CORO­N­AVIRUS CLAM­P­DOWN!

COUN­CIL FORCED TO CLOSE CAR PARKS AS VIS­I­TORS FLOCK TO SCENIC SPOTS IN MAS­SIVE NUM­BERS

Wicklow People - - FRONT PAGE - By MYLES BUCHANAN

WICK­LOW County Coun­cil closed car parks in Glen­dalough af­ter the pop­u­lar tourist hot-spot at­tracted thou­sands of vis­i­tors over the week­end, lead­ing to fears that so­cial dis­tanc­ing guide­lines were be­ing ig­nored.

The chaos ex­pe­ri­enced saw Gar­dai block­ing ac­cess to the Glen­dalough Val­ley on Sun­day due to the un­prece­dented visi­tor num­bers and so­cial dis­tanc­ing con­cerns.

Pat Casey, owner of the Glen­dalough Ho­tel, said: ‘Things weren’t too bad to be­gin with but by 1 p.m. on Satur­day things were com­pletely out of con­trol. There was a fright­en­ing num­ber of peo­ple here – it must have been in the thou­sands. It was re­ally bad.’

Ac­cess to the Sally Gap was also re­stricted due to traf­fic vol­umes and care­less park­ing. A num­ber of badly parked cars were towed away be­cause they would have blocked emer­gency ser­vices should they have re­quired ac­cess.

Wick­low County Coun­cil also took the de­ci­sion to close the Up­per Car Park and food fran­chises lo­cated in Glen­dalough.

Huge num­bers of peo­ple also flocked to Round­wood and the Devil’s Glen.

THOU­SANDS of vis­i­tors flocked to Glen­dalough over the week­end, with many ig­nor­ing so­cial dis­tanc­ing guide­lines in­tro­duced to com­bat the spread of Covid-19.

Out­door ac­tiv­i­ties are now ex­pected to be fur­ther cur­tailed as mem­bers of the pub­lic con­tinue to ig­nore rec­om­mended pre­cau­tions.

Wick­low County Coun­cil took the de­ci­sion to close the Up­per Lake car park at Glen­dalough on Sun­day, while all food fran­chises at the lo­ca­tion were also closed un­til fur­ther no­tice.

On Sun­day, Gar­dai di­verted traf­fic away from ap­proach roads lead­ing to Glen­dalough due to over­crowd­ing. Ac­cess to the Sally Gap was also re­stricted from An­nacarter Cross on one side of Lug­gala and from Bo­ley Houri­gan car park on the other side due to traf­fic vol­umes and care­less park­ing. A num­ber of badly parked cars were towed away in case emer­gency ser­vices needed ac­cess.

Pat Casey, owner of the Glen­dalough Ho­tel, which will re­main closed un­til the cri­sis is un­der con­trol, said the num­ber of vis­i­tors de­scend­ing on the pop­u­lar hot-spot over the week­end was ‘fright­en­ing’, with some peo­ple still not tak­ing the Gov­ern­ment’s ad­vice se­ri­ously.

‘Things weren’t too bad to be­gin with but by 1 p.m. on Satur­day things were com­pletely out of con­trol. There was a fright­en­ing num­ber of peo­ple here - it must have been in the thou­sands. It was re­ally bad. A lot of peo­ple don’t have any­where but the coun­try to go to. There are no sports, matches or fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties tak­ing place. It wasn’t just Glen­dalough. Devil’s Glen was packed and so was Round­wood. You had nearly four miles of parked ve­hi­cles lead­ing to­ward Tur­lough Hill. It would have been im­pos­si­ble for the emer­gency ser­vices to get through.’

On Sun­day, the Gar­dai blocked ac­cess to the Glen­dalough Val­ley at the Wick­low Gap junc­tion due to un­prece­dented visi­tor num­bers and so­cial dis­tanc­ing con­cerns.

Wick­low County Coun­cil also took the de­ci­sion to close the Up­per Car Park and food fran­chises lo­cated in Glen­dalough.

‘The Coun­cil has taken this de­ci­sion due to con­cerns re­gard­ing so­cial dis­tanc­ing re­quire­ments. We re­gret the in­con­ve­nience caused and would ask mem­bers of the pub­lic to ob­serve HSE guide­lines as re­gards so­cial dis­tanc­ing,’ stated the Lo­cal Au­thor­ity.

It is un­der­stood that the Gov­ern­ment plan to an­nounce stricter mea­sures re­gard­ing gath­er­ings in pub­lic and open spa­ces due to the crowded scenes ex­pe­ri­enced at Glen­dalough and else­where over the week­end.

Deputy John Brady said it was ‘un­be­liev­able’ that peo­ple were still ig­nor­ing health guide­lines, such as so­cial dis­tanc­ing and not meet­ing in groups.

Deputy Brady said: ‘I was con­tacted by a large num­ber of peo­ple who ex­pressed se­ri­ous con­cerns about large num­bers of peo­ple queu­ing at the food stalls in Glen­dalough.

‘Peo­ple have been asked to so­cially space and avoid large gath­er­ings. The re­ports about Glen­dalough are con­cern­ing. Given the re­quest for peo­ple to play their part in slow­ing the spread of COVID-19, it’s un­be­liev­able that some peo­ple are still not tak­ing th­ese re­quests se­ri­ously.’

A huge crowd gath­ered at Glen­dalough which is star­tling con­sid­er­ing Covid-19 lock­down guide­lines.

Gar­dai di­vert­ing traf­fic away from Glen­dalough.

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