The Wild Atlantic Way route in West Cork should be among the best roads in the world, according to a hotel manager in the region, who said road closures due to rain is impacting and will continue to impact business in the area.
Neil Grant, general manager of Celtic Ross Hotel in Rosscarbery was speaking after areas of west Cork, particularly Rosscarbery, Dunmanway and Rathbarry, were devastated by heavy rain in recent days, with homes and businesses left flooded and roads severely damaged.
A nationwide weather advisory has since been put in place with further rainfall warnings likely and possible wind warnings.
The weather advisory, which came into effect from midday on Monday, will remain in place until Saturday at 6pm.
The Echo understands that the Minister with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), Patrick O’Donovan, is to visit West Cork today to assess the damage suffered in recent days.
Speaking to The Echo, Neil Grant said:
“The damage to the area has affected the people badly.
“There is a serious worry about tourism.
“Places like Long Strand and Glandore are beautiful areas but the road to Long Strand is completely broken up and covered in potholes while Glandore is not accessible through the normal route,” he added.
“For people that are visiting west Cork at this time of year, now they can’t even go and see some of the most beautiful places it has to offer.
“It was a very significant downpour but this isn’t the first time this has happened.
“The Glandore road was badly affected in 2012 as was the Rathbarry road.
“Here we are again with heavy rainfall and these roads are not able to cope again.
“Part of the Rathbarry road was closed recently for upgrades and had only just reopened but now it’s closed again.
“We are on the Wild Atlantic Way so this road network should be one of the best driving routes in the world.
“Now, we can’t welcome guests to see the places just off it.
“Drombeg stone circle and Glandore are jewels in the crown as far as I’m concerned in terms of the Wild Atlantic Way and west Cork and yet they’re now impossible to get to because of rain.
“If we’re serious about the Wild Atlantic Way and about west Cork being a destination that people can drive around to see these beauty spots and experience all it has to offer, we have got to have a road system that can handle it better.
“When roads flooded back in 2012, the issues obviously weren’t properly addressed because the Glandore road has been getting steadily worse.
Mr Grant said west Cork business is suffering again after Covid-19 impacted the tourism industry in recent months.
“It’s already been a bad year for tourism because of Covid-19 and now, just as we’re getting some momentum, this happens.
“The hotels, restaurants and other businesses have adapted to the situation to make sure that, even with the pandemic, we could keep in business, but the roads around us couldn’t deal with the rain,” he added.
Rosscarbery residents are hoping to hold a meeting next week to discuss the issues they face and the support they need, while adhering to government guidelines on gatherings.
Local TD Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) said the people of west Cork are nervous about the next few days and what the weather has in store.
“People are understandably very, very nervous.
“The council are doing their level best to get out there and clear gullies and divert streams where they might be a threat but obviously they won’t be able to get to every issue.
“Where households are in danger of flooding, the council has been very proactive in terms of taking remedial action to ensure that doesn’t happen again,” he added.
“In terms of roadways and road networks, there is a lot of nervousness out there that more damage will be caused.
“This isn’t going to be solved overnight and there are big issues in terms of culverts, pipes and drains that really need to be addressed.”
With the national weather advisory in place, west Cork is bracing for more bad weather in the coming days Met Éireann has warned that heavy and thundery rain can be expected for the duration of today with localised flooding and accumulations of 25 to 40mm in places.