Anger as rights-of-way closed off at popular Munster seaside village

Residents of Ardmore say the closures  will impact on themselves and on the thousands of summer visitors expected this year
Anger as rights-of-way closed off at popular Munster seaside village

Tony Gallagher at the recently closed steps in Ardmore, Co Waterford; the steps, believed built in the late 1800s, climb some 4.5m between the colloquially known ‘middle road’ and the upper ‘New Line’.

Locals in a Waterford tourist resort have been left fuming after the local authority closed a second right of way in their village in four years.

Residents of Ardmore say the closures broach village tradition and will impact on themselves and on the thousands of summer visitors expected this year.

The latest closure saw Waterford Council rail off a set of steps bridging two parallel roads overlooking the village.

The steps, believed built in the late 1800s, climb some 4.5m between the colloquially known ‘middle road’ and the upper ‘New Line’.

The circuitous route between the roads involves a seven-minute walk.

Local man Tony Gallagher said the steps “have been a popular right of way for locals and visitors for over 130 years". 

"It’s absolutely disgraceful that people’s rights are infringed with neither consultation nor explanation,” Mr Gallagher said. 

Adding to the anger is the fact that another set of steps between the two roads has been closed since 2017, despite sporadic assurances from the council that it was temporary measure.

These corrugated steps stem from the car park at the five-star Cliff House Hotel and were installed by the council itself in place of older stone steps that were deemed unsafe.

However, a boundary wall, the property of a nuns’ order, was deemed unstable and the council closed the route in 2017 pending negotiations with the order that appear to have stalled.

Virginia Keane, daughter of the late novelist Molly Keane, says she is “furious” over both closures.

Ms Keane says she and her family have used the rights of way throughout their lives, as have family visitors and those attending the annual Molly Keane writers retreat. 

“These rights of way are part of the tradition and culture of Ardmore and should be restored,” she said.

In more recent times Ardmore has seen affluent outsiders build holiday homes along the New Line.

These include the Cliff Beach House, a two-storey, six-bedroom holiday complex managed by the Cliff House hotel.

Solicitor for cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan, Cian O’Carroll, is also seeking planning to build a raised property within metres of the recently closed steps.

Waterford Council did not respond to inquiries.

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