24 May 2022

Parking fee hike at hugely popular Midlands tourist attraction

Lough Boora car park

Parking charges have increased at a hugely popular Offaly tourist attraction

The parking charge at Lough Boora Discovery Park has increased to €5.

Over 100,000 visitors enjoy the Bord na Mona facility each year and prior to the Covid-19 pandemic it cost €4 to park a vehicle there.

That charge was suspended during the pandemic but visitors discovered recently that a fee had been reinstated with the increase.

A token can be purchased at a pay station beside the Organic Kitchen. The €5 charge can also be paid by swiping a card at the exit barrier. The parking fee was €2 before going up to €4.

It is also understood that a bicycle hire service will resume at Lough Boora soon, possibly this weekend.

There has been no bike rental business at the park since the original operator, Pat Barrett, lost the contract last year.

The contract was awarded to a company run by former Dublin footballer Conal Keaney who operates a bike hire service at the Phoenix Park.

Bord na Mona said it awarded the contract after implementing fair and open processes and procedures as mandated by the State.

The tender competition was conducted with independent oversight and all responses were evaluated across set competition and compliance criteria and the winning provider scored highest across all the evaluation criteria, the company said.

Lough Boora Discovery Park has a network of walks and trails, is noted for its art and sculptures, and is home to many wildbirds, including threatened species.

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