Plan for hotel near Rock of Cashel would harm ‘integrity’ of site, council told

Development proposed in Co Tipperary town, about 400 metres from the famous tourist attraction

A proposed 28-bedroom hotel close to Tipperary’s Rock of Cashel threatens the “cultural heritage and integrity” of the historic site, a Queen’s University Belfast archaeologist has said.

Dr Patrick Gleeson was one of a number of people who filed observations on plans for the development at Moor Lane in Cashel, about 400 metres from the famous tourist attraction.

It proposes a hotel in two 1½ storey blocks with landscaping and some demolition works.

“Given that the Rock of Cashel has also now been added to the tentative list for Unesco WHS (World Heritage Site) as one of Ireland’s ‘royal sites’, I would also like to emphasise that this application would have a material impact on the wider inscription of this group as it undermines the setting, landscape context and overall integrity and authenticity of the complex,” Dr Gleeson told Tipperary County Council.

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A senior lecturer at Queen’s University, Dr Gleeson described himself in his observation as an expert on the site.

The applicant is listed as Marymount Assets Limited, which filed the plans for the development of the 0.6 hectare site in late October. A decision is due on December 12th.

Another objector noted that “as ludicrous as it might feel to imagine building a shopping centre beside the Great Pyramid of Giza, or a hotel on top of Newgrange in Co Meath, here we are faced with an equally outlandish proposal.”

John Flynn, a life-long resident of the town, appealed to planners “not to be remembered in 50 years’ time as the people who signed the death warrant of one of the most recognisable, significant and beloved landmarks of the Western World.”

Medieval historian Dagmar Ó Riain-Raedel, in her submission, noted the proposed development would have an impact on not only the Rock of Cashel but its surrounding area.

“It is, therefore, of utter importance that these areas should be preserved in their present form,” she wrote, also alluding to its inclusion as a possible World Heritage Site.

This factor, she said, would surely exclude the development of its buffer zone, an area he described as surrounding the nominated property “which has complementary legal and/or customary restrictions placed on its use and development in order to give an added layer of protection to the property”.

As of Friday night there were over 20 submissions filed with Tipperary County Council. It also prompted appeals through social media channels for people to file objections.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times