Just outside Drogheda, along the banks of the mighty River Boyne lies the site of an historic event involving two groups of passionate people dressed in protective garments and with an array of equipment that raised the eyebrows of bystanders. This event was to change the course of history.
This event occurred on a rainy Sunday in August last, and involved volunteer groups from Drogheda and Navan who came together to fight for the Boyne Greenway.
People on Wheels … ASSEMBLE!
Community groups from Meath and Louth came together on 27th August to cycle the Boyne Greenway and call for this unique leisure and tourism resource to be delivered with the urgency it deserves.
A large group of all ages and abilities braved the damp weather to cycle along the completed section between Drogheda and the Battle of the Boyne centre at Oldbridge.
Heads were turned on the Greenway as walkers and joggers were delighted to see two “velomobiles” navigating the 5 kilometre route, accompanied by a diverse group from seven to seventy with the future generation of cyclists joining on child seats.
History of the Greenway
Plans for a trail beside the River Boyne go all the way back to 2010, when the National Cycle Network scoping study was published, under a youthful Leo Varadkar Transport Minister.
Coincidentally, at the end of August back in 2010, Eminem and Rhianna topped the charts with “Love the way you lie”.
Following on from that, later in 2010 Meath County Council carried out a feasibility study for developing a greenway from Drogheda to Trim. Since then there have been various studies, plans and reports. In 2014 a section of the Boyne Greenway was opened between Drogheda and Oldbridge, 313 years after the historic Battle of the Boyne. A decade has passed, and not a single centimetre has been added to the Greenway, much to the frustration of residents and businesses in Meath and Louth.
The Boyne Greenway is divided up into a number of different sections, each proceeding at a different pace.
The Drogheda-Oldbridge Section
This section of around 4km opened in 2014, starting at St Dominic’s Park in Drogheda and ending at the Battle of the Boyne visitors centre in Oldbridge.
A section of the Greenway damaged by vandalism back in 2018 still has only temporary repairs in place. Local residents raised over €3,500 towards repairing the 125-metre section, and we understand that a report has now been produced (September 2023), from which a tender can be prepared, in order to repair the section.
The Drogheda-Mornington Section
Plans were in place in 2019 for the Greenway to extend from Drogheda to Mornington, and this was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in 2020.
Unfortunately this section has received a significant setback in September 2023, with An Bord Pleanala rejecting the application by Meath County Council.
The Navan-Oldbridge Section
In early 2021, plans were finally unveiled to continue the greenway from Oldbridge to Navan, 11 years after the project first began. The Stage 1 Feasibility report highlighted the proposed route options, as well as plans to restore the Boyne Navigation canal and locks, all the way from the main gates at the Oldbridge Estate to Andy Brennan Park in Navan, a total of 26.5 kilometres. Since then, however, the project has once again stalled, with the next stage now a further two and a half years overdue.
The Navan-Trim Section
We have also yet to see any discussion or planning work on the remaining section, to Trim, and onto the Royal Canal Greenway, even though it features in both the new GDA Transport Strategy and the TII National Cycle Network. It was even the subject of a recent heated Dail debate when local TDs Peadar Tóibín and Darren O’Rourke discussed with Minister Eamon Ryan, who said it should connect to the Royal Canal Greenway beyond Trim to create a network of greenways.
“We’ve seen a huge boom in greenways all around the country in recent years, and we strongly believe the Boyne Greenway can be the jewel in the crown of Irish greenways. It has the potential to truly open up the wonders of the Boyne Valley and be transformative for the entire region. We know it’s a delicate process as the route passes through numerous heritage sites and SACs, but there is a lot of frustration and confusion from people in Meath with the constant delays with it. It’s hard to imagine that here we are, thirteen years after this project start, and we’re still no closer to seeing it being realised” – Ed Moynihan, Chairperson of Navan Cycling Initiative
Time for Action
This is a multi-year initiative, in an area of great historical and environmental value. To add to this, there are now multiple government agencies involved. It’s complicated.
Instead of waiting and hoping, it really is time for our elected representatives to make a significant and sustained effort to move this project along.
If you’d like to keep informed about progress, or even contribute some time to help, please get involved:
- Like our Facebook page
- Email your elected representatives and ask what they’re doing to accelerate this project
- Subscribe to our mailing list, below:
We’ve attempted to summarise the Boyne Greenway project, but there are lots of gaps. If you can help us fill this in, please get in touch!
|2010||National Cycle Network Scoping Study|
Meath County Council Feasibility Study
|Eltis. The Urban Mobility Observatory|
|2013||Greater Dublin Area Cycle Network Published||National Transport Authority|
|2014||Around 4km completed between Drogheda and Oldbridge|
|2015||Request for a footpath and lights from the the Boyne Greenway up the Rathmullan Road, connecting Highlands, Riverbank, part of Drogheda and Donore to the Boyne Greenway||Councillor Paddy Meade, Facebook Video (2021)|
|2020||Boyne Greenway Constraints Study||Meath County Council|
|2021||Non-Statutory Public Consultation – Greenway Route Options||Meath County Council|
|2022||Meath County Council responds to An Bord Pleanála request (Nov 2020) for further information on the Drogheda-Mornington section. This is the response from Meath County Council||Meath County Council|
|2023||September: An Bord Pleanála reject application for Mornington-Drogheda section||Independent.ie|
|2023||Oct-Dec: Preferred route option for Navan-Oldbridge section to be published||Meath County Council, by Email|