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National Park

State on track to purchase scenic Conor Pass in Kerry

Minister and Kerry TD Norma Foley said ‘things are going in the right direction’.

THE STATE IS on track to purchase the scenic Conor Pass in the west of Kerry, The Journal understands. 

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.

The sale of the significant land holding was advertised on the Conor Pass website and on Daft in August and described how the 1,400 acres of mature forestry, four lakes, a waterfall, salmon stream and ancient ruins were all up for grabs. 

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

While the government indicated that it would be open to buying the land, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said:

“I think it’s fair to say that the state won’t be paying 10 million for it.”

He said the State would be interested in purchasing the land for a “reasonable” price.

It is understood that preliminary agreements have yet to be signed, but senior sources said “it is now approaching that point”. 

Commenting on the sale, Education Minister and Kerry TD Norma Foley said: 

“Darragh O’Brien, the Minister for Housing, is very positively disposed to this. It would be a significant acquisition for the state and a hugely significant acquisition for Kerry and for Kerry tourism.”

“Things are going in the right direction. It’s very positive and promising.”

Fianna Fáil spokesperson on climate action, TD Christopher O’Sullivan said the Connor Pass coming under State ownership will be a big boost for biodiversity. 

“A chance to show how rewilding can and should be done,” he added, stating:

This could be a national gem. 

He told The Journal that he was delighted to see the sale nearing completion, saying “it’s  something I think we can all get behind”. 

Meanwhile, Castleisland-Corcha Dhuibhne Councillor Breandán Fitzgerald told Radio Kerry today the purchase of Conor Pass would be like bringing Fungi the dolphin back to Dingle.

It is expected that the lands will come under the ownership of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

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.

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