The Blueway Flagship Initiative was launched in June 2016 and is bringing tourism to the rural areas of Cavan, Leitrim, Longford and Roscommon, connecting 22 towns and villages located alongside the River Shannon and the Shannon-Erne Waterway, through a blueway. Blueways are a network of approved and branded multi-activity trails on and alongside the river and canal, allowing access to cycling, walking, canoeing and paddle-boarding along the route.
Creating a strong tourism proposition for the Blueway Flagship required extensive cooperation between public bodies, tourism businesses and local communities. The Upper Shannon Erne Future Economy (USEFE) project – a partnership between the four local authorities in conjunction with Waterways Ireland and supported by Bord na Móna and the ESB – has been instrumental in coordinating product development and marketing activities. The USEFE was established to show how business led regional development can help generate economic growth and job creation in the area.
Together the Shannon and Shannon-Erne Blueways offer over 200km of paddling trails, over 70km of walking trails and over 50km of cycling trails, all located beside some of the most beautiful riverine and canal landscapes in the country. The Government’s REDZ programme provided assistance to develop the capacity of the communities and businesses in the towns and villages along the Blueway.