Ballyleague has received a well deserved economic and social boost in recent weeks having secured funding for and broke ground on a fantastic river bank regeneration project. The Ballyleague Village Renewal have done trojan work to secure the funding and they must be applauded for their efforts. In truth this project means quite a lot more than meets the eye for not only Ballyleague, but also the greater mid-west region.
For years the Shannon corridor, enjoyed a rich and rewarding tourism industry thanks to the offerings of our fantastic network of rivers and lakes. The fishing tourism industry alone was reported to be worth up to eight million a year. Sadly during the “boom” years our focus was on construction and housing, and Roscommon failed to capitalize on our wonderful natural amenities.
As we are all painfully aware, there is now a jobs crisis in Roscommon. We have very weak job growth. We've seen one generation lost to emigration and another to perpetual underemployment. The only option we have should we hope to see recovery in our lifetimes is to grow industries such as tourism. A strong tourism industry in a region means jobs.
If we can continue to develop projects such as the one at Ballyleague we can take back control of our economic destinies. Roscommon has the potential, should we choose to achieve it, to become a serious contender on the tourism scene. Especially as our potential reaches far beyond what our waterways can offer. We have parks, hills, culturally/historically significant walkways, towns and buildings, that if maximized would establish Roscommon as a serious tourist destination.
I have been impressed in recent weeks by the regeneration of Strokestown and the number of tourists who now inspect the historical murals and prose which decorate the towns buildings. A local man I know recently kayaked out from Lanesboro and was totally gob-smacked by the views, landscape and wildlife he saw. He could not believe that this beauty was right on his doorstop. It's time we looked again at what seems familiar and ordinary, and rediscovered the magnificence of our environment and realized its true economic potential.
"If you're willing to keep moving forward, eventually you will succeed."
All opinions and views expressed are my own, they do not necessarily reflect the positions of my businesses.
One reader asked why I monitor my comments and why they must be approved, and just for the rest of you it's not for censorship, it's because of Spam-bots. I'll publish all comments posted by real people :)