It’s a campaign that has been going on for almost two years now, and in June, it seemed as though common sense had finally prevailed.
It was then that Wicklow County Council ruled that Kelly Drain Maintenance had to completely dismantle and remove the steel palisade and two padlocked gates on Drummin Lane that were blocking an ancient Mass Path.
Naturally, those involved in the campaign to open up this walkway were delighted at the ruling, with the WCC stating that Enforcement Proceedings were to go ahead at the Kellys’ service site. The Kellys responded with a somewhat fragrant press release that made no mention of the ugly, nasty ruling, and instead announced to the world that the family had decided to open up the path after they were “approached” by Wicklow County Council. Forget all that Enforcement Proceedings nonsense – the Kellys instead went full Wind In The Willows with their press release, setting out their intention to plant ‘wild hawthorn, cherry and hazel hedgerow’ in order to give ‘a wildflower “edge” to the cut grass’ that would now be an open path.
They also expressed concerns about potential latenight anti-social behaviour along this remote stretch just below the Eden Gate roundabout, and highlighted the loss of two ewes in lamb last year, killed by a dog off its lead.
So, in short, happy to open up the Mass Path again, and not happy having to open up the Mass Path again.
The deadline for the dismantling of the eight-feet palisades was, we’ve been told, August 3rd. That was 21 days ago, and the padlocks may have gone from the big gates, but the big steel fencing remains.
So, on this wet Sunday afternoon, we met up with Kilcoole Walkways’ Aidan Smith – one of the campaigners behind getting this 4.4km path and others reopened and resurrected – to talk about the historical, geographical and spiritual importance of maintaining our Mass Paths for future generations.
Just as our forefathers had maintained them for us…
You can check out the route of the Mass Path, and its history, on kilcoole.ie here. Also, check out the reopening of another local path, from Kilcoole beach to the main street, here.
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