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Minister of State Malcolm Noonan and Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien at the new Marine National Park
Páirc Náisiúnta na Mara

Kerry is the home of Ireland's new national park, which includes State purchase of Conor Pass

The park will cover 70,000 acres and seas and will be Ireland’s first Marine National Park.

LAST UPDATE | 22 Apr

THE GOVERNMENT IS to announce the creation of a new national park in the Corca Dhuibhne area of Co Kerry later today. 

The park will cover 70,000 acres and seas and will be Ireland’s first Marine National Park. 

The national park will be called Páirc Náisiúnta na Mara, Ciarraí. 

It brings together new acquisitions by the National Parks and Wildlife Service, such as Conor Pass, the Owenmore River catchment, lands at Mount Brandon and the sand dune system at Inch Peninsula. 

It will also cover sites already under State ownership, such as the limestone reefs of Kerry Head Shoals and the waters around the Blasket Islands. 

The Unesco World Heritage property of Sceilg Mhichíl will also be included in the park. 

It was reported in January that the State is on track to purchase the scenic Conor Pass in the west of Kerry.

The land was put on sale at the end of the summer with a guide price of €10 million

The Conor Pass is a mountain pass in the Dingle Peninsula, which ends close to Dingle town. It is a highly scenic drive and much loved by tourists, hikers, and locals alike.

As soon as the land went up for sale, there were calls for the Government to bring the land under public ownership.

The State currently has six national parks and recently announced plans to establish a new Boyne Valley National Park on the Dowth Hall lands in Meath.

“With the iconic Conor Pass as the gateway, Ireland’s first Marine National Park brings mountains, blanket bog, heaths, rivers, coastal dunes, limestone reefs, sea cliffs and some of the wildest land and seascapes in the country together in celebration of nature,” Minister of State Malcolm Noonan said. 

“Alongside its seven sister parks, Páírc Náisiúnta na Mara, Ciarraí will be a flagship for the protection and restoration of these incredible places and the globally important array of wildlife that they are home to,” Noonan said.

“The Páirc will also honour the island and coastal communities who live alongside it by ensuring that their unique tapestry of cultural and natural heritage is central to the future story of this special place.”

Niall Ó Donnchú, Director General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service, said: “Our new park is a celebration of heritage in all its forms. Our biodiversity and natural heritage sit layered in harmony alongside monuments and historic wrecks from many periods.

“This is a place of iconic significance and majestic beauty.”

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