Additional car and bus parking to cater for the large numbers of visitors to Muckross House, a protected area one of the southwest’s most popular tourist attractions in the 10,000-hectare Killarney National Park has been given the go-ahead.
Muckross now attracts well over half a million visitors a year according to Fáilte Ireland figures from 2017, which formed part of the application.
The extension of the bus parking site in the demesne area of Muckross alongside the Victorian era house, where the Queen stayed in 1861, and other visitor facilities will result in additional 1,200 sq metre of tarmacadam bays to allow parking for eight additional buses. Queen Victoria's descendant, Charles, and his wife Camilla visited the house in recent years.
Lighting and other works will improve facilities at the overflow and existing car parks resulting in the creation of 26 more car spaces.
The planning will also pave the way for rearranging the existing car space which is badly laid out, in the words of the application. Trees and other vegetation will, however, have to be removed.
The application by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht was appealed by two separate third parties. The objections centred on the fact this is the second application in the site zoned special amenity and the bus parking and overflow car park will only be needed for three months a year.
Concerns were also raised about the effect on the protected red deer with the removal of grazing land, and traffic, and on water run-off into the nearby Muckross lake.
However, submissions by the Department said deer have now increased to the level that culling is required. The area is not used for grazing. It was also stated that Fáilte Ireland supports the application, saying the overall proposal will contribute and help to support the improving visitor experience at Killarney National Park.
Planning inspector Pauline Fitzpatrick said the proposal is “modest”. An Bord Pleanála has now given the go-ahead but has attached conditions including that a tree survey is needed.