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Nature and the Environment in Nineteenth-Century Ireland$
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Matthew Kelly

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620320

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620320.001.0001

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On Why the UK’s First National Park Might Have Been in Ireland

On Why the UK’s First National Park Might Have Been in Ireland

(p.118) 6 On Why the UK’s First National Park Might Have Been in Ireland
Nature and the Environment in Nineteenth-Century Ireland

Matthew Kelly

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the debate provoked by the decision to place the Muckross Estate in Co. Kerry on the market in the 1890s. Home Rule MPs, among others, insisted that the state should buy the estate on behalf of the people and manage it as a National Park. Inspiration was taken from the emergent U.S. National Park system and the campaign was framed in terms of how expanding expectations of the state might deliver justice for Ireland, particularly in the context of the over-taxation and Home Rule controversies. Attention is also paid to the National Trust’s engagement with the question. The controversy is contextualised through a discussion of the valorisation of the Lakes of the Killarney over the course of the nineteenth century and the story is taken into the twentieth century by considering independent Ireland’s struggle to maintain the site as a National Park.

Keywords:   National Parks, National Trust, Killarney, Public access, Home Rule, Preservationism, Ireland, Environment

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