A NEW Ballyhoura walking trail linking Castleconnell and Montpelier aims to attract more tourists.
Locals have already mapped out the walk which could prove a big hit with nature lovers.
Cllr Michael Sheahan said Castleconnell and Montpelier have untapped tourist potential.
“There are other lovely official walking trails in the locality but this is the first one that goes behind the World’s End and along by the river up to Montpelier.
“Like in the city we are looking more towards the river. We are trying to harness the potential of the river and the riverbank,” said Cllr Sheahan.
The beauty of these walks is that there needs to be very little money spent and huge returns from tourists staying in the area, he says. Mike Noonan, Ballyhoura, contacted Cllr Sheahan with the idea of the walking trail to link in with the Ballyhoura International Walking Festival over the May Bank Holiday weekend.
He contacted Castleconnell Historical Society, Tidy Towns and Montpelier Development Association with the idea of linking the two villages in the same parish.
Once mapped the trail will be put on the official walking trail website.
“We would hope to eventually develop the riverbank itself from Castleconnell to Montpelier and that the riverbank itself could be opened up to walking and cycling possibly.
“The scenery is beautiful and there is huge potential to link up with other trails in O’Brien’s Bridge and Clonlara,” said Cllr Sheahan, who hopes that in the future it could be a destination of choice for walkers from Ireland and Europe - a growing market.
Cllr Sheahan set off to map the trail with Mike Noonan, Paddy Tuohy, Vincent Warfield, Joe Ryan, John Morgan, Tom Culhane and Ger Carmody.
“It’s a lovely walk. We followed the river as closely as we could from the World’s End into Montpelier. It took about three hours in total to go and return. There is no uphill bit and the views are stunning,” said Cllr Sheahan, who will get in touch with relevant bodies regarding installing stiles and crossing points.
Once everything is in place they will hold the official walk during the international festival on Saturday, May 4 from the ACM Centre. Paddy Tuohy will be on hand to point out the many features of historical interest.
“The Great Limerick Run takes place on Sunday so we hope some will ramble over to us on Saturday. The new walking trail is an attempt to open up Castleconnell and Montpelier to tourists from outside the region, and show them all that the area is has to offer from a nature, scenic beauty, wildlife and walking point of view,” said Cllr Sheahan.