Substantial grant awarded to Derryounce Lakes in Portarlington

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Derryounce walks in Portarlinton has received substantial grant

Derryounce walks in Portarlinton has received substantial grant

A nature reserve developed by the Portarlington community has been awarded a substantial grant for its development.

Derryounce Lakes and Trails on the Offaly side of the Laois town has been awarded €152,360 from the Department of Rural and Community Development.

The grant was announced this Friday February 21, one of 44 that got a total of €8.4 million. Laois did not feature in the projects.

Cllr Aidan Mullins is chairperson of Portarlington Community Development Association (PCDA) as well as chairman of the Derryounce Lakes sub committee.

He welcomed the grant, which they applied for in conjunction with Offaly County Council.

"It is great news. We've been developing Derryounce on a shoestring budget, mainly through fundraising. We always realised the potential to develop these walking trails. With the grant we will be able to enhance the experience for all our visitors. We will increase the standard of the walks, install benches and information boards. We will plant up to 300 trees and we hope to restore a section of the railway line as a feature. We also plant to install duck nest tubes on an island we hope to construct. We may also be able to enhance the angling facility," he said.

It is only the second grant awarded to the area which was once an industrial Bord na Móna bog and is now in a longterm lease to the PCDA. Walkways were built by them with the first grant of €64,500 given in 2016. Derryounce Bog was created in 1995, beside a larger lake, Lough Lurgan, and surrounded by woodlands and bog. 

It is now a wildlife sanctuary and popular local amenity, while anglers keep the lakes stocked for fishing.

A second Offaly project was also awarded funding. 

Clara Bog Trail got €72,000 for the extension of the existing link path in Clara Bog Nature Reserve.

A total of €8.4 million has been allocated to 44 projects, on foot of applications made in 2019 under Measures 2 and 3 of the Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.  The investment was approved by the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD.

No Laois projects were among those announced for funding.