Keep Ireland Open AGM

The Keep Ireland Open AGM will take place on Saturday 5th February 2022 in Wynn's Hotel, Lower Abbey St, Dublin starting at 11.a.m. All members are welcome to attend.

New Jan 2022 Newsletter now available

Click Here to Download the Jan 2022 Newsletter as a PDF File

Winter 2020 Newsletter now available

Click Here to Download the Winter 2020 Newsletter as a PDF File


Due to the latest lockdown our AGM which was due to take place on Sat 26 has been deferred. Hopefully we can reschedule this for a Sat near the end of October. Non members are welcome to attend.

Latest news on judgment in Glencree Court Case Walker V Leonach.

Daily Mail article on denial of access to beauty spots - First page (PDF reader required)

Daily Mail article on denial of access to beauty spots - Second page (PDF reader required)

Newsletter 59 [Autumn 2019] now available

Interesting RTE podcast which mentions access rights in Spain(Olivia O'Leary)

Keep Ireland open now has a facebook page


Who we are

Keep Ireland Open is a voluntary body composed of concerned individuals and a large number of bodies interested in the outdoors and the environment. These bodies include An Óige, the Catholic Guides of Ireland, the Irish Hang-gliding and Paragliding Association, Irish Rural Link, the Federation of Local History Societies, the Friends of the Irish  Environment, Scouting Ireland and many more clubs and organisations.

What we do

Keep Ireland Open is the only national voluntary organisation campaigning for the right of recreational users to responsible access to the Irish countryside, whether mountains, seashore, lakes, rivers, historic monuments or other natural amenities.

We are campaigning for clearly-marked legal rights of way, mainly in the lowlands. and the legal right to roam freely in more remote and upland areas. We also campaign against barbed-wire fencing, especially prevalent in the West, which is both unsightly and denies access.

Our primary goal is legislation to give recreational users the right to access our countryside.

Our role is to lobby Government, politicians, tourism interests and other bodies to protect and enhance access to the countryside.

We have written articles and had letters published in the national and local press and argued our case repeatedly on TV and radio.

We have recorded and publicised areas where access is barred, researched the much more favourable status of access in other European countries.

We have taken a case to the EU complaining against Ireland's excessive use of barbed-wire fencing (this case is ongoing but so far successful).

We also try to resolve access disputes as they arise, (though with limited numbers of active members we can deal with only some of the simpler cases). Our approach is to resolve these disputes in the early stages and so avoid a hardening of attitudes and entrenched positions. However, we have not the resources to tackle all cases that arise. This should properly be the role of local authorities or tourism interests.

We monitor all local authority development plans and make submissions with regard to rights of way - a huge task. We also publish a quarterly newsletter and maintain this website.

KIO - a short history

KIO was initially formed 1994 by a group which included farmers in the West of Ireland - among this early group was our present President Jackie Rumley - in response to the fencing off and sub-division of 2,400 acres of commonage. A High Court Case and an Oral Hearing of An Bord Pleanála in Castlebar resulted in successfully preventing the fencing off of this commonage.
As a result of this the group began to meet with hill walkers and realised there was no group speaking out for walkers' rights.
KIO has since dedicated itself to the preservation and creation of rights of access to the countryside. This includes rights of access to our mountains, lakes, rivers and coastal areas.

Presently, KIO is primarily an umbrella organisation that brings together the various recreational bodies that share the same aims. In addition we have many individual members and the validity of our mandate has been gradually recognised by the authorities and we are increasingly being consulted directly by government and local authorities on access and related matters.

KIO is an independent, voluntary, non-party political, non-denominational organisation.

As you will see in the following pages, recreational users have minimal rights to access the countryside. It is only by determined and sustained lobbying and campaigning that this situation can be reversed. We hope you will look at these pages and then consider contributing. Don't leave it to someone else!

Keep Ireland Open is not just for dedicated hill walkers. It is for all who want to access our countryside, be they walkers, ornithologists, archaeologists, historians, canoeists, anglers - just as has been achieved in other countries decades ago.
We need members to show that there are people who care about access. It is essential to show that we have a strong body of support when we talk to politicians. We need help in our work.



If you would like to inform us of any problems in your area please email us at

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