Congestion at tourist sites
Sir, – Sylvia Thompson, in her excellent article “Congestion at Irish tourist sites” (June 17th), refers to the huge crowds in Glendalough compared to Glenmalure and other scenic areas of Wicklow.
The reason for this, and this applies to the many other scenic areas of Ireland, is the pitiful lack of facilities elsewhere in Wicklow, facilities which could be developed without unduly disturbing local residents.
In Ireland, there is minimal investment in outdoor recreational facilities: car parks, toilets, waymarked walking routes, etc.
Unfortunately even if these facilities were provided, it would be far less than half the battle. The greater problem is that, in Ireland, in stark contrast to other European countries, landowners cannot be disturbed under any circumstances, and they therefore need concede only the bare minimum to placate tourism interests, which are unfortunately only too ready to accept crumbs.
Take, for instance, national parks. One costly result of this craven policy is that the State has to purchase every square inch it needs to provide such parks.
This explains why Wales, where much national park land remains in private hands, has 20 per cent of its land area in such parks, compared with barely 1 per cent in Ireland. The high cost of buying this land diverts the little cash available from badly needed local facilities.
I suggest that you come over here and see how excellent facilities can be provided that result in a vibrant tourist industry without unduly disturbing landowners.
But unfortunately I fear that we are all too complacent to consider how things could be done so much better elsewhere. – Yours, etc,