After planning was granted for diving boards to be built at Fenit Beach, Kerry, locals have set their sights on developing the sheltered beach even further.
Over 20 years ago, the diving boards at Fenit Beach – a small, sheltered sandy beach, looking south onto Tralee Bay – were dismantled.
A campaign started locally to bring the boards back, and planning has been granted for their restoration.
The campaign group – The Fenit Development Association – must now begin fundraising, with hopes that the works will get underway next year.
These new amenities, along with the opening of the new Tralee to Fenit greenway, have spurred locals to consider further developments in the area.
Newtalk's Josh Crosbie travelled to the sheltered beach to speak to swimmers, campaigners and councillors about what's next for the area.
"I grew up at the sea, I just love the sea," said one local woman.
"I'd love to see an outdoor pool that would just be amazing."
One local, who cycles from Tralee to Fenit to train, told Josh it would "be absolutely fantastic to have a facility" like the outdoor pool at the beach.
Other swimmers expressed concern that the pool could potentially become an eyesore.
"I'm unsure about it, I don't know if I like the idea of it. I think the beach looks better right now," she said.
"If it becomes disused, in time, is it gonna become an ugly thing in the area then?"
Last week, councillor Mikey Sheehy put forward a motion to the municipal district to investigate the possibility of developing a natural outdoor saltwater pool at Fenit through EU funding streams.
This idea was backed by The Fenit Town Hall Group, who said Fenit was "the ideal location for an outdoor pool in Kerry."
Chairperson Mikey Moriarty told Josh that "the money is there in the EU."
"We're hoping that maybe if we put a proposal to Kerry County Council that they might take it on and seek the funding in Europe," he said.
"We are the primary location for long-distance swimming, we'd like to see it happen in Fenit.
"There'll be demand, Olympic swimmers can train in it."
The diving boards
John Edwards, the owner of Wild Water Adventures, said the area would benefit from "blueways" trails.
"They're like a greenway but in the water – they're sea trails," he said.
"Fenit is such an ideal location for blueways, and it would be kind of unique to have blueways running next to a greenway."
Liam Doyle from The Fenit Development Association said the group are primarily focusing on making the new developments safe for swimmers.
"To risk assess [the diving board] and make it safer than it already was, we have to go out approximately nine metres from the face of [the wall], create a circular column of about 2.5 metres and the board itself then is cantilevered out from that about another 3.6 metres," he said.
There are calls for an outdoor pool to be developed at Fenit.
Planning has been granted for diving boards to be built at the beach in the Kingdom.
— Josh Crosbie (@JoshCrosbie3) June 21, 2023
Mr Doyle said swimmers would then be in an adequate depth of water at any time for diving.
"We also have made it safe by adding a barometer which has colour-coding on it to show you when the tide is suitable for diving," he said.
"We also have a separate platform here for people with any form of disabilities.
"If you're willing to put in the hard lift, work out what the economic benefits are, then the likes of your council will work with you."
The Fenit Development Association Chairperson, Mike O'Neill, said the diving boards took 13 years of campaigning to get across the line.
"As we predicted, it's a massive community amenity ... it's in its infancy and I think the potential is massive."
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