Great Southern Trail

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Great Southern Trail
Length85 km (53 mi)
LocationCounties Limerick & Kerry, Ireland
TrailheadsLimerick, Tralee
UseCycling and Walking
Hiking details
SurfaceMud track

The Great Southern Trail is a greenway rail trail under development in Counties Limerick and Kerry, Ireland. It is intended to be 85 kilometres (53 miles) long when completed and run from Limerick to Tralee.[1] It is an off-road trail intended for use by cyclists and walkers along the route of the Limerick-Tralee line, formerly operated by the Great Southern and Western Railway, which opened between 1867 and 1880 and was closed in 1977.[1] At present some 35 kilometres (22 miles) of the route between Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale have been developed.[2] The developed section of the trail passes through Ardagh, Newcastle West and Barnagh.[3]

The voluntary group Great Southern Trail Ltd has developed the trail for 20 years, at an estimated cost to date of €1 million.[4] They were awarded a special jury prize by the European Greenways Association at the 2011 European Greenways Awards in recognition of their efforts to develop the greenway between 1991 and 2011.[5]

Development of the trail has run into some difficulties, particularly in keeping the land, which is publicly owned (by CIÉ, the Irish transport authority) and keeping it away from some local landowners and neighbouring houses who fear crime and lack of use for it .[6]

In early 2013, a group of walkers commemorating the 50th anniversary of the last passenger train between Limerick and Tralee, were blocked at the Kerry border by a group of local landowners opposing the continued development of this trail into county Kerry.[7] It has since been established that CIE owns the line and that the landowners have no claim to the trail.[8] CIE is currently in the process of transferring ownership of the line to Kerry County Council for further development of the trail towards Listowel, pending future funding becoming available.


  1. ^ a b "Home". Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Trail Information". Archived from the original on 7 April 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  3. ^ "Great Southern Trail Map" (pdf). Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  4. ^ McDonald, Frank (18 August 2011). "Minister urged to act over CIÉ land row". The Irish Times. Dublin. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  5. ^ Reidy, Marisa (14 September 2011). "Leaving a trail of honours at awards in France". The Kerryman. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  6. ^ Prendiville, Norma (17 September 2011). "Great Southern Trail Wins Special Jury Prize in European Greenways Association Award Scheme" (PDF). Limerick Leader. Retrieved 30 September 2011.
  7. ^ RadioKerry. "Walkers blocked from entering Kerry on old rail line | Radio Kerry | 96-98FM | Your Voice in The Kingdom". Radio Kerry. Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  8. ^ RadioKerry. "CIE says it owns north Kerry rail line". Radio Kerry. Retrieved 2016-11-21.

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