Chiamaka Chikezie and Orla Murphy from Scoil Mhuire Co.Meath pictured at the official launch of the Boyne Blueway in Trim.

Boyne Blueway one of the first in the world to to receive official accreditation

The Boyne Blueway has been announced as one of the first blueways in the world to achieve official accreditation.

Blueways are a brand-new outdoor recreation offering currently unique to Ireland, encouraging the use of lakes, canals, rivers and coastal environments for walking, cycling, swimming, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding while engaging with nature and heritage.

The Boyne Blueway joins the Suir Blueway Tipperary and the Lough Derg Blueway in receiving the accreditation. The Boyne Blueway stretches from Inchamore Bridge near Longwood through the town of Trim itself and on to Bective Mill.

Fáilte Ireland research shows that 73 per cent of domestic tourists engaged in outdoor activities, ranging from walking and hiking, to swimming, kayaking and canoeing, on their most recent overnight trip.

The official accreditation of Blueways responds to this growing public demand for quality outdoor infrastructure close to water and nature. It will ensure Blueways will be a magnet for visitors and local residents seeking high-quality outdoor experiences.

The Blueway accreditation has been developed by Fáilte Ireland, Sport Ireland, Waterways Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland.

An official accreditation will ensure all Blueways will be developed to a consistent high standard from a technical and safety perspective and will deliver best in class sustainable visitor experiences.

The three Blueways that have received accreditation have been developed by Waterways Ireland and Local Authorities in line with the accreditation criteria and are now considered best-in-class destinations for water-based and water-side activities.

Commenting on the accreditation, Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin said: "Under the Programme for Government, we committed to investing in and promoting Blueways and recreational trails for the benefit of local communities and tourists alike. The newly accredited Blueways will open up Meath, Tipperary, Clare and Galway to water-based and water-side activities."

Meath County Council, Cathaoirleach Cllr Sean Drew added: “During the last two years, we have seen a demand for outdoor recreation opportunities like never before, this Blueway will greatly assist in helping to maintain and build on this. By developing and enhancing the fantastic natural amenities in our rural communities more and more people can access and enjoy them.

“The benefit to local businesses and the increase in visitors to the area is something we try to encourage and the Blueway is a great example of this and one which I am happy to support.”

Fáilte Ireland CEO Paul Kelly added: “Opening up the outdoors is a key strategic priority for Fáilte Ireland, and these accredited Blueways are another outstanding addition to our portfolio of outdoor activity infrastructure. They will tap into domestic and international activity and leisure tourism markets, reaping economic benefits for Meath, Clare, Galway and Tipperary, and other locations around the country as more Blueways receive accreditation.

John McDonagh CEO of Waterways Ireland said “Waterways Ireland welcomes the accreditation and launch of the Boyne, Suir and Lough Derg Blueways today.

“Blueways positively change the relationship between local communities and their waterscape by creating active engagement and participation, as well as business opportunities which local communities and tourists can all enjoy."