First EuroVelo Cycle Route Signs arrive in Ireland
The National Trails Office (NTO) and Cyclist.ie are both involved in the development of EuroVelo routes in Ireland. The Donegal Route is the first section of signposted EuroVelo Route in Ireland.
The Donegal section of EuroVelo1 is just under 200km long, primarily on scenic rural roads. In 2012, Donegal County Council applied for and received funding under the National Cycle Network programme managed by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport in Ireland. The route was developed and signposted as the Donegal Cycle Route with the intention of being included as part of EuroVelo1. The route is very spectacular and, although all on road, 90% of the route is virtually traffic free, which makes for very pleasant and safe cycling. It is a Green Route rather than a Greenway, but is a wonderful cycling experience.
Other routes which are part of EuroVelo1 have been developed in Ireland such as the Great Western Greenway in Mayo and the Great Southern Trail in Limerick, both of which are traffic free sections of around 40km each along former railways. Further traffic free sections are being developed in Galway, Kerry and Waterford and should be open in the next 2 to 3 years.
Meanwhile a project is underway to formally define the entire EuroVelo1 Atlantic Route in Ireland from Donegal all the way to Wexford. While there are some traffic free sections in the pipeline much of the route will use quiet and scenic rural roads. While a conceptual route was previously identified and shown on the map it was never formally agreed by all stakeholders. The National Trails Office funded by the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport and supported by other members of the National EuroVelo Co-ordination Centre (NEVCC) including Cyclist.ie and Fáilte Ireland, are working with Local Authorities to identify and agree suitable roads to accommodate the route. When this process is completed, should funding become available, the entire route will already be agreed and signposting can quickly be put in place.
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