Our Rural Future: Launch of €16 million Fund to support Outdoor Adventure Activities

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Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys launches €16 million Fund to support Outdoor Adventure activities

  • Outdoor Recreation and Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) to provide major boost to rural and adventure tourism
  • €16 million fund to develop our mountains, lakes, rivers, beaches, blue-ways, bogs, forest walks and uplands
  • Focus on supporting outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, cycling, swimming, kayaking, sailing, paragliding and kite-surfing
  • Additional project applications allowed for counties with inhabited off-shore islands to enhance their tourism potential


Press Release: Thursday 1 June 2023

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, has today announced a major €16 million fund which will support hundreds of outdoor recreation projects across the country.

The 2023 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) will see the development of our natural amenities such as our mountains, lakes, rivers, beaches, blue-ways, bogs, forest walks and uplands.

The Scheme, which saw its funding increased by €1 million this year, will place a particular focus on developing amenities for adventure tourism in rural Ireland.

Among the activities that will be invested in include walking, hiking, cycling, swimming, kayaking, sailing, paragliding and kite-surfing.

Today’s announcement builds on the commitment under “Our Rural Future” and “Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors”, the Government’s ambitious outdoor recreation strategy.


Launching the 2023 scheme, Minister Humphreys said: 

“I’m delighted today to launch the 2023 Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme. To date, the scheme has provided funding of over €106 million for more than 1,500 projects nationwide and today’s announcement will build further on that. The facilities and amenities that we are delivering under this scheme make a real difference in communities right across rural Ireland. They hugely benefit the health and well-being of people of all ages and are so important in terms of attracting visitors to our rural towns and villages.”

Minister Humphreys added:

 “When I launched ‘Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors’, I said I wanted to transform the outdoor recreation sector in Ireland.  Today’s announcement is putting that commitment into action. Earlier this year, I also announced an expansion of the Walks Scheme to 150 trails. And just this week, I launched a new partnership with Bord na Móna, designed to develop recreation activities on the country’s bog-lands. The funding that I am announcing today really will deliver tremendous long-term assets for rural communities and is a clear demonstration of the huge impact that ‘Our Rural Future’ is having in every county in Ireland. And so, I would urge everyone to explore and experience the great outdoors and what our beautiful country has to offer.”


Today’s announcement is a key strand to the implementation of Embracing Ireland’s Outdoors, the National Outdoor Recreation Strategy 2023 – 2027 which is set to shape the future of outdoor recreation over the next five years.

The Strategy aims to increase the number of people active in the outdoors, especially young people and under-represented groups, and to foster a greater understanding of how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly.

Building on this, the projects that will be supported under ORIS are designed to benefit the health and wellbeing of the communities in which they are located. The funding will provide not only an outlet for the communities in which they are situated but will also deliver added value from a tourism perspective.

The scheme is administered at a local level by local authorities and local development companies. The scheme will prioritise projects which have evidence of strong community engagement.

ORIS provides funding for the development of new and existing outdoor recreational infrastructure in rural areas.  It funds trails, cycleways, blueways, bridleways, as well as outdoor amenities located near rivers, lakes, beaches and on the uplands.


Full details are available here.

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