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'Too intense' - Locals protest controversial Hell Fire Club plan

Many of the submissions are from local residents and groups arguing that the plan should not go ahead.

SOUTH DUBLIN COUNTY Council and An Bord Pleanala have received 84 submissions in connection with the controversial Hell Fire Club visitor centre – almost all against the plan.

The new project, it’s planned, will provide a ‘gateway’ to the area, and would be located close to the landmark Hell Fire Club – a 1700s shooting lodge overlooking the city at Montpelier Hill.

At an estimated cost of €15 million, the Council says the centre would be constructed from natural materials and integrated into the landscape “with extensive panoramic views of Dublin City”.

The submissions, published this week, come from across the spectrum, ranging from locals, politicians and state bodies.

In its submission, heritage body An Taisce says that while it favours recreational access to the Dublin Mountains, it believes the existing structure should be re-used rather than a new building constructed. It also says that the building should be lower on the hill, near an existing car park.

Local TD Colm Brophy writes that he supports local groups who made “comprehensive objections” to the plan. He requests an oral hearing on the project, which he says will bring an extra 100,000 people to the area.

He says that widespread traffic disruption will be seen and new housing developments impacted.

Other concerns are raised about the impact on the nearby woods, river and on local wildlife. Squirrels, hares, badgers, bats, and woodpeckers call the area home.

Local objection

PastedImage-59243 An aerial view of the plan. Source: Anthony Curran

Many of the submissions are from local residents and groups arguing that the plan should not go ahead.

One from Rathfarnham resident Sylvia Ferguson warns of the “loss of amenity” in the area if the plan goes ahead. She says that SDCC has “chosen the wrong place for their flagship development”.

Kilakee resident Declan McKeever warns that the developments are “too intense in such a relatively confined area”.

Speaking back in May, one local told this site she thought the planned project would “destroy the area”. Another said she was concerned habitats would be disrupted.

More than 2,000 people have signed a petition opposing the plans.

According to the Council, which is working with Coillte on the project:

The Dublin Mountains Visitor Centre development is founded on a vision that the history, landscape, heritage and amenity of the Dublin Mountains should be promoted as a resource for the enjoyment of the people of South Dublin and for visitors to the area from elsewhere in Ireland and abroad.

The Council and Coillte, according to a previous statement, have taken local objections on board in drawing up their plans, “ensuring the preservation of the landscape, ecology and heritage features” of the area.

Read: These new pics show what the controversial Hell Fire Club visitor centre would look like

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