One-way systems aim to tackle congestion on Kerry tourist routes

One-way systems are being introduced in Kerry for some of the country’s most crowded tourist routes.

The coast road at Slea Head, where traffic will have to take the R559 clockwise from Dingle to avoid congestion.

The aim is to prevent long tailbacks on the Slea Head in Dingle and traffic congestion on the narrowest parts of the Ring of Kerry.

Motorists will have to switch directions as they manoeuvre the two peninsulas. For the 180km Ring of Kerry, the loop will be anti-clockwise from Killarney. For the R559 Slea Head circle, traffic will have to go clockwise from Dingle around the head.

Satellite navigational systems must take a back seat, with motorists negotiating the west Kerry Gaeltacht asked to rely on local signs rather than global positioning, Kerry County Council heard yesterday.

Fáilte Ireland’s Fiona Monaghan, launching a brochure on activity tourism in Kerry, said that the marketing strategy is to position Ireland as a year-round destination for outdoor activities so not all tourists arrive in the summer season.

Regionality and seasonality are two challenges,” said Ms Monahan, who implemented the successful Wild Atlantic Way strategy.

The new Kerry County Council brochure warns: “Our road network on the Dingle Peninsula is full of charm but can be busy during the summer season.”

Tailbacks of more than two hours on the 47km Slea Head drive occur far too often, councillor Johnny Healy-Rae told the council meeting.

It is not good enough for tourists to be stuck in traffic for that length of time, he said.

Calls by residents and councillors for traffic lights at the narrowest point on the Slea Head route have not been entertained by the council.

A one-way system is being “trialled” and signs are being erected telling people to travel anti-clockwise, chief executive Moira Murrell told the meeting.

I want to kill the idea it takes two and a half hours to get around Slea Head,” she said.

However, Mr Healy-Rae said he was standing over his assertion and he had seen the tailbacks for himself. A bus and cars travelling in opposite directions simply could not pass and traffic built up. The solution was temporary traffic lights during the tourist season, he still believed.

Last year, tempers frayed so much on the spectacular peninsula that gardaí had to be called.

And in 2017, locals in the Gaeltacht were asked by the Dingle Chamber of Commerce to “to modify their day” and not venture out during the busiest times on the Slea Head.


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