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Action needed to exploit tourism potential and ‘take back’ Co Armagh beauty spot

Multi-agency meeting in May to address concerns over Carrigatuke Viewpoint

A meeting to tackle dumping and boost visitor numbers to one of the county’s most scenic locations is due to take place early next month.

It is hoped that signage and seating – as well as resurfacing of the roads around Carrigatuke Viewpoint – will be discussed.

And incidents of dumping which have blighted the countryside for some time will also be on the table during the multi-agency meeting.

Armagh I received more complaints from visitors over the course of the past few days insisting that something be done.

Now SDLP Councillor Sharon Haughey-Grimley has confirmed that the multi-agency meeting will take place in early May to discuss improvements at Carrigatuke.

She told Armagh I : “It has taken some time to tie down all those who we need for a multi-agency meeting following my request back in March.  

“However I am delighted to confirm that a meeting will now take place in early May to discuss how we can make improvements at Carrigatuke Viewpoint and finally stamp out illegal dumping there.

“Representatives from the Council’s Tourism Department, Forestry Service and Roads Service will be in attendance.

“There are a number of issues that need to be resolved, including the urgent erection of permanent cameras to finally stamp out illegal dumping at this site. 

“The issue of illegal dumping has been a difficult and constant problem for the site, but temporary cameras have helped improve the situation and I believe the case has now been proven for permanent cameras, so that this beauty spot can be protected.”

Looking to the additional tourism potential, there is great potential which has to date gone unexploited, Councillor Haughey-Grimley explained.

She continued: “There are a number of other measures which I would like to see in place to improve the area, to include way markers to St Patrick’s Chair, tourism signage with detail of the local Patrick story connecting Armaghbreague with the bull’s track in Ballymacnab and the Cathedrals in Armagh City.  

“Road signage, bins, seating and of course resurfacing of the access road is very badly needed if we are serious about opening this area up to more visitors.

“I believe we need to develop a strategy to develop this area and that should include immediate actions followed by medium term and longer term aspirations.  

“I have called for this meeting so that we can take back this beauty spot and improve it for locals and visitors to enjoy its panoramic views.”

Such aspirations will indeed be welcomed by locals if they can become a reality.

One frequent visitor contacted us to raise a number of issues which will hopefully now be addressed at next month’s meeting.

She said: “The road leading up to it is in a seriously bad condition and is very hard to get any car up with the massive potholes and uneven road surfaces and, on wet days, massive puddles that mean it’s impossible even to walk up.

“I also feel that there should be a few more signposts put in place from the main road to help passersby find the point as it can be difficult to locate for anyone not from around the area and even for local people, as they are unaware of this point which is on their doorsteps, for this I find it a great shame.

“At the viewpoint I also think there should be a few signposts put up to indicate the direction of certain areas – for example, north of this point is Armagh, east of this point is Dundalk etc.

“I feel that there should be also a path leading up to the Saint Patrick’s Chair and a sign stating some information regarding the chair and why it is situated here etc.

“As I am a frequent visitor to this stunning place I feel it would be a shame and a pity for this to go to waste and for other generations to forget about this picturesque viewpoint.”

She added: “I would appreciate it if you could raise some of these concerns and maybe something could be done to help improve it.”

Another local also contacted Armagh I and his primary concern was the anti-social elements.

He said: “I am a frequent visitor and see people angry on this page at the dumping and burnt out cars but the state of the road also needs looked at. It’s barely possible to even get up to it.

“In addition, the lack of signage needs looked at, and some information, or something like a compass at the viewpoint, would surely give it the care it needs as it is so beautiful.”

We forwarded the views of both on to Councillor Haughey-Grimley and she hoped that these suggestions can be looked at during the multi-agency meeting.

She added: “Carrigatuke Viewpoint is one of the highest’s parts of County Armagh and its views are undeniably spectacular.  

“It’s time we made this a designated beauty spot and invested in it as such.  

“This meeting will be the first step in starting that development plan and I will continue to push for these much needed improvements so that everyone can enjoy this peaceful and beautiful part of our countryside.”

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