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Govt to announce creation of new national park in Kerry

The Government will announce the creation of a new national park on the Corca Dhuibhne peninsula in west Kerry later today.

It will cover more than 70,000 acres, making it the largest national park in the country.

It will also be Ireland’s first marine national park – most of the area covered by it will be at sea.

This new national park will be known as Páirc Náisiúnta na Mara, Ciarraí and will include 1,400 acres of land and forestry close to the iconic Conor Pass.

This land was put on the market last August and has been acquired by the State for a price understood to be in the region of €6m.

It will be Ireland’s first marine national park

The catchment of the nearby river An Abha Mhór, an 8km waterway with nine lakes, has been acquired separately.

The new national park will also include Cnoc Bréanainn, the sand dunes at Inch Beach, the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Sceilig Mhichíl, several islands off the Kerry coastline as well as the sea surrounding them.

The formal announcement will be made this afternoon by Minister of State for Nature Malcolm Noonan, along with Minister for Heritage Darragh O’Brien, who has Cabinet responsibility for the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Noonan said it is “a critical time for biodiversity in Ireland”.

The next stage will be to develop a collaborative management plan with local communities, he said, which will look at accessibility for the public and developing walking trails.

“We have a wide range of different habitats from pristine rivers, sand dunes, salt marshes, sea cliffs, shallow bays and limestone reefs and a huge array of species from salmon, freshwater pearl mussel, natterjack toads, basking sharks (and) gannets,” Mr Noonan said.

‘We’re all about responsible tourism and working with Fáilte Ireland to ensure that we have a good code of practice around not putting too much pressure on sites and damaging the very habitats that people are coming to see.”

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