New Walking Route Could Open Up Cork Harbour’s Forgotten Eastern Shore

By Seamus Whelehan

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The East Cork Coast could soon offer one of the finest and most accessible walking and biking trails in Ireland.

A push to improve public access to East Cork’s wealth of scenic coastline has taken a step forward, linking Ballinacurra’s South Quay to Youghal’s Front Strand
Cork County Council Heritage Department are said to be aware of the route which has the potential to open up the entire East Cork peninsular region.
It is understood that Cllrs are to be asked next month if there is space for a Blue Way to connect the development of the Midleton to Youghal Greenway, which is due to break ground in the coming weeks.
Connecting with the Greenway at Garryvoe, the trail could continue along the shore to Ballycotton where a 20km Coast Guard Trail linking the fishing village to Roche’s Point, could be reopened.
This Trail, which dates back to 1826, was used by the Coast Guard Service to try and prevent the smuggling of wine and tobacco.
Many parts of the track have been eroded over time but, where possible, the course could be rerouted as per discussions with the land owner.
The Trail could possibly continue over land at Carlisle into White Bay and onto the people’s path in Whitegate. It could continue onto Saleen, where the local community is working with Irish Water and Coillte to create paths within its wetland wastewater park.
The multi-million Euro Irish Water project is set to cover 30 acres of land close to Saleen, and will replace a septic tank serving the village which is operating at limited capacity.
Designed to look and function as a natural wetland does, the plan is to pump the wastewater from the area through a series of treatment ponds, before it joins the ground water.
From Saleen the Trail could continue along the road at Rathcoursey, before connecting to a Boardwalk at Loughatalia leading onto Ballinacurra’s south quay, four kilometers away.
Loops could be developed along the route to suit all abilities and disabilities, with a guide pointing out the heritage of the area, its flora and fauna.
If developed, the new track would have a significant impact on the entire East Cork region, and not just the towns and villages directly on the coastline. Once fully developed the Blue Way could attract tourists to the broader East Cork area giving an economic boost to places such as Midleton, and all its hinterland not on the coast.
A Public Meeting is proposed for September, at which all interested parties and groups will be asked for their support.
More details will appear in the East Cork Journal.

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