Holmpatrick Cove, Skerries. 2nd Invitation to Walk the Land. Bank Holiday Monday, 30th October 2017 1p.m.

Walking the land has long been regarded as essential to an understanding of what happens on a farm and what must be done to ensure a positive outcome. The same can be said of the proposed development at Holmpatrick Cove, Skerries, granted full planning permission by Fingal County Council last January. The first public walk on the land was on October 8th, when several hundred people came along to see what is proposed. Many had never visited this area of Skerries before. They were astonished by the spectacular views that opened up before them. There was well-nigh unanimous support for the venture which offers much needed amenities to Skerries and the surrounding area: a ready-to-go coastal walk and training pitches for young people; a hotel; a swimming pool and gymnasium, all fully accessible to the public, plus an outstanding housing development by Baufritz, one of the leading builders of Eco housing in Europe. There was widespread dismay and disbelief at the fact that An Bord Pleanála had, after seven months of deliberation, denied permission for the scheme to proceed.

For any who were unable to visit Holmpatrick Cove on October 8th, a second general invitation to walk the site, is extended for  the Bank Holiday, Monday, October 30th. The entrance is not far away: 22 metres from Shennick Green open space, 128 metres from the nearest house in Downside Estate and 24 metres from the bus stop at Shennick Estate, all integral parts of the urban  area of Skerries town. This leads you onto the Coastal Walk, an objective of Fingal’s Development Plan since the 1970s, which can be realised by the Holmpatrick Cove Plan, at no cost to the Council or to the taxpayer! You will see the site for the proposed hotel. There is no hotel in or close to Skerries, noted in the Tidy Town report as a major gap in the social fabric of Skerries.

 

 

 

You will pass the site of the proposed, ready-for-use training pitches, very much desired by the sports clubs of Skerries and offered at no cost to the Council or to the taxpayer. The houses nearest to these training pitches stand at an average distance of 120 metres from the site. None of the occupants of these houses made any objection to the development of Holmpatrick Cove. The houses of the principal objectors stand between 150 metres and 305 metres from the pitches. Nevertheless, the Bord Pleanála refusal maintained that children playing on these pitches during daylight hours, (as there will be no flood-lighting)could cause inconvenience and damage the enjoyment of their houses by the occupants. As for the coastal walk, the objectors’ houses  are at an average distance of 310 metres from the coastal walk. My apologies for burdening you with statistics but compare the three main sports clubs, G.A.A. Soccer and Rugby Clubs whose pitches (flood-lit) are surrounded by housing estates that stand as close as 20 metres to the main pitches. Does anyone demand that these clubs should be removed? On the contrary, most residents  regard these clubs as valuable assets and good neighbours, encouraging healthy activity among hundreds of young people and as major contributors to the social capital of Skerries.

    

Consider if you will, the enormous benefit of the coastal walk, projected by the Council to go to Loughshinny, Drumanagh and Rush and even further. This would undoubtedly become one of the great tourist attractions of Fingal.

As pointed out at the last walk on October 8th, there have been campaigns for a swimming pool in Skerries for at least 40 years. There is no swimming pool in North Fingal. Holmpatrick Cove offers a swimming pool to serve the schools and general public for this area–again at no cost to the Council or to the taxpayer. You might like to read that again…no cost, either financial or environmental. The rigorous Environmental Impact Statement, the Archaeological and Ornithological Surveys show conclusively that environmental and cultural considerations have been at the forefront of this development. Yet permission was refused on foot of objections  from  a few individuals living close to the site.

Judge for yourself. You may read these objections (public documents) on the website of Fingal Planning…search planning applications online. F16A/0085, as you may study the plans, the history of this application and other correspondence under Documents. You can click on the last entry on the panel  CLICK HERE for the some details of the appeals against the Council Grant of permission, the BordPleanála decision and inspector’s report. Fingal PLo6F.247928  (Public documents.) If you are wearied, frustrated, angry or curious from all this reading, come along to Holmpatrick Cove on Monday next, Bank Holiday Monday 30th of October, take in the views, breathe the fresh air and give your imagination free rein to picture what could be here and has as yet, been denied permission by An Bord Pleanála against the wishes of your elected Council and the many people who signed the petition, as you can still do, in support of Holmpatrick Cove. Assemble at Shennick Green to  start at 1p.m.

 

See also the splendid photographs in Skerries News and videos on the Holmpatrick Cove Skerries  facebook site.

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Young men about town. La dolce vita. Time warp, Leo and Skerries News

Waves September 2012 and other pictures 026

Imagine my surprise on opening the September issue of Skerries News, to find a photograph (not the one above,) taken on my camera, probably sixty years ago. It shows a group of laid-back young lads sitting on a rock at The Captains bathing place in Skerries. I can almost recall the day. I can certainly recall the Kodak box camera, with sticky-plaster on the corners to keep out the light. (Free professional tip, there.) The shutter made a satisfying ker..pling to let you know that the scene had been successfully immortalised. I could almost name them all, fellows I spent a lot of time with in those far-off days, when the sun always shone and we ‘made one long bathing of a summer’s day.’ There were some with sun-tans and some with limbs as white and skinny as sticks of celery. There were one or two showing off their muscles. They were all smiling. How did Skerries News get hold of a picture that exists only in my memory? My picture was in sepia. Very strange.

For a brief time, my brothers and I were avid photographers. We learned how to develop photographs in a tray of ‘developer’ and fix them in a similar tray of ‘fixer.’ We had a red bulb under the stairs and an ordinary bulb in the hall for exposing the negative in a frame with the light-sensitive paper. It was all very scientific, provided you remembered which tray was which. The chemicals were kept in bottles on which we drew skulls and cross-bones and wrote in large letters DEADLY POSION or PSION or POISSON. The last one looked more likely. The others we crossed out.

It was intensely exciting to see the picture emerging in the developer. Writing with light, the literal translation of ‘photography.’ Sometimes it was so exciting that we ran out to show the result to the rest of the family, only to see the image fade in the harsh light of day or the harsher light of an ordinary bulb. Blast it! Forgot the fixer. We might as well have been photographing the Cheshire Cat.

We sort of gave up photography when the Guards began to enquire about the increasing numbers of dead Frenchmen being found in the area. They knew they were French because they wore berets and striped jerseys and carried bunches of onions around their necks. Some were still clutching bottles of a deadly poison which, the Guards surmised, they had mistaken for some kind of Irish chowder. One or two were able to mumble something about a red light district before expiring in agony. The Guards shook their heads sadly. Ah, these French! (That last paragraph is a complete lie, Your Honour.)

The notice at the Captains advises ‘competent swimmers only.’ It used to say:’ Beware of rocks and bootlace weed.’ It also stated the hours set aside for Ladies’ Bathing. It was during the grey and dismal Fifties, after all. We were all depressed, although we didn’t know it. Times change and practices change also, but some things remain. Youngsters still spend their summer days at the Captains. They have had a great season. Good sense keeps them out of the water on days such as the one depicted, no matter how competent they may be.

Wait a minute. Have another look at that picture in Skerries News. That’s not me. That young fellow on the left is my grandson, Leo. You can see that he inherited the family good looks. How did he get into a sixty-year-old photograph? I get it. Terns still roost on Rockabill. Cormorants and gulls still inhabit the islands and young lads still perch on the rocks of the Captains, all summer long. The article refers to exchanging swimming togs for school uniforms. Life isn’t all fun and games, Leo. Lounging around, shooting the breeze and laughing all year round, is a job best left to grandparents.

Heh! Heh!