Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys announces €6 million in funding to develop 200 outdoor adventure projects

 03 Aug 2022

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today (3rd August 2022) announced funding of almost €6 million to develop 200 outdoor adventure projects across Rural Ireland. 

  • Investment to attract visitors to mountain trails, forest walks, rivers, lakes and beaches 
  • Minister encourages people to get active outdoors and discover the ‘hidden gems’ in their County 

The investment, under the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS), will be key to enhancing our outdoor amenities such as our walkways, cycleways, rivers, lakes and beaches. 

It will also provide a major boost to local economies by attracting visitors and furthering our reputation as a destination for adventure tourism. 

As part of today’s announcement, almost €4.3 million will be used to improve some 163 outdoor amenities across the country. Each project will receive up to €30,000 to support their enhancement. 

Furthermore, funding will also be invested in 37 outdoor projects that are currently at the early stage of development. These projects are to receive funding of up to €50,000. 

Funding for larger scale projects under Measures 2 and 3 of the scheme will be announced by Minister Humphreys in the coming weeks.

Among the projects being funded under Measure 1 include: 

  • Fountainstown Carrigaline, Co. Cork: Improve access for water sport, as well landscaping works - €30,000
  • Ballyboy Forest, Co. Wicklow: Create a looped equestrian trail - €29,700
  • Kilrush, Co. Clare: Link the cycle routes from the town centre and along the nearby coastal roads - €21, 207
  • Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny: Upgrade Wood Road between the village and the River Barrow Amenity Area - €29,700 
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford: Enhancement of Open water swim amenities - €25,200 
  • Kincasslagh Tower, Co. Donegal: Upgrade access road to the signal tower and provide bench seating - €30,000 
  • Carrabane Forest Muddy Walks, Co Galway: "Feel the Forest" multi-use family trail at Carrabane Forest Walk - €29,250
  • Carlingford, Co. Louth: Carlingford Omeath Greenway Upgrade - €30,000 

Project Development Measures: 

  • Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford: Extend the Enniscorthy Riverside Walk - €49,500
  • Glen Wood Footbridge, Co. Sligo: Pedestrian suspension rope bridge/ footbridge - €50,000
  • Balbriggan, Co. Dublin: Feasibility study for a tidal swimming pool - €50,000 
  • Culdaff, Co. Donegal: Develop plans for pontoon at existing timber jetty near Bunagee in Culdaff

Announcing the funding, Minister Humphreys said: 

We’re at the height of the Summer and whatever the weather I know families are getting out and enjoying Ireland’s great outdoors. The funding I’m announcing today will support the further development of our greenways, blueways and hiking trails making them even more enjoyable places for families to visit. Every county will benefit from today’s announcement so if you’re a walker, a swimmer, a cyclist or even a fisherman – check out the list to see what’s happening in your county. Getting active in the fresh air outdoors can be a tonic for the body and soul and this was brought home to us all during the pandemic. Some of these amenities are often hidden gems on our doorsteps so I’m encouraging people to get out and discover them over the rest of the Summer.”

Minister Humphreys continued: 

Over the last number of years my Department has provided unprecedented investment in our outdoor amenities, underpinned by our most ambitious rural development policy in decades – ‘Our Rural Future’. Outdoor recreation tourism is a growing sector internationally, and has the potential to have major economic spin-off benefits for our rural towns and villages. My Department is at an advanced stage of developing the new National Outdoor Recreation Strategy which will underpin this investment and give it a platform for further growth.”

Details of Measure 1 projects and Project Development Measures announced today are available here.

Projects supported in Offaly include: -

  • Killeigh Wells (Tullamore MD, Offaly County Council)
  • Offaly Way (Birr MD, Offaly County Council)
  • Slieve Bloom Way (Birr MD, Offaly County Council)
  • Figile River Walk (Offaly Local Development Company)
  • Shinrone Sensory Nature Trail & Woodland Walk (Offaly Local Development Company)


Notes to Editors: Our Rural Future 

Our Rural Future is the whole-of-government policy for rural Ireland for the period 2021-2025 It represents a new milestone in the approach to rural development policy for Ireland and adopts a more strategic, ambitious and holistic approach to investing in and maximising opportunities for rural areas 

The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) provides funding as follows:

  • Measure 1: Small scale repair/development/promotion and marketing (up to €30,000 grant available)
  • Measure 2: Medium scale upgrade and new trail/amenity development (up to €200,000 grant available)
  • Measure 3: Large scale repair/upgrade and new strategic trail/amenity development (up to €500,000 grant available)
  • Project Development Measure: Development costs for strategic large scale Measure 2 or Measure 3 type projects e.g. detailed design, preparation for the planning and/or procurement, appropriate assessment etc. (up to €50,000 grant available)

Funding of up to 90% of the total approved project costs is awarded, with the additional 10% to be provided from other sources.

Further announcements expected on Measure 2 (medium-scale), Measure 3 (large-scale) before the end of the year.