This article originally appeared in The Law Society Gazette in August 2014 and is reproduced here with kind permission from the author Kevin Hoy.
Incentives for the use of the countryside are important for our rural economy. In Ireland, there is no common law ‘right to roam’ across land. While we may deal with certain landowner concerns, government intervention is required in respect of issues such as trespass and devaluation of property caused by public rights of way. Rights of way do exist, but the network of public rights of way in Ireland is very limited. The public may claim a right of way over land only if a particular and defined route has been dedicated by specific grant by a landowner and accepted by the public.