Ballyhoura bike trail follows new market in sports tourism

mountain-parkLIMERICK County Councillors have approved the raising of a loan of €80,000 for Ballyhoura Heritage and Environment Ltd to assist in the development of its mountain bike trails.

Director of Services for Economic Development and Planning, Tom Enright confirmed that Ballyhoura Heritage have been given a commitment from ESB Wind Development and Coillte to invest €160,000 in December 2015 pending the Castlepook Wind Farm Development progressing.

Ballyhoura Heritage are now seeking bridging finance of €80,000 from Limerick County Council and a further €80,000 from Cork County Council to ensure that the trails develop into one of Europe’s leading mountain bike destinations.

Mr Enright told council members that the funding would be repaid on receipt of the €160,000 from ESB Wind Development and Coillte in December 2015.

With the 2014 European Mountain Bike Marathon Championships taking place in Ballyhoura this June, the project was one county councillors were highly supportive of.

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Cllr Liam Galvin (FG) said he was quite happy to see the loan of €80,000 approved and described the Ballyhoura mountain bike trails as a “great asset to the public”.

Cllr David Moloney (Lab) commented, “The Ballyhoura mountain bike trails are a huge success story attracting a large number of domestic, national and international tourists to the region.”

Cllr Jerome Scanlon (FG) said the loan was well worthwhile and highlighted the trails’ potential for very high reward.

“Other parts of the county need to take a leaf out of Ballyhoura’s book,” he declared.

Meanwhile, Cllr James Collins (FF), who himself uses the bike trails, suggested that a similar child friendly bike trail could be provided in Curraghchase.

“We should be supporting outdoor adventure tourism. Ballyhoura is a mountain bike trail for adults and we are missing out on another target audience. A similar facility is needed for teenagers and kids,” said Collins.

Cllr Stephen Keary (FG) asked where the onus to repay the loan would fall if Ballyhoura Heritage did not receive the investment of €160,000 from ESB Wind Development and Coillte?

Director of Services, Tom Enright assured Cllr Keary that Ballyhoura Heritage would still be obliged to pay back the loan.

The 2014 European Mountain Bike Marathon Championships takes place in Ballyhoura on June 14 and 15 next.