Killarney Golf and Fishing Club, on the shores of fabled Lough Léin, has obtained a felling licence from the Forestry Service to remove 18 of the 27 trees on its property at Mahoney’s Point.
The trees, which form an avenue between the clubhouse and the lake, are being felled next week for health and safety reasons, according to the club.
However, conservationists and some club members are up in arms, claiming the trees could instead be pruned.
The club’s general manager, Maurice O’Meara, yesterday said that the decision to fell the trees was not taken lightly, but they were a huge health and safety risk.
“We’ve looked at a lot of options and have got a lot of opinions, but if there was an accident the club would be negligent and liable for any injury, or damage, caused,” he said.
The area beneath the trees was heavily trafficked by people and was also used as a storage area for ride-on golf buggies, Mr O’Meara added.
He said the trees had been examined by three independent forestry experts, two of whom had advised that they be removed. The third expert felt the trees should be “crowned”.
However, pruning had been ruled out for economic and aesthetic reasons, Mr O’Meara said.
The Tree Council of Ireland has written to the club saying it is “alarmed” and that the trees should be saved.
John McLoughlin of the Tree Council said they knew of no lime avenue in Ireland of that age that had to be felled.
“Limes respond very well to severe tree surgery and we feel there should be surgery in this case,’ he added.
“These trees have had surgery in the past which has helped and which is a common practice throughout Europe. Limes are among the best trees to respond to surgery.”
It is believed the trees were planted in the 1840s by Lord Kenmare who owned the land at the time. They were planted outside an old estate lodge which became the original clubhouse when the golf club moved to Mahoney’s Point, in 1936.