Minister Ring secures €800k capital funding to finalise purchase of lands to extend Wicklow Mountains National Park
The Minister of State for Regional Economic Development, Mr. Michael Ring T.D., today announced that the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs has finalised the purchase of 4,900 acres (or 1,983 hectares) of the Dublin Uplands, in the area known popularly as the Featherbeds at a cost of €800,000. This land will be added to the Wicklow Mountains National Park, expanding the total size of this National Park to 22,000 hectares.
Announcing the acquisition, the Minister said, ‘I am very pleased to announce the expansion of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. The Featherbeds are an important area for nature conservation and for public amenity. Their acquisition at a cost of approximately €163 per acre represents excellent value for the state, not just in terms of value for money but also in terms of the amenity potential, conservational benefits and environmental gains. The purchase underpins the Government’s on-going commitment to the preservation of our natural heritage for future generations of citizens and visitors alike to enjoy. This outcome is the culmination of a constructive engagement between the Department and NAMA and addresses a long-standing strategy to align key environmental assets.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department will work with Dublin Mountains Partnership to manage this new acquisition, reflecting the on-going commitment of all stakeholders to improve the recreational potential of this area whilst ensuring the highest standards of nature conservation.’
Note to editors
The National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs manages Ireland’s six National Parks and eighty statutory Nature Reserves.
Wicklow Mountains National Park was established in 1991 and now comprises large parts of the Wicklow uplands, including blanket bog, heath and upland grassland. At nearly 20,500 hectares it is Ireland’s largest National Park. The National Park is one of the most popular sites for public amenity and recreation in the country, attracting over 1 million visitors. The National Park encompasses the monastic site in Glendalough Valley and much of the Wicklow Way. Following the acquisition of the 1,983 hectares at the Glenasmole Uplands, the National Park will now cover over 22,000 hectares.
93% of the acquisition lies within the Wicklow Mountains Special Area of Conservation (SAC) or Special Protection Area (SPA), while it is in very close proximity to the Glenasmole Valley SAC. SACs and SPAs are the most important wildlife and habitat conservation areas in the country, considered to be important on a European as well as Irish level. SACs and SPAs are designated under the Birds and Habitats Directives, transposed in legislation through the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011.
The Dublin Mountains Partnership was established in May 2008 with the ultimate aim of improving the recreational experience for users of the Dublin Mountains, whilst recognising the objectives and constraints of the various landowners. The partner organisations involved are Coillte, South Dublin County Council, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Dublin City Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Dublin Mountains Initiative, an umbrella group representing the recreational users of the Dublin Mountains