13 August 2015
Munster’s first ever Blueway was launched earlier this week (11th August) in Bantry . The Bantry Blueway will take paddlers on a 2km, 6km or 9km water trail in the picturesque Bantry Harbour in West Cork and encompasses up to seven different points, starting at Abbey Slipway and taking in Whiddy Island before moving across to Reenbeg Point and back via Railway Pier.
Pictured at the launch of Bantry Blueway are John Mullins, Chairman Bantry Bay Port Company; Michael Murphy, Deputy Harbour Master Bantry Bay Port Company; Cllr Joe Carroll, Deputy County Mayor; Dr Vera O'Donovan, FLAG; Capt Paul O’Regan, Harbour Master Bantry Bay Port Company and Brendan Keating, CEO Bantry Bay Port Company. Bantry Blueway is Munster’s first ever Blueway water trail, taking paddlers around the picturesque Bantry Harbour in West Cork.
The Bantry Blueway can be enjoyed by all ages and abilities as paddlers can choose from three trails that are designed for varying levels of experience from beginners, intermediate and advanced. Blueways are water paths or trails that are developed with launch points, camping locations and points of interest for canoeists, paddle boarders and kayakers. Blueways are developed to encourage recreation, ecological education and preservation of wildlife resources. Blueways is now a recognised international brand; kayakers and other water users actively seek out official trails which are vetted and approved, giving confidence to the user that the trail is safe for all levels of ability.
Speaking at the launch of the Bantry Blueway, John Mullins, Chairman of Bantry Bay Port Company said “Bantry Bay Port Company is delighted to be launching Munster’s first ever Blueway here in Bantry. As part of our commitment to marine leisure in Bantry, Bantry Bay Port Company are delighted to bring forward this trail which will allow both locals and visitors to experience the beauty of Bantry Bay and West Cork in a safe and friendly environment. This project has been developed over the last number of months by Bantry Bay Port Company in partnership with Waterways Ireland, the Irish Sports Council National Trails Office, Canoeing Ireland, BIM and Failte Ireland.
“Bantry Blueway has the potential to have a very positive impact on the local economy. With the market for adventure and marine tourism on the rise here in Ireland and internationally, Bantry is in a prime position to benefit from this trend. I am confident that we will see visitors from across Ireland and abroad visiting Bantry to enjoy not only the Blueway but also the many other activities and events that Bantry and the West Cork region has to offer.”
Also speaking at the launch, Josephine O’Driscoll, from Failte Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way team, said “The wild Atlantic Way is all about immersive and interactive activities which allow visitors to really get to know – and enjoy – Ireland’s rugged yet beautiful landscapes. The launch of this coastal Blueway in Bantry Harbour offers a very welcome new visitor experience along the Wild Atlantic Way which will enable visitors to engage and explore the coastline in a safe and enjoyable way with a fabulous view of Bantry as a backdrop”.
Dr Vera O’Donovan of FLAG who supported Bantry Bay Port Company in bringing this project to fruition said “The South West Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) facilitated by Bord Iascaigh Mhara is delighted to support Bantry Bay Port Company in the Bantry Blue Way. This project marries together key elements of the South West FLAG's Local Integrated Development Strategy in supporting Marine Leisure infrastructure that allows people to access the marine resource for leisure but also appreciate the role of fishing and aquaculture to the economy of Bantry. It is hoped that this initiative will serve as a template for similar projects in the South West to bring economic benefits to coastal communities.”