West Limerick community set for its day in the sun

Get Involved judges to visit local entry

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

West Limerick community set for its day in the sun

A group of walkers are pictured on the Cobbs Road as they start the Gorthnaclohy Loop section of the Broadford/Ashford Walks

A COMMUNITY is getting ready for a big day as it prepares to represent Limerick in a national competition with a €10,000 prize pot.

Judges from Get Involved will descend on the West Limerick village of Broadford this Friday to take a closer look at a community project which has united two parishes.

The Broadford/Ashford Walking trails community project, which has seen routes re-established along some of the most scenic parts of West Limerick, has made it to the final six entries in Get Involved as this newspaper’s entry.

An initiative of Local ireland, Get Involved is designed to promote voluntary and sustainable projects.

The winning project will be given a bursary of €5,000, with two further prizes of €1,500 and €500 for the second and third prizes respectively.

A further prize of €3,000 is being made for a community energy champion.

Reaching the final six has earned the Broadford/Ashford community a visit from the competition judges, led by top environmentalist Duncan Stewart.

Committee member Corina Sheedy insists the group will “pull out all the stops” to win the contest.

”The mood is upbeat. We are excited about welcoming the judges to the area and showcasing the very best the trails have to offer. Hopefully the weather will help us out on the day,” she smiled.

Founded in 2014, the walking trails group has upgraded six nationally recognised trails within the Mullaghareirk mountain range around the village. Varying in distance, these have been carefully picked to provide spectacular views over Co. Limerick with all routes fully waymarked with storyboards.

The judges will be taken to the top of one of the trailheads, and will also view a special fairy village set up in the forest, and walk a portion.

All the while, they will meet local community representatives.

“We are going to give the judges the background to the development of the trails and the history of the villages of Broadford and Ashford. We are going to take the judges out onto part of the Gleann Beag Loop Trail so they can see for themselves the unique beauty of the area,” Corina explains.

Asked what made their entry stand out, she added: “We highlighted the huge level of support from landowners and the wider community in getting the trails developed. I think this will have resonated with the judges.”

After the judges’ visit, around nine people from the area will head to the Get Involved final in Dublin next Thursday, where they will give a Dragons Den style pitch in an effort to win the overall prize.