Send the camper vans west if there’s no room in Din­gle

The Kerryman (Tralee Edition) - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

THE con­stant stream of camper vans that be­came a fea­ture of the roads of West Kerry this sum­mer is set to in­crease in the com­ing years but there is no plan to pro­vide park­ing ser­vices in Din­gle where they ex­ac­er­bate the town’s al­ready se­vere park­ing prob­lems.

The camper vans are be­ing drawn to West Kerry – and the west coast of Ire­land gen­er­ally – by the Wild At­lantic Way, which is quickly gain­ing an in­ter­na­tional pro­file as a very tourism des­ti­na­tion. The vol­ume of camper van traf­fic was un­fore­seen when the Wild At­lantic Way was be­ing planned, but now that they’ve ar­rived Fáilte Ire­land is happy to en­cour­age even more to fol­low in their tyre tracks.

How­ever, a prob­lem arises when the camper van tourists seek a place to park up for the night and many make off the ma­rina carpark be­side Din­gle pier, which has the ben­e­fit of be­ing cen­tral and scenic but the dis­ad­van­tage of hav­ing no wash­ing, toi­let, or waste dis­posal fa­cil­i­ties.

At busy week­ends dur­ing the sum­mer large num­bers of camper vans have been park­ing at the ma­rina where they take up valu­able spa­ces and add to Din­gle’s al­ready se­vere park­ing prob­lems. There is also a knock-on ef­fect at West Kerry’s only Fáilte Ire­land ap­proved camper van park in Gal­larus where busi­ness is down be­cause many camper van tourists are opt­ing to stay overnight free of charge in Din­gle.

TP Ó Conchúir, who has up to 40 berths at his camper van park in Gal­larus, said that he had 18 book­ings for the week­end of the Din­gle Food Fes­ti­val but only two of his guests ac­tu­ally turned up be­cause most opted in­stead to stay in Din­gle where, on the same week­end, he counted 30 camper vans at the ma­rina carpark. “We stayed open es­pe­cially for that week­end and, in the end, it wasn’t worth our while,” he said.

TP’s camp­ing park is highly reg­u­lated and must meet re­quired stan­dards to have its an­nual li­cence re­newed by Fáilte Ire­land and to be reg­is­tered with the Ir­ish Car­a­van Coun­cil. It leaves him less than im­pressed to lose busi­ness to al­ter­na­tive park­ing places where the same reg­u­la­tions don’t seem to ap­ply.

“We have to keep camper vans eight me­tres apart, but in Din­gle I’ve seen them parked only two me­tres apart. What do rules and reg­u­la­tions mean when peo­ple seem to be able to park wher­ever they like?” he said.

Mean­while,

Din­gle Penin­sula Tourism Al­liance Chair­per­son Gary Cur­ran said some peo­ple have looked at the pos­si­bil­ity of open­ing pri­vate camper van parks close to Din­gle but were dis­cour­aged by high costs and strin­gent reg­u­la­tion.

Gary said a pos­si­ble so­lu­tion to Din­gle’s camper van prob­lem would be a sort of AirBnB where home­own­ers would ac­com­mo­date one or two camper vans in their drive­ways and gar­dens.

TP of­fers an­other so­lu­tion: “If they need to get them out of Din­gle, we have plenty of space for them.”

The sign on the tar­mac in­di­cates park­ing for buses in the ma­rina carpark - but most of the spa­ces are taken up by camper vans, and TP Ó Conchúir (in­set) isn’t im­pressed.

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