Southern Trail News...

Great Southern Trail Greenway Christmas Walk. 27/12/18

Close to 100 people of all ages enjoyed the annual 27 December Great Southern Trail Greenway Christmas Walk. This year the 9km walk/cycle route along the old railway was from Tullig Wood, Templeglantine to Abbeyfeale. The participants were ferried to the starting point by Coach House Travel courtesy coach thanks to Phelim & Margaret Kinahan and the ever obliging driver, Pat Liston.

The weather was spring-like and enabled everyone to admire and enjoy the surrounding countryside. At journey's end there were copious quantities of delicious mince pies to be enjoyed in the homely atmosphere of Leen's Hotel and the personal attention of Olive, Mary and the team. See photos

€2.7m to Limerick Greenway

Under the Rural Regeneration and Development scheme, €2.72m has been earmarked for major developments along the 40km greenway from Rathkeale to the Kerry border. Read more

limerick 2-7m funding-for-county-limerick-greenway-hailed-as-major-and-historic-investment

Greenway Christmas Walk

The annual Christmas Walk along the Great Southern Trail Greenway will take place on Thursday 27th December 2018. Assembly is at the large carpark behind Leen's Hotel, Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick between 12.30pm and 1.30pm . The hotel is on the N21 and the public bus services stop a few hundred metres from the hotel. The Bus Éireann services from Tralee via Listowel at 11.00 and from Limerick at 11.35 are recommended.

Walkers will be transferred by Coach House Travel courtesy shuttle coach from Leen's Hotel car park to Tullig Wood/Devon Road from where they will have a choice of either a 5.75 miles [9km] or 4.5 miles [7km] stroll, mostly along the old railway, back to Leen's Hotel where they can enjoy seasonal mince pies, whipped cream and tea/coffee at their leisure.

All walkers must wear visibility vests as the final kilometre is through the streets of Abbeyfeale and involves crossing the busy N21 which must be crossed at the zebra crossing close to the hotel. Cyclists, with visibility gear and lights, are also welcome and we suggest that they also meet at the hotel at 12.30 and cycle outwards along the Greenway for approximately one hour towards Barnagh or beyond and then return in time to enjoy the refreshments. We recommend that cyclists also wear a helmet for their own safety. Nollaig Shona do gach éinne agus beidh fáilte romhat ar an 27ú.

A Ramble On GST

Attached article is a lovely account in the Irish language of a ramble along the Great Southern Greenway. The article is from the October Deireadh Fómhair edition of the magazine 'Feasta' and is reproduced with permission.


Kerry County Council Manager's Reports

Attached are the Kerry County Council Manager's reports to the elected Councillors on the Fenit and Listowel Greenways.

They contain a lot of information including maps and photographs. Also included are the 350 or so submissions on the project with over 300 of these being from the general public.

The GST very much appreciates the input of our supporters through these submissions. Many of you included your wish to see the Fenit and Listowel Greenways extended along the remaining 27km of the old railway through Ardfert, Abbeydorney and Lixnaw. The positive response to these suggestions by the County Manager, Moira Murrell, is very heartening and we hope that the Council will seek funding in the near future as other Greenways are also planning extensions and Government funds are not bottomless!

We hope you enjoy browsing through the reports. Part VIII Report Tralee Fenit Greenway and Part VIII Report North Kerry Greenway Issued Final

Councillors Approve Plans For Greenway in North Kerry

COUNCILLORS in the Listowel Municipal District have approved plans for the development of a 10.5km greenway from Listowel to the Limerick County Bounds. The North Kerry Greenway will be developed along a disused railway line which is in the ownership of Kerry County Council and will link up with the Great Southern Trail which extends from Abbeyfeale for 40km into County Limerick. Rear More

Damien Enright: Reclaiming of railways for walking began in the 1980s

With land for walking and cycling routes in Kerry now being bought by compulsory purchase order, it’s a shame that the efforts of the first developers of abandoned Irish railway routes aren’t recognised. Read More


The European Greenways Association (EGWA) was constituted in 1998 with the aim of encouraging the development of Greenways in Europe and this summer it celebrated its 20th birthday in Namur, Belgium where it was founded. Namur nestles on the banks of Sambre and Meuse rivers: about two hours drive from Brussels.

From humble beginnings EGWA is now Europe's leading light when it comes to the advancement of Greenways.

The Great Southern Trail Ltd. (GST) is a double award winning member of EGWA having been recognised for its endeavours over many years of dedication in converting the once abandoned railway line into a user friendly local amenity for young and old to enjoy. Denis McAuliffe, Vice Chair, represented the GST in Namur.

Pictured are some of the delegates who on the final day of the convention got to cycle the Greenway in Namur and Denis (kneeling in front row ) also went along for the cycle and was amazed to see how much Namur had bought into the Greenway as a tourist attraction.

