Access to National Parks & Nature Reserves

On foot of the additional measures  announced to protect citizens by delaying the spread of COVID-19, all visitor centres and information points  at National Park and Nature Reserve sites are closed to the public until at least March 29th. This includes all facilities, including toilets. While visitor centres and facilities are closed, the National Parks and Nature Reserves have remained accessible.

We would remind all members of the public who choose to access these sites of the need to respect and adhere to social distancing requirements and all HSE guidance. While there is space at most sites to facilitate some access to fresh air and exercise for people during this period, NPWS staff have noticed irresponsible behaviour at site (large social groups gathering on communal walks as opposed to small family units walking) which could increase the risks of onward transmission of COVID-19.

We are actively working to delay the spread of this virus, so that our health system will be able to respond effectively. While we understand people feeling the need to get outdoors at this time, such activity should be cognisant of social distancing requirements. Social distancing aims, through a variety of means, to decrease or interrupt the spread of COVID-19. It does this by minimising contact between potentially infected individuals and healthy individuals.

Social distancing is keeping a 2 metre (6 feet) space between you and other people. You should not shake hands or make close contact where possible. All citizens are required to:

  • avoid crowded places
  • increase interpersonal distance (ideally separation of at least 2 metres, not shaking hands, avoiding communal sleeping areas)
  • when in crowded settings, people should practice personal protective measures as they usually do (for example, frequent hand hygiene, avoid touching eyes/nose/mouth)

These are extraordinary times and appropriate actions now will be of great long term benefit. Please, if you are accessing outdoor spaces at these times make sure you are adhering to the principles of social distancing as well as any and all guidance from the HSE. Do not congregate in large groups.