Chaotic traffic scenes at Cahore South Beach last weekend caused congestion, delays and residents to be ‘locked into their homes’ as people from across the country scrambled to the sea during the heatwave.
While traffic scenes at Cahore pier were busy but manageable, Chairperson of the Cahore Inshore Rescue Service, Ann Connolly said that scenes at Cahore South were a different story.
"There was a huge problem in Cahore south. I believe the traffic up there was chaotic,” said Ms Connolly. “A lot of the people were locked into their homes. They couldn’t drive out the lane to get on to the main road.”
“It would certainly be a health and safety issue.”
Owner of Cahore Point Mobile Home Park, Ann Hall said that the fine weather attracted a lot of traffic, with people parking their cars on either side of the lane to their holiday home park. While residents were able to get in and out of the park, she said the congestion may have caused an issue should there have been an emergency.
"Our biggest worry was that the entrance going into our park was blocked up with cars. We have a lot of elderly residents and if an ambulance or fire brigade needed to get into the park, they wouldn’t have been able to do so,” she said, adding that she advised Gardai of the situation on Sunday.
Ms Hall said that the introduction of the overflow car parks to the area has proven extremely beneficial, but said that the lack of camping facilities is putting strain on the facilities as campers are using them to stay in on sunny weekends.
"Last year, there was a big problem with parking in Cahore and we organised a group and got on to the council. We got two parking areas in Cahore, one opposite the pier and one opposite south beach. They are working a dream. The only problem is, they’ve been taken over by campers and tents. It’s lovely to see people come and enjoy the beach, but we don’t want to see them taking up parking spaces,” she said. “The big problem with Cahore as far as I can see is there are no camping facilities anywhere. John and I were getting ten phone calls a day in the last few weeks from people looking to camp. They weren’t just people from Ireland. We had people from Germany, France and Austria. There are no facilities in the area. The tents and campervans are taking up all the spaces. They’re lining up in front the pier and could take two parking spaces each.”
Ms Hall said that, on any given night last weekend, there were up to 20 campervans and tents between the pier and the two car parks, with many more tents on Cahore South Beach. Aside from leaving rubbish behind, she said that the campers caused no major issues in the area.
"They’re not giving any trouble and not causing any hassle. They’re just taking up spaces.”
Local Councillor Mary Farrell said that she was not contacted about any traffic issues at Cahore South over the weekend. However, she said that a proposed additional temporary car park – which was set to be located approximately halfway between Cahore South and Old Bawn – could have prevented such situations should it not have been objected to last year.
"There was meant to be another temporary car park but locals objected to it. The contract and all were nearly signed with the landowner, and people on the lane objected to it at the eleventh hour. If they don’t want people on the lane, and they don’t want people to park there, what do we do?” she said. “Of course, people have the right to get in and out of their own places. For people like myself, who try to alleviate the problems and come up with solutions to help the local people, and then for it to be objected to, it is frustrating.”
Cllr Farrell added that the bus service from Kilmuckridge to Morriscastle is helping to reduce traffic concerns at Morriscastle Beach and suggested it could be an option to explore at Cahore.
A spokesperson for Gorey Gardai said that the situation at Cahore was nothing out of the normal for a busy summer weekend.
"There was Garda presence and checkpoints around the area and any calls that were made were responded to. If any cars were parked illegally, tickets would have been issued.”
Gorey Gardai are advising those visiting beaches this summer to make sure they are parked legally and not to obstruct entrances.
While things were busy at Cahore Pier, the area didn’t face any major problems, according to Chairperson of the Cahore Inshore Rescue Service, Ann Connolly. However, she said that controlling traffic on busy days does still remain an issue there.
"Traffic management is still is a problem. Some people are going through the barrier and parking their car on the slip inside the barrier. There is definitely tweaking needed on it,” she said, adding that, despite this, Cahore Inshore Rescue Service would not have had an issue launching at the weekend if they needed to.
Overall, Ms Connolly said the recent completion of the barrier at the slipway in Cahore appears to have relieved issues they were facing earlier in the summer concerning jet ski call outs. Those who want to use the slipway now need to register online and pay an annual fee of €100. Since this measure was brought in, those who are using boats and jet skis at Cahore ‘aren’t just ambling up randomly’ and appear to be well-equipped and more experienced, she said.
“That could have contributed to why we didn’t have any callouts at the weekend despite having a lot of boating activity.”