Calls are growing for the Irish government to purchase a 1,400-acre plot of land at the Conor Pass in County Kerry, with the aim of creating a new national park. The land, which is being sold for approximately €10 million, is situated in one of the most breathtaking settings in the country and has already garnered significant interest from potential buyers both domestically and internationally. The Conor Pass is renowned worldwide for its natural beauty and is a prominent feature along the Wild Atlantic Way driving route. The pass, which stands at a height of 1,496 feet, connects Dingle in the southwest to Brandon Bay and Castlegregory in the northeast. Mike Kennedy, an auctioneer and valuer based in Dingle town, is overseeing the sale on behalf of the current American owner. Kennedy has stated that the owner hopes to achieve a price of €7,000-7,500 per acre for the entire holding, resulting in a guide price of between €9.7-10.4 million.
Sinn Féin spokesperson for Gaeilge, Gaeltacht, Arts, and Culture, Aengus Ó Snodaigh, has called on the government to seriously consider purchasing the land. He believes it would be a missed opportunity for the Irish State not to explore the possibility of acquiring the land in order to preserve this unique landscape for future generations. Ó Snodaigh emphasized the national significance of the site in terms of tourism and as a local amenity for the community of Corca Dhuibhne and County Kerry. He also highlighted the potential for developing a new national park and engaging in rewilding and nature conservation, concepts that are often discussed but rarely implemented by the government. Ó Snodaigh has urged Minister for Housing, Local Government, and Heritage Darragh O’Brien, as well as Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media Catherine Martin, to collaborate with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the local community to explore the feasibility of the State purchasing the land.
This call for action has been echoed by Fianna Fáil members Senator Malcolm Byrne, Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan, and Kerry County Councillor Breandán Fitzgerald. Deputy O’Sullivan took to social media to express his support, stating that it would be a great opportunity for the state to acquire the land and embark on a rewilding project, thus demonstrating the commitment of the NPWS to restoring nature. He also suggested collaborating with local farmers to promote high nature value farming. Deputy O’Sullivan proposed the name “Kerry National Park” for the potential new site. Members of the Green Party in Kerry have also reached out to party leader and Minister for the Environment, Climate, and Communications Eamon Ryan, as well as Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan, to discuss the matter.
Furthermore, an online petition has gained nearly 4,000 signatures, demanding that the government acquire the land for the establishment of a national park. When approached for comment, a spokesperson for the NPWS stated that land purchases for strategic and conservation purposes are considered on a case-by-case basis. They declined to provide specific details about any individual site being offered for sale, citing commercial sensitivity as the reason for their discretion.
The potential acquisition of the Conor Pass land for the creation of a national park has generated significant interest and support from various stakeholders, including politicians, environmental groups, and the general public. The establishment of a new national park in this iconic location would not only preserve the natural beauty of the area but also provide opportunities for rewilding and nature conservation, as well as boosting tourism and benefiting the local community. As the discussions continue, it remains to be seen whether the Irish government will take the necessary steps to secure this valuable piece of land for future generations to enjoy and cherish.