Barnagh Tunnel is now part of Great Southern Greenway

Mary Hartigan who grew up at Barna Railway Station performs the official opening of the Old Barna Tunnel with her cousin Fr Paddy O'Donovan, his nephew Minister of State Patrick O'Donovan and Mayor Michael Sheahan. Photo: Marie Keating

LIMERICK City and County Council has announced the re-opening of the Barnagh Tunnel, completing the latest phase of the re-development of the Great Southern Greenway.

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.

The 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.

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.

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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.

The works were funded from the Hinterland Fund and the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund with monies matched by Limerick City and County Council.

Mayor of Limerick City and County, Cllr Michael Sheahan said: “The opening of the Barnagh Tunnel marks an important stage in the development of the Great Southern Greenway Limerick into a world class amenity for the people of Limerick and further afield.  By having this Limerick Greenway open means people of all ages can get that all-important exercise hit while viewing some beautiful scenery.”