Families in Kilkenny are being encouraged to "green" their journey to school next week and walk, cycle or scoot where possible. 

Cycle Kilkenny is asking people to "bling" their bikes to celebrate St Patrick's Day during the week from Monday, when children in third to sixth classes will be returning to school. 

Anyone who does so can upload a photo to @CycleKilkenny and @stpatrickskk on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and tag #Kilkennyingreen. 

Also, a "virtual" St Patrick’s Day parade will take place on 17 March. 

Chief executive officer with Kilkenny County Council, Colette Byrne, said safe routes to school will be a priority in the council’s development plan.

"We want children in Kilkenny to be able to travel to school independently," Ms Byrne said.

"The current working from home arrangements may mean that more parents are in a position to accompany younger children on their journey to school and we would encourage families to walk, cycle or scoot as much as possible for an invigorating start to the school day." 

Bortha Maria Woodsma of the Public Participation Network in Kilkenny, and originally from The Netherlands where cycling to school is the usual form of transport, said the more people are encouraged to cycle, the better the area will be for all.

"I would love children to experience the freedom of cycling that I had as a child in The Netherlands, not only to school, but to meet up with friends and to get to activities," Ms Woodsma said.

Kilkenny County Council Cathaoirleach, Cllr Andrew McGuinness, said: "This is a wonderful initiative by Cycle Kilkenny and our St Patrick's Festival #kilkennyingreen campaign as children return to school. 

"I urge all parents to get involved and look forward to seeing Kilkenny schools awash with green as our children return to school life as we know it." 

Cycle Kilkenny is an initiative led by Kilkenny Leader Partnership, Kilkenny County Council, Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership, Kilkenny Chamber of Commerce and Kilkenny-based animation studio Cartoon Saloon.