Originally Posted by mcgratheoin
Additionally, as a marketable resource, I'm not sure that roads with hard shoulders are usually the most scenic and in the areas where tourists would like to travel.
+1, I think when you're planning a piece of infrastructure like this you need a primary design goal. Either tourism or transport first, and if it offers some degree of the other as a secondary benefit, well and good. I think the greenway illustrates there is both scope and a good market for the former, and this should be repeated elsewhere. As for the quality of surface, I think it is fine for leisure cycling, as rural Ireland already has an abundance of beautiful, quiet rural roads for the keen roadie but far less for the family. I'd be more concerned about erosion and maintenance costs of the softer surface. A bigger concern would be capacity. If you look at the RTE video (about 30 seconds in) and imagine three or four towed buggies going in different directions, with pinch points at narrow gates, it could suffer from congestion very easily.
Comparing the greenway with European equivalents is a useful exercise, as the economic projections for revenue earned include a significant chunk from foreign tourism. We will compete with those other European routes for the same tourists. I've no doubt many will come and try the greenway, but they will draw comparisons with similar options elsewhere, which will dictate whether or not they return.
The greenway is still an excellent illustration of what can be achieved on a tight budget, when people make the effort. Hopefully we'll see many similar amenities in the future.