Tralee’s Aqua Dome shuts doors to visitors until 2021 due to Covid-19

One of Kerry's major tourist attractions - the Aqua Dome in Tralee - will shut its doors to visitors for the remainder of the year due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The Dome is a crucial part of the tourism infrastructure of Co Kerry and employs up to 40 people during the peak summer season. Last year, there were 126,000 visits made to the waterpark which may now not re-open until Easter next year.

Chairman of the Aqua Dome Denis Reen said there was little option but to close the attraction:

“Opening the facility with reduced numbers and the necessary social distancing would result in heavy losses,” he said.

As reported by The Irish Examiner, a “prevailing litigation culture” was also a factor in the decision to close the waterpark, with directors concerned that just one case would be enough to close the Dome permanently.

Earlier this year, the directors warned the Aqua Dome could close if insurance claims against the facility grew. Its insurance premiums last year totalled €90,000, up about €50,000 in just five years.

The attraction's chief executive, Kieran Routledge, had described efforts to keep the waterpark open as a continuing battle as it only made a profit during the summer months.

He said the high level of personal injury awards for minor injuries as a significant problem and that the cost of dealing with claims had prevented the facility from developing further.

“We could be twice the size or we could drop the admission prices but for the insurance costs,” he said.