Minister Mary Butler Launches The Strategic Plan 2024-2028 For St Declan’s Way

543

Minister Mary Butler, TD for Waterford, visited Cashel on Friday to launch the Strategic Plan 2024-2028 for St Declan’s Way. The new “Pilgrim Path” runs  115 kilometres from the Rock of Cashel in Co. Tipperary to Ardmore in Co. Waterford.  St Declan’s Way connects two significant sites in Ireland’s early Christian history.  This route, inspired by St. Declan’s Journey to confer with St. Patrick, offers a unique blend of historic and spiritual heritage with a journey through Ireland’s landscapes, from the lush tillage fields of the Golden Vale and the rugged terrain of the Knockmealdown Mountains to the serene rolling hills of West Waterford, culminating at the seaside in Ardmore.

The new Pilgrim Path is expected to be heavily used and to bring new economic benefits to the communities along the route. 60 land owners have enabled the project led by a Steering Committee established in 2015 with ongoing support from Knockmealdown Active, Tipperary County Council, Waterford City and County Council, South Tipperary Development Co., Waterford Leader Partnership, Munster Vales, and Fáilte Ireland. The Steering committee is chaired by Ms Gráinne Moynihan.

The new Strategic Plan outlines an extensive roadmap for enhancing the trail’s infrastructure, boosting visitor numbers and increasing its appeal to both domestic and international tourists. Key initiatives include hiring a development manager, improving off-road paths and launching targeted marketing campaigns aimed at capturing the growing interest in walking tourism. With an estimated investment of €2.4 million, the plan envisions attracting over 20,000 walkers annually by 2029, aiming to generate a significant economic impact estimated at €35.4 million.  The walking trail received extensive TV coverage last week as Ireland AM presenter Deric Ó h’Artagáin interviewed some of the participants walking last weekend as they set off from Cahir.  It is possible to walk the trail in sections over different dates at the convenience of the walker. Full details are available on the website St Declan’s Way.ie