There could be many more visitors coming to enjoy the outdoors in the Slieve Bloom mountains, if money is granted to install new direction signs.
Laois and Offaly county councils have jointly applied for funding of €300,000 to Fáilte Ireland, to pay for new signs leading to the trail heads for the Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Trails.
Laois County Council Director of Services for Finance Gerry Murphy said he is hopeful of receiving the funding.
“Laois and Offaly will each put in 10% of that funding. We are very hopeful of getting it.
“The Slieve Bloom Bike Trails are one of the biggest assets we have and will have in the future as additional paths are added,” he said at a recent council meeting.
The €5 million Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Trails are under construction by Coillte for the past 2.5 years, with short sections opened a year ago at the trail heads at Baunreagh near Mountrath in Laois, and Kinnitty village in Offaly. When finished they will offer 80kms of trails crossing the mountains and ranging in difficulty levels. Similar trails in other Coillte forests attract thousands of visitors and boost local economies.
Laois Council Council is paying €137,500 towards the cost of the trails from development levies gathered in the county over the next three years, as will Offaly.
Cllr James Kelly from Mountrath said that the existing signs to the mountains are poor.
“On the Laois side there is a lack of signage coming from Dublin. There is one sign that is very poor and small, the size of an A4 sheet, going into the trails.
The council CEO John Mulholland said efforts are underway to improve visitor facilities on the mountains.
“We are looking at that regarding signage, parking and facilities. There is a deliberate effort to delivering that to Laois and Offaly. “
An application has been made to Fáilte Ireland for €300,00 for road signage to lead to the Slieve Blooms.