FAMOUS DONEGAL WALKWAY FORCED TO SHUT DOWN

first_imgLess than two and a half years after it was launched in a blaze of promotion, the renowned McSwyne’s Gun Loop Walk at Horn Head in Dunfanaghy has been forced to close down.The reason for the shut down is not stated but we understand a disagreement over property access failed to be resolved.Public notices saying the walk is closed as from Monday November 18th have now been posted in the area. The Tirconail Tribune reports the closure has caused dismay and much anger locally where McSwyne’s Loop was being heralded as very important financially in attracting both Irish and international walkers to the locality. As a result of the shut down it is expected that tourism revenue in Dunfanaghy will be severely hit in 2014.The Horn Head walking route ensured that maintenance was carried out by the 18 local landowners who signed up to the walks scheme on the trail.However it could only survive provided all the landowners signed up to allow access to their lands.A new five year agreement would have to be signed off before the end of the year to facilitate the continuation of the project: however not all of the local landowners felt obliged to do so. It is believed that big efforts to find a way forward were ongoing for many months but despite the best efforts of all the agencies involved a reconciliation of views could not be agreed.And as a result a large part of the walk has become unavailable to the public and the promoters said they are left with no other option but to close it down.This walking trail was agreed in conjunction with local farmers and landowners on a voluntary basis and it has now emerged that not all those involved wish to continue with that arrangement. There was extensive funding involved in the development of the 10k walk with a new car park, signage, promotion fencing and advertising.Local concerns about potential problems with access over lands in the locality were first raised in the Tribune in July amid a belief by officials that the problems might be resolved before the end of the year.Launching the national walkways scheme at Dunfanaghy in June 2011, Junior Minister Dinny McGinley said it was especially pleasing for him, as somebody who has walked the route many times over the years that the walks scheme has been implemented through the co-operation and huge support from the local community, landowners and various agencies and organisations. This national tourism walk had already proved hugely popular and in a brief period it became the best-known route in Donegal. Local tourism interests said it was destined to be a very big tourism attraction with much potential for further development and it had been hoped to have it extended in the future as its popularity grew.The promoters of the walking trail said they are reluctant to go into the details of the problems that forced it to close down.However they confirmed that a specific difficulty arose and as a result of no agreement they have been left with no option but to abandon the trail.The local community in Dunfanaghy and Horn Head who raised the issue with the Tribune in July say they are shocked and disappointed to have lost such a vital component in the tourism industry in Dunfanaghy. The walk was seen as an important tourism asset and according to the community it attracted a huge number of visitors and many continental tourists since it was launched.The McSwyne’s Loop was developed by local agencies with support from Fáilte Ireland and in partnership with the community interests, landowners and the Sheephaven Bay Tourism Group. The National Parks and Wildlife Service were also supportive of the development in this unique wildlife area, a special area of conservation (SAC), which traverses their land.McSwyne’s Loop took around two and a half hours to complete over open headland with deep cliffs, gullies and large blowholes along the trail.Walkers assemble at the Haggard Bridge just beyond the GAA grounds. It was anticipated that the Loop would have been extended significantly over the next couple of years.The peninsula forms part of Sheephaven Bay and has many remains of Neolithic stone circles, court tombs and passage tombs and prehistoric field boundaries. Horn Head cliffs rise straight out of the water to a height of almost six hundred feet on the ocean side of the peninsula.They are an internationally important colony for breeding seabirds and designated a Special Area of Conservation. McSwyne’s Gun is a blowhole on the West side of the peninsula.During storms, water gets forced through it to a height of 200-300 feet, with a noise that can be heard ten miles away.FAMOUS DONEGAL WALKWAY FORCED TO SHUT DOWN was last modified: November 7th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:DunfanaghyHorn HeadMcSwyne’s LoopWALKlast_img

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