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Saddle up, you won’t be waiting furlong!

Thursday, 14th May, 2020 11:43am

Tourists and locals will be galloping to a new amenity when it officially opens later this year.

Ireland’s first horse trail, the Beara Bridle Way, straddles Cork and Kerry and overlooks 17 kilometres of rugged mountainous scenery and spectacular seascapes with dazzling views of the West Cork Islands.

Horse riders of all experience can undertake the trail, by availing of trekking services provided by local riding services.

The trail was completed with the assistance of Cork County Council while it’s managed by Beara Tourism.

The trail, spanning from Castletownbere to Allihies was developed following a successful Rural Economic Development Zones (REDZ) funding application with Cork County Council as lead partners.

The total cost of the project was €83,000, with a €53,000 contribution from REDZ and Cork County Council funding the balance. As part of the trail, Cork County Council has also erected a bridge at a cost of €96,000 in Caminches, Allihies for safety reasons.

This was funded largely by the Department of Rural and Community Development’s Local Improvement Scheme Grant, with matched funding from Cork County Council and local landowners.

Jim O’Sullivan, Beara Tourism explained the process involved in developing the trail: “The project was initiated in 2016. The first step was to reach out to the British Horse Society who came to the area and carried out an assessment. As there were no other officially recognised horse trails in the country, it was important that we followed the correct procedures.

“We were given a list of criteria which included a large number of actions for Cork County Council to complete and then, with their assistance, we were delighted to get funding from the REDZ scheme. After infrastructural works were completed earlier this year, we got official approval and endorsement from the British Horse Society and Sports Island, which means that the trail is now considered ready to go. We certainly couldn’t have completed the project without the tremendous support we received from Cork County Council,” he added.

Mayor of the County of Cork Cllr Ian Doyle welcomed news of the trail’s completion. He added: “The Beara Bridle Way gives Cork county yet another touristic advantage in this emerging market. The impacts of Covid-19 have affected the tourism industry severely, but sustainable initiatives such as this will place Cork county in a strong position for recovery, once Government restrictions are lifted.

“What better way to explore the Wild Atlantic Way and the maritime haven that is pure Cork than on horseback!”

Further details are available at bearabridleway.com.

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