A greenway trail for cyclists and pedestrians in Connemara in Co Galway has been approved by An Bord Pleanála.

The 52km track will run along the disused Galway to Clifden railway line.

Following an oral hearing late last year, An Bord Pleanála gave the project the go-ahead, subject to a number of conditions.

These include changes to the route originally proposed, so the greenway will be separated from the N59 road.

Concerns had been expressed about the proximity of an 11km stretch of the cycle path to the national secondary road.

The decision has been welcomed by the Galway Cycling Campaign.

Spokesman Shane Foran said if the route was developed properly, it could transform tourism in the west of Ireland.

He pointed to the huge number of cycling tourists from across Europe who would be attracted to such an amenity.

Mr Foran said Co Galway is potentially at one end of a proposed cycle trail across Europe that would travel as far as Moscow, as part of the European Cycle Route Network.

The 42km Great Western Greenway runs between Achill and Westport in Co Mayo.