KILLARNEY Chamber of Tourism and Commerce has enthusiastically welcomed plans for an important conservation, restoration and upgrading project involving a landmark building within the boundaries of Killarney National Park.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has sought planning permission for an extension to the rear of the front gate lodge at the first entrance to the park at Muckross.
The striking Victorian building, which is a protected structure, is located just inside the gates at the pedestrian entrance to Muckross Abbey at what is known locally as the jarvey entrance to the park.
The historic stone building, which was part of the Herbert Estate and was occupied by several gatekeepers down through the generations, has more recently been used as a base for Irish and international students who are working on a variety of projects relating to the national park. They are engaged in research initiatives and volunteer rhododendron clearing and they work closely with the park rangers.
The planning application submitted to Kerry County Council seeks approval for a single-storey extension to the rear of the gate lodge to facilitate a bedroom, bathroom, hallway and plant utility room.
The application also includes parking for two cars, a new waste water treatment system with percolation area, drainage provision and all associated ancillary works.
Important conservation repairs planned for the protected structure will include work on the feature slate roof and metal lattice windows, the reinstatement of the historic stone chimney, internal joinery and lime plaster. The works will also include the installation of insulated slab with underfloor heating at ground level and associated mechanical and electrical services.
Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce President, Niall Kelleher, said the gate lodge has been a familiar and much-loved landmark for locals and it has been admired and photographed by hundreds of thousands of visitors down through the years.
“It is so important that the building is maintained to a high standard and that it’s integrity is maintained. Subject to planning approval, this work will ensure that it is protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy,” he said.
“It is very encouraging to see the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage spending further funds on the upkeep of the national park and their commitment in Killarney is encouraging and welcome,” the Chamber President said.