Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has announced €15 million in funding as part of a new five year strategic partnership with Coillte designed to boost rural tourism.
The funding will develop the outdoor recreation facilities that Coillte provides across its recreational sites.
Some 260 recreational forests and 12 forest parks will receive investment as part of the initiative, approved by Minister Humphreys today.
This will result in improvements being carried out to some 3,000 kilometres of walking trails and cycleways in a major boost to outdoor tourism and rural communities.
Announcing the funding, Minister Humphreys said; "our forest parks, walking and cycling trails and upland areas are what makes Rural Ireland stand out.
“Right across the country, people of all ages reap the benefits of these unique natural amenities on a daily basis.
"This €15 million partnership between the Department of Rural and Community Development and Coillte will further enhance our great outdoors, benefitting hundreds of thousands of people for years to come.
“As Minister, investing in our great outdoors has been a major priority of mine.
“We all know the benefits that our forest parks and outdoor trails provide in terms of both our physical and mental wellbeing.
The South East counties; Wexford, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny and Tipperary have a total of 45 projects lined up under the funding.
A look at just some of the projects to benefit:
Carlow - Clogrennan Carlow Maintenance to Car park, €3,000
Carlow - Deerpark Bunclody Car park entrance re-surface, €4,000
Carlow - Kilbrannish Maintenance to Car park, €3,000
Kilkenny - Jenkinstown Kilkenny Maintenance and Resurfacing of all trails, €45,000
Tipperary - Slieve Felim Way Rearcross General maintenance, €2,000
Tipperary - Multeen Way Cappawhite Deal with windblow, €2,000
Tipperary - Devils Bit trail Borrisoleigh General maintenance and trail upgrade 15,000
Waterford - St. Declan's Way Mount Mellary General maintenance €6,000
Waterford - Crough Wood Mahon Bridge, €80,000
Waterford - Colligan Dungarvan General maintenance, €7,000
Waterford - Dromana Villierstown General maintenance, €2,000
Waterford - Faithlegg Waterford General maintenance, €3,500
Wexford - Camolin Park Surface Car Park, €11,000
Wexford - Courtown Gorey Re-surface walking trails, €5,000
Wexford - Parkwood Drain, shape and surface Trail, €9,000
Wexford - Ryans Bog Remove some trees and surface walking path, €10,000
The largest amount of funding to given to a project in the South East goes to Crough Wood, Co. Waterford to reinforce the unstable embankment and re-open the trail which will cost €80,000.