Denis especially enjoyed the group visit to a strawberry museum as traditionally Namur grows the finest of multiple varieties of strawberries and the museum is conveniently alongside the Greenway. The Great Southern Greenway could also similarly benefit the towns along the route in West Limerick if a proper sales and marketing strategy of the scenic route is ever put in place.

Greenways National Strategy 2019-2021 & Great Southern Greenway.

Liam O'Mahony, Cathaoirleach, Great Southern Trail Ltd.(GST), met with Tourism, Transport & Sport Minister Shane Ross and Kieran Mulvey, Chairman, Sport Ireland at the launch of the National Greenway Strategy in the old railway station at Moate, Co. Westmeath on Friday 20 July 2018.

An integral part of the Greenway Strategy is the emphasis on the importance of developing "National Greenways" of at least 100km in length and also the use of "Lower-Trafficked roads" to enhance the attractiveness of the entire recreational experience for locals and tourists alike.

Mr. O'Mahony stressed to Minister Ross and to Minister of State, Brendan Griffin, that these objectives are ad idem with the GST's longstanding endeavours of completing the entire West Limerick-North Kerry railway route into a National Greenway and therefore he hoped that the Department would be supportive of relevant applications by the respective Local Authorities.

He expressed the hope that Kerry County Council would immediately begin public consultation on the 27km Listowel- Lixnaw-Abbeydorney- Ardfert-Tralee railway route that they now own: thereby adding connectivity to their current Listowel and Fenit projects.
Mr.O'Mahony also advocated that Limerick City & County Council should make use of minor local roads to connect Patrickswell/Adare/ Curraghchase/Cappagh with the existing Great Southern Greenway at Ballingrane/Rathkeale.
The Great Southern Greenway is part of the Trans-European Atlantic Coastal Route, "EuroVelo1", which has great potential for attracting foreign tourism.
[Liam O Mahony 0876471956]

Great Southern Trail day trip to West Cork.

Continuing with our visits to Greenways and old railway walkways we will set out on Saturday 1st September at 8.30a.m. from the Market Yard, Newcastle West for West Cork.

Breakfast in Cork City will be followed by a tour through Kinsale, Ballinspittle, Garrettstown Beach and Timoleague with ample stops along the way.

From Timoleague, with its 13th century Franciscan Abbey, we will walk the 5km route of the old railway to Courtmacsherry. [For those who wish to get more exercise they may continue for another hour or so along a very nice grass path called the "Fuchsia Walk" which has lovely sea views].

It was from Courtmacsherry that the lifeboat set out in 1915 in an attempt to rescue survivors from the Lusitania. Dinner will be served at the Courtmacsherry Hotel which was once the home of an Earl.

We will return to Newcastle West via Innishannon; home of Alice Taylor. The all-in cost is €50. Book with Pat Condon, 06962344 (5-6pm only) Upper Maiden St., Newcastle West. Fáilte roimh gach éinne.

Family Cycle

Fáilte to all ages this Sunday (17th June) at 5pm for a Greenway family cycle commencing at Abbeyfeale's Old Railway Station. Bring your own bike or contact if you need to hire a bike. A great opportunity for our neighbours across the Kerry Border to experience the delights of Greenways which will hopefully become a reality for Fenit, Tralee, Kilmorna and Listowel in the near future.


World Bicycle Day - Sunday 3rd June - Great Southern Greenway Limerick Event

A family cycle will be taking place on Sunday 3rd June. As well as celebrating World Bicycle Day, Limerick City County Council are also launching the town loops for each of the towns along the route. We hope that will assist the ongoing development of the Greenway. See Poster

Kerry County Council is holding a public consultation day regarding the proposed North Kerry Greenway – Listowel to Limerick County Bounds (Sluicequarter).

Venue Date Time
Fenit Parish Centre
Wednesday 23rd May 2018 11am - 8pm
Listowel Arms Hotel
(Greenville Room)
Thursday 24th May 2018 11am - 8pm

Maps of the route of the proposed greenway will be on display for inspection throughout the day. Kerry County Council officials will be available to discuss any aspect of the project on a one-to-one basis with landowners and interested parties during the hours specified above.

Eoghan O’Brien
Senior Executive Engineer,
Capital Infrastructure Unit,
Kerry County Council,
Princes Street,
V92 YX54

Irish Times: Walk for the Weekend" features the 17km Newcastle West- Rooskagh Loop including the Great Southern Greenway and minor roads

Walk for the weekend: Another greenway to try in Co Limerick

Visit to Barnagh Tunnel

Visiting Greenway experts from England and Wales, Chris Grimshaw, David Hall, David Judd and John Grimshaw enjoyed a cupán tae at Barnagh Tunnel during their visit to the Great Southern Trail (GST)on 13 April 2018.(see photo)

This was John's first visit to the tunnel since he wrote his comprehensive report on the construction of the Greenway thirty years ago. He looks forward to the tunnel being fully integrated into the GST in line with his proposals of 1988 as it is such an iconic feature of the old railway line.

