Uimhir Thagarta Uathúil: 
Denis & Maura O'Leary

7 Tourism



Pre-draft process for the County and City Development Plan 2020

Dear Sir,

Our submission is in relation to the possible inclusion in the above mentioned plan of the provision of parking facilities in Kilkenny City for Motor homes.

Such facilities are commonplace in Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom and most of the EU countries.

The concept is a French one which started back in the early 1980’s with the first ‘Aire’ system and now there are in excess of 20,000 sites throughout the EU ranging from as small as 4 to 5 bays in small villages to 300 bay sites at premier tourist locations on the prime tourist routes.

It should be noted that the European model which has been developed since the early 80’s and which now represents best practice, provides solely for the provision of parking for motor homes and it is an express condition of all such facilities that absolutely no camping activity is allowed whatsoever and this is provided for in the laws covering general parking regulations for each country.

Charges range from free to €10 to €12 per 24 hour stay, the maximum stay is usually limited to 48 hours.

Electricity is free on some sites while at others is supplied by meter and paid for either by an older token system but now more usually by credit card.

Sites are usually located in or closely adjacent to the venue centres so that the visitors can access the local shops, bars, restaurants within easy walking distance of the site.

Typically, motor home owners purchase approximately 100 litres of diesel to fill up and also carry two 11kg gas containers for refill not to mention expenditure on food drink entertainment etc.

In Germany for example the typical motor home purchaser is aged 60 plus, retired and consequently has a large block of leisure time at their disposal and considerable spending potential.

Apart from the Irish domestic scene which currently has in excess of 10,000 registered motor homes and a similar owner profile, the potential of the continental market (if it had the right type of facilities available here) is an enormous hitherto untapped tourism resource given the vast numbers of motor home owners in those countries who are now just one overnight ferry trip away from us.

It is important to note that overnight parking provision for motor homes which has no camping component is an entirely different concept to the traditional camping site which caters for a different market.

Traditional camping sites for example, require considerable investment to provide their unique facilities e.g. large open spaces and road structure, toilet blocks, shower blocks, cooking and washing facilities, play areas for the children, sport and leisure facilities which of their very nature require large sites away from built up areas due to the high impact of such sites.

Motor home owners already have all the facilities they require on board their vehicles and simply require a safe parking area for vehicles averaging 2.5 metres by 7 metres.

Infrastructural needs are thus minimal as their vehicles already have fresh water storage, waste water storage, fuel storage, toilet and shower provision and cooking facilities.

Apart from the dedicated parking bays, services are usually provided by way of a single service point which has the following features:

1. Potable water tap.

2. Gray water disposal.

3. Chemical toilet disposal with rinsing tap.

One central garbage disposal point and strategically placed electrical hook up points to cater for the number of bays are usually provided with payment now usually by way of credit card.

By virtue of their size motor homes are not a natural fit on regular car parking areas given the car sized spaces provided and the busy nature of such locations.

Since a motor home represents a huge investment for their owners they are usually unwilling to park them at locations where they are likely to be subjected to damage theft etc.

In our experience, the motor home community in Ireland and abroad appreciate and respect secure parking locations where facilities are provided and are in the main, very mature and environmentally responsible individuals.

Portumna in Galway which has recently developed its own motor home parking facility is a very good working example although it currently has only provision for 17 bays.

It is incredible that we are trying to market Irelands Ancient East and the Wild Atlantic Way which covers some 2,500 kms. and there is not a single motor home site available on the route!

In contrast Germany’s ‘Romantic Way’ route of a mere 350 kms. has 19 such sites provided.

The Mosel valley in Germany which sees many motor home visitors each year has a route of only 135 kms. between Trier and Koblenz, and yet has a facility provided every 10 kms on each side of the river!

It is a sad fact that such a high percentage of Irish motor home owners only use their vehicles for vacation on the continent due to complete lack of proper dedicated sites at home.

We also know from talking to fellow motor home enthusiasts from e.g. France and Germany, that they avoid holidaying in Ireland due to lack of dedicated sites here.

The small number of foreigners who do venture here, mainly have the smaller commercial vehicle conversion type motor homes which are but a tiny fraction of the motor home numbers we could be getting if we planned to provide proper facilities.

It should be borne in mind that increased vehicle capacity on new vessels by Irish Ferries between Ireland and France and the new Brittany Ferries vessel operating from Cork to Santander in Spain mean there is now a growing capacity for motor homes to visit Ireland and we should be responding in a positive way by providing the dedicated facilities.

We have in excess of 20 years experience of motor homing here and extensively abroad and would be delighted to render any assistance or use as sound boards on any project initiated to provide motor home parking in Kilkenny.

Yours sincerely


Denis and Maura O’Leary

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