Sliabh Bawn: From controversial wind farm to popular recreational amenity…

Back in 2017, the Roscommon People ran a number of articles highlighting the controversy around the development of a wind farm atop Sliabh Bawn near Strokestown.

Public meetings were arranged as local residents voiced their opposition to the development while highlighting noise and ‘flicker’ disturbances caused by the giant rotating wind turbines.

Since then, local opposition aside, the wind farm, developed on Coillte lands, has become an extremely popular amenity for families, walkers, runners, and indeed nature and history enthusiasts.

Almost six years on from the official opening of the Sliabh Bawn recreation facilities, local senator, Eugene Murphy, says that while the wind farm was still a sore point for some, the site has also become an important attraction for visitors to the area.

“Some people are still annoyed about the development of the wind farm and I know that from speaking to local residents,” he began.

“But in general I would say it’s like traffic passing by your house in that you get used to it.

“For me, it’s like Heaven on Earth and I love getting out of the Lion’s Den here in Dublin and taking a walk up Sliabh Bawn. It’s great for peace of mind and it’s great for the lungs, and I would be a huge advocate of it”.

Senator Murphy also believes that initiatives such as the Sliabh Bawn Community Benefit Fund – joint venture between Bord na Móna, Coillte and Greencoats Renewables – have proved successful.

“The community fund has assisted a number of local festivals; the playground in Strokestown has benefitted; and other projects in Ballyleague and Scramogue. It has been a help, there’s no doubt about that,” he said.

“The development at Sliabh Bawn has also brought people to the area. I’ve spoken to a number of people in Dublin who told me they managed to fit in a couple of hours on the trails during visits to Strokestown Park House”.

While the amenity boasts a number of attractions such as various trails and exercise equipment as well as nature trails and old historic ruins, Senator Murphy has urged Sliabh Bawn DAC to provide additional facilities.

“I have been speaking to people in Coillte about the need for an area for people with disabilities, a second playground and more nature trails,” he said.

The Fianna Fáil Senator said that he has also raised the significance of Sliabh Bawn with representatives of Fáilte Ireland in a bid for further promotion as part of the Hidden Heartlands brand.