Greenways illustrated lecture in Abbeyfeale

On Friday 13 April 2018 there was a large attendance at the Glórach Theatre, Abbeyfeale for the presentation by Greenways expert John Grimshaw from Bristol.

Thirty years ago John carried out the initial study recommending the conversion into a Greenway of the former railway from Ballingrane (near Rathkeale) to Tralee.

This was John's first time cycling the Great Southern Trail and he was accompanied by three fellow experts on their tour of several Irish Greenways.

His illustrated talk in Abbeyfeale which was organised by the Great Southern Trail Ltd. (GST voluntary group) attracted an audience from near and far.

Photo: L to R. Damien Ó Tuama, Dublin (; David Judd, Swansea (Greenway expert); Seán Thornton, Lixnaw; Kathleen Leddin, Limerick; Michael Guerin, Listowel (GST North Kerry Convenor); Róisín Ní Ghaorbhith, Clare; John Grimshaw, Bristol; Liam O'Mahony, Newcastle West (Cathaoirleach GST); Brian Leddin, (Limerick Cycling Campaign).


Great Southern Trail Annual May Bank Holiday Day Trip

A Coach will depart the Market Yard, Newcastle West on Monday 7th May at 7am for a visit to walk/cycle sections of the very scenic Great Western Greenway in the Achill area of County Mayo.

Breakfast and evening dinner en route will be included in the €60 cost (but bike hire will be extra). Due back in Newcastle West at 11pm. Payment to Pat Condon, Upr. Maiden St., Newcastle West. 069 62344 (5-6pm). Cheques payable to Great Southern Trail Ltd.

Beidh fáilte romhat!

Presentation by John Grimshaw

On Friday 13th April 2018 at 8pm the Great Southern Trail Ltd. will host a presentation in the Glórach Theatre, Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick [alongside the Church on the N21].

The presenter will be John Grimshaw a pioneer of Greenway developments for over forty years. John and a few associates are visiting several Irish Greenways and the Great Southern had to be on their itinerary because it was John who walked the entire Ballingrane [Rathkeale] to Tralee route in the late 1980's during his survey of what was intended to be Ireland's first Greenway. Attached the comprehensive survey.

He, and his colleagues will cycle from Rathkeale to the Kerry Border and they are delighted to hear of the positive developments which will hopefully see the Greenway extended into North Kerry in the not too distant future.

John will outline his experiences in developing Greenways and the multiple benefits that accrue to communities as a result. For both dedicated Greenway enthusiasts and those who wish to inform themselves this will be a rewarding evening. Beidh fáilte roimh gach éinne.

Further dates for the diary:

[A] Coach trip to walk/cycle Mayo Greenway departing Newcastle West, Market Yard, 7am Bank Holiday Monday 7th May, due back 11pm. €60 includes transport, breakfast and evening dinner but not bike hire. Monies to Pat Condon, Upper Maiden St., Newcastle West : Tel. (5-6pm) 06962344

[B] Friday 25 May RTE1 T.V. " Nationwide" will feature the attractions of Newcastle West including the Great Southern Greenway

Barnagh Tunnel project in west Limerick likely to be delayed

ALMOST 11,000 walkers and close to 2000 cyclists have used the Great Southern Greenway since sensors were installed last July.


"Friends of the Great Southern Trail" Meeting: Leen's Hotel, Abbeyfeale; 8pm Thursday 15 February 2018.

Beidh fáilte romhat on Thursday 15th February at Leen's Hotel, Abbeyfeale at 8pm to meet and discuss the latest developments along the Great Southern Greenway.

2018 is scheduled to witness positive developments in both Limerick and Kerry by the local authorities. In Limerick the iconic Barnagh Tunnel is to become directly accessible from the Greenway through the provision of an underpass of the N21 road. The County Limerick 40km Greenway has already been upgraded and made more 'cycle friendly' by Limerick City & County Council since they took over management from the voluntary group, Great Southern Trail Ltd., over two years ago.

Recently the 10km section from the Limerick Border to Listowel has been cleared of vegetation by Kerry County Council who now own 50km+ of the old North Kerry railways. Further progress on development of the Listowel section is expected to follow as soon as is feasible. There are also positive signals regarding the extending of the existing Tralee Urban Greenway to Fenit.

The Great Southern Trail Ltd.(GST) and its Friends will continue to be advocates for the Greenway and the meeting in Abbeyfeale will discuss our strategy of support for 2018.

The GST is affiliated to the national advocacy body "" and also to the European Greenways Association whose Conference was held in Adare in September 2017 where both Limerick City & County Council and the GST were recipients of awards. The GST also arranges visits to Ireland's other railway Greenways with the Great Western route from Westport to Achill in the diary for Bank Holiday Monday 7th May.


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Contact: Secretary, Great Southern Trail, Gortbui, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick, Ireland. Email Us
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