TWO footbridges providing access to Ireland’s highest mountain Carrauntoohil, along with a car park for hillwalkers, were officially opened yesterday in the MacGillycuddy’s Reeks. The mountain hosts tens of thousands of climbers each year.
The €150,000 project, sponsored by Kerry County Council and Fáilte Ireland, also saw generous support form the local community, including the donation of land at Lislebby by Donal O’Connor.
The steel footbridges were made and donated by the Killarney-based German crane company Liebherr Ireland.
"This project provides a much needed carpark at Lisleibane, Beaufort, serving Carrauntoohil, and two footbridges in the Hags Glen area of Carrauntoohil, allowing hillwalkers to safely enjoy the experience of walking Ireland’s highest mountain," said Minister Jimmy Deenihan who performed the official opening.
"The designation of the Reeks as a candidate special area of conservation is important to protect the intrinsic heritage of the county and the development of walks allows locals and visitors to the county the opportunity to take in the peace and tranquillity of our highest mountain," he said.
The footbridges were named in honour of a local community activist, the late Patie O’Shea and the late Angela Kenny, a young woman who drowned a number of years ago in that area.
Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Pat Leahy said: "The safety of hillwalkers is very important and the carpark— which serves Carrauntoohil — allows for ample parking for tourists and hillwalkers," he said.
Lisleibane is one of two carparks now serving the Reeks area.