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Our Rural Future: Minister Humphreys officially opens the Yeats Trail in Sligo

Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys TD, today (Friday, 31st March) visited Sligo to officially open the Yeats Trail.

The Yeats Trail visits 14 sites throughout the county which have an association to the works of William Butler Yeats. The new trail complements the Wild Atlantic Way and will help attract visitors to the region.

The project received an investment of €500,000 through the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund, with a further €170,000 provided by Sligo County Council to complete the project.

While in the county the Minister visited three of the trail’s sites – Knocknarea, Benbulben and Hazelwood – to open the unique artistic installations and interpretive signage designed for each individual site.

Speaking at the official opening of the Yeats Trail today, Minister Humphreys said:

“The county of Sligo left a lasting mark on Yeats. The influence that the people and places of Sligo had on the poet are evident in his writing and led to some of the poet’s best known works.

“Even though Yeats was born in Dublin, it is Sligo that is known as the ‘Yeats County’.  Yeats spent some of his happiest days in Sligo, absorbing the beauty and folklore of the county.

“The Yeats Trail has been developed to link and interpret the most important sites in Sligo where visitors can learn more about the county’s history and its influence on the writing of WB Yeats.

“It is wonderful that visitors to Sligo can now walk in the poet’s footsteps and visit the places that inspired his most famous works.”

While in Sligo, Minister Humphreys also opened projects at Knocknarea, Gortarowey and in Hazelwood House, which were funded under the Department’s Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme.

Speaking at the official opening of the Lady Ann Walk at Hazelwood House, the Minister said:

“Walks like this, are places where we can come together as family and friends to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and where better to do this than in the stunning beauty of County of Sligo.

“I really believe that by investing in our outdoor amenities – our rivers, our lakes, our walkways and cycleways – we can provide a real economic and social boost to rural Ireland.

“I want to commend the work of Sligo County Council and all other stakeholders who have worked closely together to deliver this project. Your collaboration, dedication, and drive is truly admirable.”



The Department of Rural and Community Development Press Office

01-773 6843 / 087-1734633


Photo desks:

Official photography will be available from Charlie Brady.



Notes to editors: 

Our Rural Future

Our Rural Future is the whole-of-government policy for rural Ireland for the period 2021-2025. It represents a new milestone in the approach to rural development policy for Ireland and adopts a more strategic, ambitious and holistic approach to investing in and maximising opportunities for rural areas.

Rural Regeneration and Development Fund

The Rural Regeneration and Development Fund provides funding for the development and construction of capital projects in towns and villages and rural areas across Ireland. In total the Fund has now provided over €395m for 215 projects across Ireland, worth a total of €542m.

In relation to projects in County Sligo, the Fund has provided €6.6 million for 9 projects located in Sligo worth a total of €10.2 million.

Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme

The Outdoor Recreation Infrastructure Scheme (ORIS) provides funding as follows:

  • Measure 1: Small scale repair/development/promotion and marketing (up to €30,000 grant available)
  • Measure 2: Medium scale upgrade and new trail/amenity development (up to €200,000 grant available)
  • Measure 3: Large scale repair/upgrade and new strategic trail/amenity development (up to €500,000 grant available)
  • Project Development Measure: Development costs for strategic large scale Measure 2 or Measure 3 type projects, for example: detailed design, preparation for the planning and/or procurement, appropriate assessment (up to €50,000 grant available)

Funding of up to 90% of the total approved project costs is awarded, with the additional 10% to be provided from other sources.