Cyclists may soon be able to travel from Dublin to Galway along a 200-kilometre cycleway.
The new route being planned would be the first cross-country off-road trail in Ireland.
It has the potential to bring in at least €15m per annum, much of that going straight into local businesses along the route, according to Transport Minister Leo Varadkar.
He said: "A national off-road cycle trail would be a first for Ireland and a great tourism asset."
He has asked the National Roads Authority to look at possible routes for an off-road cycle path from Maynooth to Galway. The National Transport Authority ( NTA) has been given funds for design work along the Royal Canal.
However, the full €20m needed to complete the overall project has not yet been allocated.