BALLYFIN Country House continues to expand its array of Downton Abbey-style leisure pursuits for the benefit of its exclusive clientele, with an application made to Laois County Council for the introduction of a new clay pigeon shooting range for use by the hotel’s patrons.
The directors of Ballyfin Demesne Ltd, Mr Fred Krehbiel and Mr James Reynolds, have applied for permission to change the use of agricultural land to a clay pigeon shooting range, along with the retention of a wooden shelter for the benefit of residents of Ballyfin Country House and Ballyfin Demesne.
In their application, it is explained that standard 12 gauge shotguns are used at the range, with clay traps which normally allow clays to travel around 100m from the point of release. There is an existing wooden structure and gravelled area at the shooting range, so there will be no structures required in addition to the wooden shelter. Clay shooting will take place one day a week during the hotel season and the facility will be looked after by a qualified safety officer, who has responsibility for the safety of the patrons.
In a report by Irish Ecology Consultancy, it was noted that there was a possibility that breeding Hen Harrier, a scarce summer visitor to uplands and bogs in western Ireland, would be disturbed. However, after examination it was determined that the habitats surrounding the range is largely improved grassland, post thicket conifer plantation and poor quality hedgerows and mature trees. This immediate area is unsuitable for breeding Hen Harrier, with the nearest area for breeding some 2.6km away.
The report concluded that the range will have no significant adverse impacts on the area.
A decision is now due from Laois County Council by August 15.