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INCREASED VISITORS to Ballyalla Lake has prompted TFI Local Link Limerick Clare to add a new stop to the popular amenity on the outskirts of Ennis.

An alteration to the C13 bus timetable has been announced which now includes a stop at Ballyalla Lake, the change has been in effect since the middle of March. The route runs every Saturday and has further stops at Lidl, Barefield, Ballyline, Crusheen and Ballinruan. It stops four times at Ballyalla every Saturday (11:27, 12:07, 14:57, 15:37).

Transport Operations Coordinator for the Clare section of Local Link, Cillian Griffey explained, “Providing access to this beauty spot which is 3.4km from the centre of Ennis, is in recognition of the increase in visitors to Ballyalla Lake and the fact that there was no public transport serving the attraction”.

Griffey said they wanted to “make this prized amenity accessible for all especially those that don’t drive and those with mobility issues. All our buses are fully wheelchair accessible and our buses cater for all”.

Chairman of the Ballyalla Lake Blue Flag Working Group, Cllr Johnny Flynn (FG) told The Clare Echo the options would cater for short and long visits. He was hopeful more people from Ennis and further afield would visit “the beautiful lake” for walks, birdwatching, waterside picnics and water sports. The working group has worked with An Taisce to retain Green Flag status.

He added, “If you travel on either bus you have the option of having a short visit returning on the bus back in forty minutes or if you travel on the earlier bus you have the option of spending four hours at the lake, having a picnic doing water sports, before returning on the later bus. Some people may decide to do one leg of the journey on the bus and do the other 3.4km leg by foot”.

Of the efforts of the working group which formed in 2010 following an online petition “which showed significant interest from the community of Ennis to improve the facilities of the lake and bring it back to its former glory,” Flynn said its focus has been on enhancing environmental education, water quality, environmental management, safety and services to ensure the facility could eventually meet criteria for Blue Flag status in the future.

Flynn said their collaboration with residents, Clare County Council and the wider Ennis community to upgrade facilities has resulted in an increased use. “The return of the lifeguarding and toilet facilities during the swimming season at the lake has lead to greater usage. The combined efforts have allowed Ballyalla Lake to become a venue to host events such as Charity Raft Races, Ennis Triathlon Club’s annual iTri Triathlon, An Post Rás na mBan and Clare Kayak Hire Summer Camps and Kayak rental”.

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