Blueway Ireland – Vision and Action Plan

Group of young adults on stand up paddleboards approaching a bridge on River Barrow

Client: Sport Ireland

The Challenge

Development of a five-year vision for the Blueway Partnership

The Role

Significant interest has emerged in recent years in the development of Blueways in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The Blueway Partnership was established in 2019 and consists of Sport Ireland, Sport Northern Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland and Waterways Ireland.

The Partnership was established as an outcome of recommendations within a research and development project undertaken by Outscape in 2018/2019. This structure was accompanied by a Blueway Ireland Management and Development Guide and Accreditation system to ensure Blueways are developed to a high standard in a strategic and consistent manner.

There are currently 3 Blueways which have been accredited and there are a further 14 Blueway developments currently going through the accreditation stages. Blueways are also included as a key development objective in several significant strategies and policies in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Given the ongoing growth in interest in Blueways and the need to consider how the Partnership will support these Blueways (especially during the post-accreditation stage of their development) a five-year vision is required for the Blueway Partnership. This will clearly define the roles and responsibilities of each Blueway Partner within an accompanying integrated action plan outlining short, medium and long term objectives for the Partnership. It is important the vision and action plan align closely to the work currently being conducted by the Partnership.

The process to the develop the vision and action plan will involve:

  • A review of the current position
  • Cognisance of the external environment and future foresight
  • Extensive and meaningful consultation and engagement with the Blueway Partnership and wider outdoor recreation sector
  • Preparation of a final report which will be titled as Blueway Partnership Vision and detail the vision, mission, key strategic areas of focus, and objectives to support the development, activation and promotion of Blueways in Ireland. The report will include core themes emerging from consultations, along with a table of actions and KPIs for implementation.


Staff Lead: Aideen Martin & Sarah Steer

Project Partners

The Blueway Partnership was established in 2019 which consists of the following partners who work collaboratively to support the development of Blueways:

  1. Sport Ireland
  2. Sport Northern Ireland
  3. Fáilte Ireland
  4. Tourism Northern Ireland
  5. Waterways Ireland