On May 30, 2017, Americans Janet Price and her husband Don Theiler, were on holidays in Kerry and went cycling at the Gap of Dunloe. Tragically Janet lost her life on that cycle. An inquest later returned a verdict of accidental death.
ince then the family has campaigned for signage and safety measures at the Gap of Dunloe. This week the family – including Don and Janet’s two daughters Jennifer and Erika – made a submission to Kerry County Council who are currently undertaking a public consultation process about how the Gap of Dunloe area should be managed from tourism, transport, access and environmental perspectives.
In their submission the family has called for traffic to be limited to the popular beauty spot. In a letter previously sent to Kerry County Council in 2018, and which is included in the submission, the family outline their concerns about safety at the Gap of Dunloe.
“The road is very narrow and is frequently shared by variety of hikers, bikers, tourist pony carts, farm vehicles and automobiles. There are numerous blind curves with people and vehicles travelling in both directions,” the letter states. It also suggests that more signage is needed and that control of vehicles on certain sections of the road should be further restricted.
Mr Theiler is now calling on Kerry County Council to again consider traffic restrictions at the Gap of Dunloe.
“Limiting the vehicle travel on the road to residents and other authorised vehicles would improve the environment for visitors to the Gap in many ways, in addition to making the road immeasurably safer for everyone.
“It will improve air and water quality as a result of a reduction in emissions of pollutants from the vehicles using the road. It will improve the overall experience for all of the visitors to the road by reducing congestion and removing the vehicles which detract from the vistas.
“All of the individuals who visit deserve to do so in a completely safe manner. Unfortunately that is not possible at this time,” he says.
He has called on the council to update him on the outcome of the public consultation.
The council has initiated the process of a management plan as congestion and delays during the tourist season is being experienced more frequently in recent years by both visiting and local road users. This is leading to a diminution of the experience for some visitors and is also making it more challenging for residents in the locality.