Shopping in the rain could become more inviting

The canvas material provides shelter from the elements on the streets of Portimão

OVER a decade after a proposal was tabled to erect what was described as an artificial roof over Main Street or Plunkett Street in Killarney, to allow people to shop more comfortably in the rain and facilitate more events outdoors, a local businessman has spotted a clever method overseas that could provide the perfect solution.

Accountant Kevin Moynihan – a founder member of the Killarney Looking Good Committee – was recently enjoying a break in sun-kissed Portimão, in the Algarve region of Portugal, when he noticed an extended canvas material covering the streets in a busy shopping area.

And while the pictures he captured clearly show the purpose was to shield people from the sweltering sun, it generates some food for thought something similar might work in Killarney if a more durable material was used.

The canvas material covering the streets in a busy shopping area

Engineer Paudie O’Mahoney initially devised the clever way to counter persistent rainfall by covering footpaths and large sections of the street with a heavy-duty, tent-like canvas.

He first acted on the matter back in 2008 when it was confirmed that Killarney had the third highest rainfall in Europe and twice the average rainfall of Dublin.

“It would be ideal to encourage a continental culture, with streetside cafés and high-end retail stores operating in a wonderfully atmospheric environment,” Mr O’Mahoney said at the time.

The issue had been long-fingered by council officials who felt they had better use for funds available but Cllr Michael Gleeson reactivated the proposal some years back and recommended that the project be pursued.

“It’s not just about sheltering people from the rain. It would add greatly to the enjoyment of occasions that take place,” he said.

The council estimated some years ago that it would cost approximately €50,000 to provide giant inverted umbrellas on one street but agreed that the move could help increase tourism numbers.

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