The most consistent response from almost 3,700 people who recently made submissions to the public consultation on the future of the Curragh Plains, raised concern over its negative appearance from littering, traffic and damage to the grasslands by vehicles and animals and the condition of buildings and infrastructure according to Senator Fiona O’Loughlin.
The project aims to highlight the importance of the Curragh Plains and develop policies and management actions that will ensure the area is appropriately conserved, managed, maintained and interpreted.
Overall 81% stated that it was the landscape of the Curragh that made it special, including its scale, scenery, and undeveloped nature. Closely linked, people cited its natural qualities, its wildlife, and the unique/ unusual aspects of the Curragh such as its diversity, vastness, and magical qualities; the recreational value of the Curragh Plains and the importance it plays in people’s lives socially but also in terms of mental and physical health featured heavily; its history and archaeology, particularly in relation to the story of the country, was recognised as important .A significant number suggested facilities and infrastructure to enhance the recreational use of the plains, such as parking areas, bins, seating, picnic areas, toilets, coffee outlets. This included dedicated trails, bridleways, cycle trails and walking routes to manage some of the user conflicts. Control over litter and fly-tipping featured heavily as did managing sheep grazing more stringently. A high proportion discussed ideas for zoning uses and creating dedicated facilities / timetables for activities such as scramblers, off road vehicles.
Several suggested protection through National Park status, accompanied by the benefits that management personnel such as rangers, wardens and custodians would bring. Signage and education such as welcome and waymarking signage and signage that communicated the importance of the landscape and heritage features. We need to safeguard the Curragh for future generations as the findings of this report show.