Minister Joe McHugh has announced €5,537 funding has been secured to assess a proposed cross-border tourism and heritage route taking in spiritual sites in Donegal.
“The idea behind this project shows brilliant initiative to try and pull in more tourists and visitors to the border region and capitalise on our ancient heritage,” Minister McHugh said.
“The Shannon Erne Pilgrim Way involves cooperation among 13 local authorities on the two waterways and it has the potential to open up the country to a whole new world of tourism.
“I have seen it described in places as Ireland’s answer to the Camino. The big picture is for a route to be developed from Kerry to Donegal via Fermanagh along the paths taken by early Christian monks fleeing persecution almost 2000 years ago.
“Walkers and tourists would have the chance to immerse themselves in Ireland’s Celtic, monastic and medieval history, unlocking our ancient past.”
Mr McHugh, Education Minister, added: “The proposal would build on the motivation and experience of the Wild Atlantic Way, build a big brand and stretch the path more than 350km with Donegal a potential end point or starting destination.
“It is exciting to think about that something of this scale could revitalise communities along the Shannon-Erne Waterway.”
The grant funding is being made available under the Leader programme.
Minister McHugh said: “The funding, secured under the Leader programme, through Minister for Community and Rural Affairs Michael Ring’s Department, will help cover the cost of a feasibility study.
“Mr McHugh said: “Leader has grown exponentially under Minister Ring and I am grateful again for the focus on Donegal and the difference that it makes.
“Back in June I announced a funding boost of €2.7million for 76 Leader projects in Donegal – the highest in any county.”