Delay on new carpark at top Slieve Blooms visitor spot

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Delay on new carpark at top Slieve Blooms visitor spot

Cars blocking road to Glenbarrow Waterfall in Laois on Sunday April 25. Photo by An Garda Síochána

A new carpark has been delayed for a busy visitor attraction in the Slieve Bloom mountains.

Glenbarrow Waterfall was closed off by Laois Gardaí last Sunday April 25 after too many cars arrived, and drivers blocked roads for residents and emergency vehicles if needed.

Laois Gardaí shared this photo below of the parking, with strong words (below photo).

"Garda are out and about today at public amenities in Laois and Offaly. The weather is beautiful and people are getting out for exercise and to clear their heads. However this does not preclude you from using common sense. Parking is yet again a major issue with people parking dangerously, in inappropriate places leading to issues for emergency services, other road users and local residents.
Emergency Services need access to these locations at all times. Your inconsiderate parking makes this all the more difficult.
Glenbarrow is closed currently due to traffic congestion. Please stay away."

Resident Cian Joyce shared this photo of his car at his family home, blocked in for almost two hours by a car parked in front of their gate.

 

There were two new carparks planned for Glenbarrow last autumn, to a widespread welcome around Laois. A coffee shop was also announced by the local family restoring Glenbarrow cottage. It is due to open this summer.

One carpark is planned by Laois County Council with Coillte, the semi-state forestry owners. 

The other is by a local landowner whose planning application has been delayed.

Last August 2020 Nicholas Dunne applied for permission to create a public overflow carpark in his field next to the existing carpark.

In October the council requested a Natura Impact Statement on the planning application, with no further details yet submitted by Mr Dunne. NIS statements cost anything from €1,000 to €20,000 according to the IFA.

Screening assessments were requested by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht because of the field’s proximity to Special Areas of Conservation, including the River Barrow, River Nore and the Slieve Blooms.

The weekend parking situation at Glenbarrow was described as "chaos" at Laois County Council's monthly meeting last Monday.

Cathaoirleach Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald urged action.

“The parking problem at Glenbarrow is an urgent issue. It has to be addressed immediately. The Gardaí stopped traffic altogether for a while yesterday,” she said. 

Cllr James Kelly said it was chaos.

“There are traffic problems at Glenbarrow waterfall. It was chaos over the weekend. Cars were strewn everywhere. Locals couldn’t get out. Emergency vehicles can’t get up if needed. I’d like to know how is the planning going for a carpark? We want tourists to come to Laois,” he said.