'Disgusted' locals upset as Killarney Cherry Tree Walk felled

The felling of around 70 cherry blossom trees which lined a popular walk in the tourist mecca of Killarney has sparked controversy.

'Disgusted' locals upset as Killarney Cherry Tree Walk felled

The Killarney Nature Conservation Group (KNCG) said they had been told by the Killarney National Park authorities that only diseased trees were to be felled, but people were now “disgusted’’ after healthy trees were taken out.

What had been done was outrageous, but there was nothing could be done about it now, a spokesperson said.

“People are shocked to see the whole lot gone,’’ she remarked.

All the trees have been removed and the Cherry Tree Walk, which had about 500 metres of trees on either side, will remain closed for another 20 weeks, according to the National Park and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

The NPWS yesterday said new lines of cherry blossom trees would soon be planted along the walk, in the grounds of Killarney House which is being restored as an interpretive centre for the national park.

The walk, from the Golden Gates to St Mary’s Cathedral, is popular with local people and visitors to Kerry and is only minutes from the town centre.

NPWS deputy regional manager Pat Foley said three-quarters of the trees were in very poor condition and a lot of damage had also been done in recent storms.

Up to 50 of the trees had been planted in the 1950s by the late John McShain, then owner of Killarney House, while a further 20 trees planted later were not the correct variety.

He said the newly-planted avenue would be made of trees of the same variety, which would be blooming in three to four years. Planning permission had already been granted for redeveloping the pleasure gardens in the grounds of Killarney House and the replacing of trees was part of that approval.

“Phase one of this redevelopment is due to commence in the near future and the replanting will be part of that. The walk will be closed for 20 weeks to allow the work to be carried out,’’ he said.

“Many of the trees which have been felled had reached the end of their lifespan, which is about 50 years, but the new trees will be blooming again in three to four years.’’

The Killarney National Park Liaison Committee said they had been informed that the trees would be taken out and replanting would take place.

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