The shed on the Limerick Greenway route will become a new visitor centre
By Aidan Schonbrun
A nineteenth-century railway goods shed on the Limerick Greenway has been approved for restoration by the Limerick City and County Council. The shed in Rathkeale will become the new centrepiece of a visitor hub in the area.
The €1.9 million railway restoration project will allow for a bike hire service as well as a new recreational spot for locals and visitors. The space will feature picnic benches, a water point and a bike repair station. Part of the funding will be used for an upgraded car park with mobility parking spaces and electric car charging stations at the Rathkeale Hub.
The restoration project is managed by Council and led by the Limerick-based architectural firm Feeney McMahon Architects, with the building contract going to Thomas Nolan & Sons – who have completed conservation works in Ardagh and Barnagh Station houses previously.
The expected date of completion of the Rathkeale shed restoration is December of this year.
Director of Services at Limerick City and County Council, Gordon Daly said, “Limerick Greenway is a precious amenity for local, national and international visitors and we are committed to ongoing works to restore historic gems such as the Railway Goods Shed, and to enhance services at each of the visitor hubs along the route.”
Council will also begin work on a new Greenway car park at Station Road, Newcastle West in 2023. Council has appointed a design group to complete the work at Barnagh Station and confirmed that new cattle over-and-under passes will be complete by July.
Funding for the renovation is provided by Council, Transport Infrastructure Ireland and The Department of Rural and Community Development under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme.
Limerick Greenway is a 40km path that follows the old Limerick to Kerry railway and stretches into multiple towns through other connecting greenways. The route seen other historic restoration projects including the Barnagh train tunnel and Ferguson’s Viaduct. The trail shows off the biodiversity, wildlife and heritage of the west of Ireland.
The Greenway, which reopened in July 2021 after a €10m investment from Council, has been hugely successful in the area with the number of visitors increasing by 52% from July to Oct of 2021 to the same period in 2022. Over a million people have visited the Greenway to date.