LIMERICK City and County Council has announced the re-opening of the Barnagh Tunnel to the public, completing the latest phase of the re-development of the Great Southern Greenway Limerick (GSGL).
A ribbon cutting ceremony has taken place at the eastern entrance to the tunnel marking the incorporation of the tunnel into the Great Southern Greenway Limerick.
The incorporation of the Barnagh Tunnel onto the Great Southern Greenway Limerick involved the construction of an underpass under the N21 Limerick to Tralee road.
This scheme included the upgrading of the old railway track to a shared greenway surface and carrying out extensive renovations to the tunnel itself.
It will add a further 1.3km onto the Greenway and increases safety for walkers and cyclists who, previously had to cross the N21 to the viewing and picnic areas and the tunnel.
The works were funded from the Hinterland Fund and the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund with monies matched by Limerick City and County Council.
At 164 metres above sea level, Barnagh is located at one of the highest points of the old Irish railway system. It is located at the foothills of the Rooskagh, in the territory of Sliabh Luachra, an area of outstanding natural beauty and rich in Gaelic culture.
The tunnel itself is over 100m long, with rock-cut approaches at either end, and stands as a testament to the sophistication of 19th century engineering. The re-opening of the Barnagh Tunnel connects the Limerick Greenway directly with the nearby viewing point and rest area, which offers unparalleled panoramic views of the plains of Limerick and the Golden Vale.
Since Limerick City and County Council took over the management of the Great Southern Greenway Limerick in 2015, the local authority has embarked on a multi-million euro re-development of the 39km route.
A range of other upgrades already funded by Limerick City and County Council and the Hinterland fund have included crossing points, fencing, track surfacing, bridges and signage.