Kerry looks up to cable car options

Kerry County Council is examining locations for cable cars to enhance the Kingdom’s tourism appeal.

The proposed transportation would have the potential to take people to higher ground to start walks or as a tourist attraction in their own right.

The only cable car in Ireland links the Beara peninsula in West Cork with Dursey Island. The sea crossing service has been in operation since 1969.

A cable car option for Co Kerry was raised at a monthly meeting by Independent councillor Michael Cahill, who represents the south and west of the county.

He requested a feasibility study should be conducted for locations in the Iveragh peninsula. Cable car services for Co Kerry had been investigated in 1968 when a system had been devised for Mangerton and Torc mountains in Killarney.

The system was to run between Torc Waterfall and Mangerton Mountain in the Killarney National Park.

The proposal secured planning permission and Bord Fáilte had agreed to provide grant aid.

However, a head of steam built up over the idea mainly from sectoral interests, resulting in the Swiss-style cable car system never being introduced.

A Dáil record at the time showed a parliamentary question by the late Killorglin-based Fianna Fáil TD, Timothy Chub O’Connor, asking why the idea was being proposed when up to 100 jarveys, boatmen, and ponymen were likely to lose business.

He had stated 12,000 people in Killarney had signed a petition opposing it but the true number was 1,200.

Mr Cahill, meanwhile, seeking a feasibility study in regards to the provision of “a cable car tourist facility” in the county, said the transportation proposal had first been mooted in the 1960s.

“This could be a major tourism project for the area. There is only one in Ireland. There are so many suitable locations all over South and East Kerry for cable cars and they have the potential to assist visiting walkers as well as a tourist attraction in their own right,” he said.

Council officials, however, said the feasibility of providing a cable car facility in Co Kerry had been raised during public consultations around the local authority’s tourism strategy and in discussions with the Institute without Boundaries in relation to the Re-Imagining Iveragh Project.

“Imagining Iveragh is a pilot Cedra project being undertaken with the George Brown College Toronto focusing on creating sustainable economic development that will provide job creation in the region,” an official response said.

“There are issues around the location of a cable car facility in special areas of conservation and special protection areas but options are being examined as part of a scoping exercise which is being included for consideration in the forthcoming tourism strategy.”


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