A €257m, 10-year tourism masterplan for our national parks has been a long time coming, writes Caroline O’Doherty.THEIR iconic features have graced countless postcards, tourist brochures, and Instagram accounts, and time in their company makes memories for a lifetime so it seems only right that our national parks should be treated as national treasures.But do they get the appreciation — and protection — they deserve?The six parks — Killarney, Wicklow Mountains, The Burren, Connemara, Glenveagh, and Ballycroy — between them cover around 68,700 hectares of mountains, lakes, woodland, bogs, walking trails, archaeological sites, and historical houses, attracting 3m-4m visitors a year.Accurate counts are hard to obtain because not everyone enters the parks through a visitor centre, where their presence can be registered, and besides, some of the visitor centres only open for part of the year.Suffice to say they are a big draw for overseas tourists, staycationers, and day-trippers alike and the fact that entrance is free only adds to the appeal.So it was with understandably large smiles for the camera that Minister for Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan, under whose responsibility the National Parks and Wildlife Service falls, unveiled a 10-year tourism masterplan for the parks a… Read full this story
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