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Dublin: 10 °C Sunday 7 June, 2020
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The Wicklow Mountains National Park has just got 5,000 acres bigger

The Featherbeds could become the centrepiece for a new tourism strategy for South Dublin.

Luggala Valley, part of the expanding Wicklow Mountains National Park.
Luggala Valley, part of the expanding Wicklow Mountains National Park.
Image: Shutterstock

THE GOVERNMENT HAS purchased 4,900 acres (or 1,983 hectares) of the Dublin Uplands, in the area commonly called the Featherbeds.

The land, 93% of which is designated as a Strategic Area of Conservation, will be added to the Wicklow Mountains National Park, expanding the total size of the National Park to 22,000 hectares.

After being held in private ownership for some time, the introduction of the land onto the market recently caused worry for locals, as they feared that a wind farm would be erected on the isolated area.

However, after an Uplift petition by Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan which gathered over 20,000 votes, it was announced that the land was purchased from the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), and would become part of the national park, one of six national parks in the country.

The exact price the government paid for the land is not yet known, but Minister of State  Michael Ring has said on RTÉ Radio’s News At One that he thought that the price was “a good deal”.

Speaking about the announcement today, Ring said that the Featherbeds are “an important area for nature conservation and for public amenity”, and that The National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Dublin Mountains Partnership will work together to “improve the recreational potential of this area, whilst ensuring the highest standards of nature conservation”.

Plans for the land

The Featherbeds, in conjunction with the extension of the Dodder Greenway running from the source of the river to the sea, could form the centrepiece for a new tourism strategy, according to Eamon Ryan. The new tourism strategy could bring in some €26 million and create 2,500 jobs, according to the South Dublin County Council.

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“By developing the Dublin Uplands as a tourist destination, in conjunction with the extension of the Dodder Greenway running from the source of the river to the sea, this really is a unique opportunity to develop this area into one of the finest attractions in the country.”

Ryan has describing the land as ”one of the most spectacular places in this country”.

It matches anything anywhere else in its beauty - a stunning wilderness. There is nothing there – not a shed and hardly a fence.

Tweet by @Eamon Ryan Source: Eamon Ryan/Twitter

Read: A new nuclear power station will be built 250 km from the Irish coast

Read: Dublin could overtake London as the most attractive financial centre in Europe

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