The company, affiliated with billionaire John Magnier, wants to build a hotel on the southern slope of the Rock of Cashel

A planning application to build a hotel on the southern slope of the Rock of Cashel was flatly rejected.

Development plans for lands in Cashel owned by the operating company of the Cashel Palace Hotel, developed by billionaire John Magnier, have been submitted to Tipperary County Council.

The proposed development would provide an additional 28 hotel rooms in two blocks of one and a half floors each.

The development is intended to provide additional hotel guest accommodation to support the existing Cashel Palace Hotel.

However, historians, conservationists and archaeologists say the development will take place within the early medieval royal site.

Were development to proceed, archaeologists who have worked at the site say, it would ruin the national monument’s aesthetic and negate any chance of gaining UNESCO World Heritage status.

The British Virgin Islands registered company Marymount Assets Limited has applied for planning permission.

It is accompanied by a letter of consent from Trevester Unlimited Company, based at the Cashel Palace Hotel.

Tipperary County Council will accept submissions on the controversial application through Monday, November 28, and a decision is expected by December 19.

Archaeologist Neil Jackman said the proposed development would be “a horrific act if carried out”.

“It’s such an important monument. When people look at the Rock of Cashel, they see the massive complex of buildings at the top and think that’s it.

“But it’s actually spreading much more widely.

“One of the things that jeopardizes the proposed development is the hope that the site will be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as one of Ireland’s Royal Sites.

“This development would certainly seriously jeopardize that because it goes against all ethos of sustainable development.

“World Heritage status for the Rock of Cashel could bring huge tourism to the city and the associated international reputation would be jeopardised.

“I fully understand that Cashel has not benefited from tourism over the years. Many visitors come but do not stay and accommodation is needed.

“But it’s all about the place, and that’s not appropriate at all.

“It will undoubtedly destroy archeology. And it’s going to have a really serious negative impact on the visual aspect of the Rock of Cashel.

“It’s one of those places you can see from miles away. And that would really damage that view.

“It’s even on the GAA Crest. What are we gonna do, sew a little hotel to the side?

“It’s amazing how close they plan when building. It’s certainly not just in the wider landscape, but in the immediate landscape of the place itself.

“Where they want to put that is totally inappropriate and there are other options.

“You can’t turn back the clock either.

“If they go ahead and dig up, a destructive act of taking a site apart, you can’t put it back together.

“And it’s not enough for them to say geophysical surveys were done because they don’t show everything. Certain types of features are not displayed.

“Daytime soil and weather conditions can also affect surveys.

“It’s the wrong location for a hotel and it hurts exactly what visitors want to see.

“I think it would be a horrific act if it continued. I think it would be something that would be deeply regretted over time.

“This incredible site that has stood there for over a thousand years will forever be impacted by this one decision.

“It’s not that people are opposed to investing in Cashel; it’s about the location. It’s just wrong.”

The hotel has been contacted for a comment. The company, affiliated with billionaire John Magnier, wants to build a hotel on the southern slope of the Rock of Cashel

Fry Electronics Team

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