A proposal to introduce a cable car to Killarney proves controversial. While it may offer better views of the region will the cable car itself be an eyesore?
Plans for a cable car in Killarney hopes to attract visitors to the region's previously unseen beauty spots. But will it spoil the natural beauty of this scenic part of Ireland?
Killarney is like a moody mistress. She never quite reveals her true character. She's never quite the same to everyone.
The jaunting cars on the lakeside roads may be tourist cliché, but what about the Killarney known only to the few? The wild natural country around Mangerton Mountain where the red deer graze, the climbs that reveal the panoramic views of mountains and lakes. This is the Killarney visible only to those that climb high into Mangerton. This area is part of the 10,000 Bourne-Vincent Estate, donated to the state for public recreation. However, only a handful of visitors make the trail to enjoy these sites.
To encourage more visitors, a mile-long cable car is planned to the area known as "Devil's Punch Bowl". Planning permission has already been granted for the cable car which will cost £200,000 and will need 125,000 passengers a year to make it economically viable. This cable car will open up parts of Killarney not seen before by many visitors, but the plans are being met with opposition by some. Those opposing the plans include the jarveys, who believe it will affect their business, but also by the Munster Committee of An Taisce on aesthetic grounds.
Dr Frank Hilliard, a member of the Munster Committee of An Taisce, gives his reasons for objecting to the proposed plans. For Dr Hilliard, Killarney should be the natural playground of the world where the natural beauty is preserved.
I don't feel myself that something like a cable car, which reminds one of the Eifel Tower, Blackpool Tower, or Coney Island, is not just ideal for a place like Killarney which has natural beauty.
It is the job of the Office of Public Works to decide whether a cable car is a good idea for the area.
The plans for the cable car have been welcomed by the Regional Tourism Organisation as an extra amenity in an area that they consider to be underdeveloped.
For Frank Lewis, the proposed location of the cable car provides mountain and lakeside scenery, as well as views of the sea. He also argues that the proposals mean that the cable car will run in line with the forest so it will not be visible. Lewis does recognise, however, that special conditions will need to be made to protect the red deer.
Economically the cable car will bring extra revenue to Killarney hoteliers as it is estimated that it will encourage visitors to stay an extra day in the town because of it.
The cable car is scheduled to be in place for the summer of 1969, but there is pressure on the cable car providers 'Summit Cable Cars' to have the service in place sooner. Whether this happens or not, Mr Malachy Walsh, Consultant Engineer and Director of 'Summit Cable Cars' sees the cable car as something that will benefit the whole community.
Killarney is a tourist area and tourism is one of our biggest industries. Now, we're going to make a view available to the tourist that is quite remarkable and very beautiful.
This episode of 'Newsbeat' was broadcast on 2 January 1968. The reporter is Bill O'Herlihy.