking for this type of development of our riverside potential for many years, it is great news that we are much closer to seeing this project realised – it will be an invaluable amenity for the people of Limerick and for visitors to the city.

“I also welcome the extension of the plan to include the Crumpaun river, which is the traditional boundary between Limerick and County Clare and back towards the Old Cratloe Road, the location of platforms for anglers and for enjoying the scenic views, as well as the walkway from St Michael’s Rowing Club on O’Callaghan Strand out as far as the tunnel entrance at Coonagh – approximately five kilometres of leisure walkway and cyclelane in what is an idyllic part of the city”.

 The report says that in order to ensure that any activities would not have an impact on water quality and natural habitats, this could be achieved by creating a buffer zone along the embankment side, which would also be necessary to ensure access for maintenance and monitoring by the Office of Public Works.

This zoning would promote the use of the Shannon riverside between Shannon Bridge and Meelick Creek as a leisure and natural amenity area and would protect and enhance the natural landscape qualities of the riverside area.

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