Despite the miserable weather, GAA, rugby and even great surf conditions over 100 people (and a good collection of dogs) came out on Sunday last for the 4th Walk the Line to call for the continuation of the Tralee to Fenit Greenway. The group braved the wind and rain and walked the completed section of the Greenway from the Big River out to Mounthawlk, where representatives of community groups, the Great Southern Trail and election candidates called time on excuses and demanded that work recommence on the route, before a group continued on further to the junction of the Feint and North Kerry railways.
With the general election campaign in full swing it was great to see a number of candidates for the Kerry constituency attend the walk and show their support for the project, those included, Donal Corcoran (Renua), Michael Fitzgerald (Green Party) and Brendan Griffin (Fine Gael). Apologies were also received from Arthur Spring (Labour), Martin Ferris (Sinn Fein) and John Brassil (Fianna Fail) who although unable to attend gave the full support for the project.
In 2009 Spa-Fenit parish council secured funding for a project that had been talked about or years, namely the redevelopment of the old Tralee to Fenit railway as a greenway.
By 2011 there was still no development with the project due to stories of ‘individuals’ claiming ownership of the state-owned land, lack of funding, planning issue and issues dealing with CIE. With fears that this project might never see the light of day a group of people young and old came out on a miserable October Sunday afternoon to Walk the Line, and despite the erection of barricades that’s what they did. Weeks before Christmas on an equally miserable Sunday people came out to Walk the Line again, this time not even a JCB and barbed wire could stop them… within months of these walks despite years of inaction, work began on the line, the fruits of which we can see today.
That was 2011, we now find ourselves in 2016 and despite a 500m extension to the train station the story is much the same, depending on who you talk to this lack of progress is down to ‘individuals’ claiming ownership of the state-owned land, lack of funding and planning issues, issues dealing with CIE or some combination of the above.
It took people power to get what we have today and if we want to see further progress we have to ensure that this project is not forgotten about.
If you wish to see progression of this trail to Fenit then make a stand, come Walk the Line this Sunday the 7th of February, meeting at St. Brendan’s Church 2.30 or a 3pm departure.
And remember politicians will also be calling to your door over the next few week, make sure you ask them about this project which could revitalise the area.
Neustock Media have produced a short video of some aerial views of the route of the old railway / proposed Greenway, the route looks amazing even in winter
Congratulations to St. Brendans NS Fenit who opened a covered cycle shelter as part of European Mobility Week and in pursuit of their 4th Green Flag, promoting walking, cycling and car-pooling as a means of travel to and from school.
Hopefully in the near future our children will be able to cycle and walk safely from home to school as the greenway would run right along the boundary of the school.
St Brendans NS marked red and the proposed Greenway marked green
GST group along the Tralee-Fenit railway in December 2004
After 25 years of tireless work developing the greenway along the old Tralee to Limerick railway the Great Southern Trail Limited have decided to cease managing the day to day running of the route.
For Limerick this makes a lot of sense as managing the route was proving taxing for a voluntary community group and it will be better managed and promoted by Limerick County Council.
This is great news for the Kerry too as the change of role will hopefully free up time and resources for the group to return to an advocacy role and to help realise of the rest of the route, from the Kerry border to Fenit.
The full statement is bellow, hat off to all involved for the great work, here to another 25 year, but hopefully it wont take that long !
The Directors of the Great Southern Trail Limited (GST) have decided to cease managing the Greenway as and from Sunday November 8th 2015 and their licence with CIÉ who are the owners of the Greenway will end. The GST thanks the Board of CIÉ for their vision in 2002 in facilitating the initial development of what was to become the first rural Greenway in Ireland along CIÉ property.
The GST is the only Greenway in Europe which is currently managed by a voluntary group. This fact had its origins over 25 years ago when the then State Agency, Shannon Development, withdrew from what had been their flagship and visionary Greenway project. As a result the prospect of the old Limerick-Tralee railway being reclaimed as farmland loomed large with the consequent loss of a very valuable State owned corridor. To safeguard the railway right of way the GST was founded and with excellent public support much of the old line was subsequently rejuvenated.
Initially only the 4km from Newcastle West to Ardagh was opened to the public as a walking route. Gradually, the GST was extended to 40km in West Limerick from Rathkeale westwards to the Kerry Border and upgraded to a cycleway. This success has placed a considerable onus on a volunteer group and despite the support of Community Employment, Rural Social and TÚS schemes the challenge of maintaining the Greenway to the standards demanded throughout the E.U. is a demanding one. In particular a very small number of farm crossings are the subject of unfavourable comment due to the difficulties encountered in keeping them clean.
In recent years all newly developed comparable Greenways have been managed by the respective local authorities. CIÉ has current partnership arrangements with Kerry, Waterford and Westmeath County Councils in respect of disused/abandoned railways that remain in CIÉ ownership and are also in negotiation with Kilkenny and Wexford County Councils about new projects. In fact it is probable that the entire Irish Greenway network will become part of the remit of the new Transport Infrastructure Service [TIS] when that organisation takes over the responsibilities of the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency.
In June the GST notified CIÉ and Limerick City & County Council (LCCC) of its intention to cease management of the Greenway and is confident that an arrangement will be forged between CIÉ and LCCC to ensure that the 40km of infrastructure in West Limerick will continue to be available to the public after November 7th. This is an amenity into which about €2 million has been invested by many State and local agencies including the GST Ltd. which has also contributed thousands of voluntary hours to the project.
The GST Ltd. will be happy to support any new management structure and to be represented on it. The GST will also assist in promoting the Greenway and its further extension along the old North Kerry railway to Tralee/Fenit and looks forward to a link also being provided from Limerick City westwards to the GST at Ballingrane/Rathkeale thereby providing an attractive 120km route from the city to the sea.
THE Destination Kerry Tourism Forum, the umbrella body for tourism in the county, established by Kerry County Council, organised a series of public meetings throughout the county in relation to the new Kerry Tourism Strategy, 2016-2020.
The forum visited Tralee on Tuesday May 12 and the notes of the public feedback from that meeting were published recently. It is inspiring to see that by far the most popular topic was Greenways and cycling walking facilities, with the Tralee to Fenit Greenway getting a couple of mentions specifically.
All these mentioned are highlighted in yellow bellow, with the lone mention of roofing the square in blue :)