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Governing Recreational Activities in Ireland: a partnership approach to sustainable tourism


  • Thomas van Rensburg
  • Edel Doherty

    () (Department of Economics, National University of Ireland, Galway)

  • Catherine Murray


In Ireland increased public access for recreation presents challenges to policy makers concerned with tourism and rural development. Recreation activities such as mountaineering, walking and cycling can contribute to the regeneration of marginalised rural areas and enhance residents' quality of life. However, de facto access to common and private farm land also generates conflicts between recreationists, landowners and government authorities. Using common pool resource theory we describe the formation and development of two partnerships in the mountains of Mourne (Northern Ireland) and the Wicklow uplands (Republic of Ireland). Our findings indicate that partnerships can reduce recreational conflicts involving complex property rights and diverse stakeholders by re-positioning incentives yet avoid changes in land ownership and property rights. Community based contracts and access agreements between the state, partnerships and landowners has lead to the adoption of new rules by walking associations, regulation enforcement and public-private investment in trail development.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas van Rensburg & Edel Doherty & Catherine Murray, 2006. "Governing Recreational Activities in Ireland: a partnership approach to sustainable tourism," Working Papers 113, National University of Ireland Galway, Department of Economics, revised 2006.
  • Handle: RePEc:nig:wpaper:0113

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    JEL classification:

    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General


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