Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme funding announcement for Offaly.

 24 Mar 2021

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys T.D., has announced a €500,000 grant for Kinnitty and the surrounding hinterland of West Offaly with significant match funding of €275,300 from Offaly County Council.

This project consists of the ‘Route to the Trails’ is to be a seamless, safe and attractive connecting cycle and pedestrian link from the centre of Kinnitty Village to the existing Mountain Bike trails and walking / hiking routes starting in the Kinnitty Forest behind Kinnitty Castle.  

The ‘Kinnitty Woods Loop’ a novice trail (2km). It will be a new component to the Slieve Bloom MTB trails (National Scale Centre) allowing younger and novice cyclists to develop cycling skills and confidence to promote use of the mountain bike trails. It will therefore increase the scope of the MTB offer to a wider audience. 

The “Rediscovering Castle Bernard’s Historic Bridges” aspect of the project is to further enhance the very extensive walking and hiking offer of the area (many waymarked walks start in the forest behind the Castle) and in particular to showcase aspects of the Kinnitty Castle Demesne’s fine outdoor heritage e.g. its historic bridges and associated demesne walks.

The CEO of Offaly County Council, Anna Marie Delaney said “I welcome the positive news of ORIS funding for Kinnitty and the wider Offaly hinterland to further develop the route to the existing Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Trails, to develop the Kinnitty Woods Novel 2km loop and the rediscovering of the Castle Bernard’s Historic Bridges.  The availability of world-class outdoor activities and experiences like trails and greenways will play a key role in tourism as we prepare for re-opening and recovery.”  She added “Outdoor recreation and activities play a key role in the development of sustainable tourism in Offaly, and this project will encourage tourists and locals alike to experience the unique Offaly countryside and natural environment.

Cathaoirleach, Cllr John Carroll added “The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme has provided invaluable investment for outdoor amenities and facilities in Offaly over the past 5 years and the resource of the Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Trails in Kinnitty continues to grow and grow.  This further €500,000 ORIS grant investment and €275,300 match funding from Offaly County Council is making a significant contribution to supporting healthy, active lifestyles while also building upon the economic and tourism potential of Kinnitty and the surrounding hinterland.”