Wicklow National Park to be extended by nearly 5,000 acres

The state has purchased the land in the Featherbeds area of Dublin for €800,000

Wicklow National Park to be extended by nearly 5,000 acres

The Glen of Imaal in the West Wicklow Mountains. Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

The government has purchased a large area of land in the Dublin uplands which will be used to extend the Wicklow Mountains National Park.

The purchase of 4,900 acres (1,983 hectares) in the Featherbeds area of County Dublin will cost the state €800,000 - substantially below the valuation put on the land by NAMA.

The purchase will expand the size of the national park - the largest of its kind in the country - to 22,000 hectares.

The Minister of State for Regional Development, Michael Ring said the Featherbeds are an “important area for nature conservation” and will now provide an excellent public amenity.

“Their acquisition at a cost of approximately €163 per acre represents excellent value for the state, not just in terms of value for money but also in terms of the amenity potential, conservational benefits and environmental gains,” he said.

“The purchase underpins the Government’s on-going commitment to the preservation of our natural heritage for future generations of citizens and visitors alike to enjoy.”

The original NAMA valuation of the land would have seen the state spending €2.5m on the purchase and Mr Ring said the negotiated price is the result of a “a constructive engagement” between the Department and NAMA that addresses a long-standing strategy to align key environmental assets.”

The new land will be managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service alongside the Dublin Mountains Partnership.

Mr Ring said the expanded national park is reflective of the “on-going commitment of all stakeholders to improve the recreational potential of this area whilst ensuring the highest standards of nature conservation.”