Councillor wants ‘proper town park’ for Killarney to aid tourism

MOVES are under way to convert a piece of land in Killarney National Park into a town park, which would be only a few minutes’ walk from the town centre.

Land surrounding Killarney House has been pinpointed and Killarney Town Council wants to enter into “creative dialogue” with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

The 26,000-acre national park comes up to the edge of the town and the land in question is already accessible to the public through the Golden Gates and the demesne entrances, opposite St Mary’s Cathedral.

Proposing the development, Councillor Michael Gleeson said a proper town park would not only be a superb feature of the national park, but would greatly enhance the town and the tourism industry.

Mr Gleeson said the council was not seeking to acquire the land, but was asking the NPWS to co-operate towards the development of a town park. Such a park, he said, “would be a permanent testament to their shared pursuit of beauty and their joint commitment to Killarney’s future”.

He felt an aesthetically superb park or garden would enrich the national park and enhance the recreational facilities of Killarney.

Killarney Town Council unanimously supported Mr Gleeson’s call.

Labour councillor Sean O’Grady said provision for a town park had been made in the last two, or three, management plans for the national park. “But, we’ve never pursued this to the point of negotiations taking place,” he added.

Killarney House, once the residence of the landlord Browne family and, more recently, of the MacShain family, has lately been the subject of controversy.

The house was handed over to the State by the MacShain family, over a decade ago, but has been closed since then. There is concern about drinking parties being held in its environs and possible damage to the structure itself.

At one time, the house was proposed as an arts venue and information/interpretive centre for the Killarney National Park.

The condition of the house has been deteriorating for several years and restoration costs have been estimated at well over €5 million.

Killarney Fine Gael senator Paul Coghlan has accused the Government of gross negligence in not getting on with restoration work at the house.

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