The Proposed Castlegregory Maharees Blueway
The Proposed Castlegregory Maharees Blueway “The northern area of the [Dingle] peninsula possesses a wealth of natural and heritage assets that must be harnessed to counteract the challenge of development of year-round tourism activity i.e. through an enhanced activity base.” Dingle Peninsula Visitor Experience Development Plan (Fáilte Ireland).
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A blueway is:
A network of approved and branded multi-activity recreational trails and sites, based on, and closely linked with the water, together with providers facilitating access to activities and experiences. Blueways will typically include a combination of: Walking Trails, Cycling Trails – off road / segregated trails, Paddling Trails / Sites–Canoeing / kayaking / Stand Up Paddle boarding, Snorkelling Trails / Sites , Sailing and Windsurfing Sites may also be included. (Blueways Ireland 2019) *Aimed at the dabbler (someone who is sampling/ not an expert). *Though water sports form a vital part of the offering, walking is the most popular activity. *Multi-activity experiences are of critical importance. *Consider the ‘Eat, Stay, Go’ philosophy.
There is considerable potential to develop a Blueway in the Castlegregory and Maharees area. It boasts a variety of coastal walks and activities; an extensive set of experienced activity providers, as well considerable marine-tourism infrastructure. A Castlegregory Maharees Blueway can become a catalyst for sustainable tourism development in the area. The development of a Blueway is aligned with the Visitor Experience Development Plan for the Dingle Peninsula (Fáilte Ireland, 2019), the Dingle Peninsula Marine Tourism Strategy, and the Kerry County Council Draft Local Area Plan for the Dingle area (2020).
A Castlegregory Maharees Blueway will:
1. Give the area recognition as a destination in its own right. It will package and brand the already extensive set of activities and amenities available in the area which will support a strategic marketing effort.
2. Act as a catalyst for an upgrade of the service and accommodation standards in the area and will also serve to increase the range of services and accommodation in the area through training and other development initiatives.
3. Extend the tourist season and provide economic sustainability for many businesses and will provide a longer employment season for the many seasonal workers in the community.
4. Serve to distribute the benefits from tourism more evenly throughout the Dingle Peninsula by achieving spatial dispersion of visitors across the Dingle Peninsula.
5. Act as a catalyst for the destination to work with Local Link providers to transport visitors from neighbouring towns to the area as well as working with Kerry-based clubs and organisations and the Kerry Local Sports Partnership.
6. Facilitate a more considered and managed development of the area through collaborative effort between government agencies regarding an enhancement of existing facilities and the provision of additional facilities (such as a Water Sports Hub and access to the beaches along Brandon Bay).