Hell Fire Club central to new €19m tourism plan for county

By Mary Dennehy

THE Hell Fire Club and Massey’s Estate could soon be an integral part of Dublin’s tourism portfolio after South Dublin County Council unveiled a €19 million draft master-plan – which could welcome up to one million visitors and generate around €4.3 million for the local economy in its first five years.

The council is proposing to develop a flagship tourism project in the Dublin Mountains and after examining a number of locations, the Hellfire Club and Massey’s Estate were chosen – which, if the project is passed, will see a tree-top walk link the two scenic locations.

Hellfire Club-2 

As per a memorandum of understanding with Coillte, which owns the lands, the council conducted a feasibility study that shaped a draft masterplan – which was presented to councillors on Monday.

The €19 million draft masterplan, which was led by Paul Keogh Architects, will connect with existing routes and trails and include a Dublin Mountains Visitor Centre, an events venue, a shuttle drop-off, an upgraded car park, an arrival promenade and a tree-top footbridge between the Hell Fire Club and Massey’s.

After the presentation on Monday, the council is progressing onto the next stage of the project, which involves preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and lodging a planning application with An Bord Pleanála by the end of the year.

All planning applications that require Environmental Impact Statements must go directly to the planning authority, bypassing local authorities.

Frank Nevin, the Director of Economic, Enterprise and Tourism Development with South Dublin County Council, told The Echo: “We want to make sure that this development does not impact on the environment or its scenic views and the Environmental Impact Statement will deal with a host of issues that will help us ensure that the environment remains unique and that all [historical] architecture will remain protected alongside flora and fauna.

“People also live in the area and many local people use this area every day for walking. We have to make sure that this development does not disadvantage them; we have to look at the overall environmental impact.

“Transport will be key to this and we need to examine how we can get people in, around and out again without impacting on this natural and historical area.”

According to visitor projection reviews, which were carried out by economist Jim Power, the proposed project, which will be developed in partnership with Coillte, has the potential to generate nearly €4 million for the local economy in its first five years – with up to one million tourists expected to visit in the same timeframe.

Mr Power is quoted in the report as saying: “The proposed flagship attraction in the Dublin Mountains has the potential to become an integral part of the overall Dublin tourism portfolio and make a significant economic and financial contribution to tourism in Dublin and at a national level.”

The council told The Echo that it hopes to lodge its planning application and Environmental Impact Statement to An Bord Pleanála by the end of the year – and will then identify funding.

Mr Nevin said: “The council will have to make a contribution to the project but we will be working on looking for funding opportunities for this project, which has huge potential due to its beauty, views, wildlife, history and close proximity to Dublin city and services such as hotels, restaurants and shopping centres.”



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