Southern Trail News...
Great Southern Trail Books
As Christmas is coming a nice gift to consider for oneself or for family/friends at home or abroad may be one or more of the diverse books from the pens of three long-term activists who have striven to ensure that the Ballingrane (Rathkeale) to Tralee railway corridor remained in public ownership. Between them they have accumulated over a hundred years on the campaign and with fantastic public support over the years have collectively made the Great Southern Trail a reality.
An Tigh Fada
(1) Mike Mac Domhnaill "An Tigh Fada", Gortbuí, Caisleán Nua/Newcastle West, Co. Luimnigh/Limerick, V42 YK02 won the RTÉ Francis McManus Short Story Competition in 2013 and Liberties Press published Sifting: Uncle Ned & Other Stories in 2015. He has previously had two poetry collections in Irish and English published. This book, a collection of poetry in English, is called Forgiving Moon, published by Limerick Writers' Centre. It will be launched on Dec 11th but may be pre-booked from Dominic Taylor, 0872996409 email@example.com or www.limerickwriterscentre.com or from firstname.lastname@example.org. Cost €12. (His bilingual collection Mac Baintrí/Widow's Son is available for €10 incl p&p from the author) The publications are also available at O'Mahony's Bookstore, Limerick and Tony Hayes (Daybreak), NCWest.
We hope to have a zoom launch of Forgiving Moon on Friday Dec11th. Details to be finalised.
Anyone who visited the trail in Templeglantine will remember the redoubtable Mary Carmody/Máire Ní Chearmada RIP. There is a poem in the book dedicated to her and one to Annie O'Mahony RIP, Bishop Street. The one for Mary C came about after the Heritage Council visited us relating to a grant we were seeking.
What she meant –
Soldiers We Will Be
(2) Michael Guerin's new book " Soldiers We Will Be" A Military History From Wolfe Tone's French Retreat on the Shannon Estuary 1796 to FCA Days in Kerry.
ISBN 9780992742423 . price €12.99. 192 pages over 400 photographs and years of military research information for the period. Due to Covid19 it is a difficult time to be publishing a book, but the content is very relevant for this period and I had to publish now. Your help in promoting will be appreciated.
It is available from O'Mahony's Booksellers Shops Tralee 0667122266, Limerick 061 418155. and their online order page. https://www.omahonys.ie/soldiers-we-will-be-p-10488892.html Also from Woulfes Bookshop Listowel 06821021. Writer's Museum Listowel 06822212.
This book is totally self-financed. Any profits from the book sales will be used to republish my book "The Lartigue Listowel & Ballybunion Railway " in support of this great volunteer project. It is very keenly priced at €12.99 considering in its 192 pages, I have packed in over 400 photographs mainly from my own camera.
Many years of research in Irish archives locally and Dublin plus Military Archives in London collecting data. Several onsite visits to fortifications along the Shannon Estuary collecting GPS data, Measurements and photographic material all included in the book.
I think it's important to share this
material research from contemporary sources, as step by step we
witnessed the unfolding drama and birth pangs of Ireland's nationhood,
over 200 years of military associated history in North Kerry and along
the Shannon Estuary.
Military History from records in Listowel and Tarbert including unique photos from my camera. The two Catholic families lived at the foot of Ballygrennane Hill Listowel, who achieved great fame fighting for the British Army.
For the war of independence I have focused on my own family part, in particular my grandfather Paddy Guerin who was District Inspector of the Sinn Fein Police, how his nephew John Lawlor a clerical Student aged 18, was brutally beaten by the RIC Dec 31st 1920 and died from the effects 1st Jan. 1921. His Aunt my grandmother Ellen Guerin laid on top of him trying to stop the beating.
A detailed account with Photos of the Civil War in North Kerry up to the Clashmealcon caves last battle of the Civil War..
The healing effect of the formation of the LDF 1939 and FCA 1946 from the emergency to 2005. included are numerous photos from my camera and a detailed history, list of people involved from all over North Kerry. Michael Guerin Mobile 00353 874645275
Limerick Kerry Railway
GREAT SOUTHERN GREENWAY
Infrastructural upgrades to the Great Southern Greenway Limerick, Part VIII - Cattle under & overpasses Great Southern Greenway. The supplementary material and documentation has now been uploaded to the www.limerick.ie website, please see the link below.
Submissions and observations in relation to the proposed development, may be made in writing to the Planning and Environmental Services Department, Limerick City and County Council, Dooradoyle Road, Limerick V94 WV78 or by e mail to email@example.com on or before 4pm on 27th November 2020.
HOW THE GREAT SOUTHERN TRAIL GREENWAY MORPHED FROM A GREENWAY TO A "WORKING FARMYARD" AT COOLYBROWN, ARDAGH, CO. LIMERICK.
The directors of the Great Southern Trail Ltd. (GST) have discussed the recent announcement https://www.limerick.ie/council/newsroom/news/major-eu5-million-investment-great-southern-greenway-limerick by Limerick City and County Council (LCCC) of a €5 million upgrade for the Greenway and wish to draw public attention to the history of the "Coolybrown working farm'' element of the otherwise broadly welcome proposals:
This story begins in 2003 with a successful planning application for a 180 square metre slatted unit to be constructed in a Coolybrown farm to the south of the railway. The application was revised in 2006 to double the size of the unit and this was also approved.
In the interim the adjacent old Limerick to Tralee railway corridor had its right of way protected by the Mid-West Regional Authority for recreational and environmental pursuits in 2004.
Therefore, in 2007, when another incarnation of the yet unbuilt slatted unit manifested itself in planning application (07/1592) Limerick County Council, referencing the Regional Authority guidelines, wrote to the applicant on 20July that it was "not favourly disposed" to the application and advised that it should be relocated to the northern side of the railway where the bulk of the farmlands and buildings were located. The Council requested further information. Surprisingly, having received no new information or proposals (only a regurgitation of the previous 2003 and 2006 files (received on 30 July )) the Council approved the application on the following day, 31July 2007.
These events all pre-dated the 2010 development of the Rathkeale-Ardagh section of the Greenway; all of which works were undertaken by the GST. It was only then that it came to light that the plans approved three years earlier for (07/1592) had not been complied with. The slatted unit was now several metres closer to the railway than the planning permission permitted. In fact the cattle were being fed on the CIÉ railway property. It was most surprising to the GST that Limerick County Council hadn't apparently checked over the intervening three years to see that the structure had been built in accordance with the planning permission. The unauthorised slatted unit also received grant-aid from public funds; a matter which again merits investigation.
With the opening of the Rathkeale-Ardagh section by the GST the regulation of the situation in Coolybrown was an imperative. The landowner applied for retention under new conditions. It was to be hoped that the decision on this application (12/222) would bring closure to the saga and satisfy all the parties. The permission was granted but conformity with the conditions by the applicant and enforcement of them by the Council has unfortunately been less than satisfactory.
That's the story of the southside of the railway and now we proceed to the northside. CIÉ, being the owners of the railway route, have compounded the "working farm" scenario. They chose to split the railway corridor in half over a length of several hundred metres on the northside of the track in the Rathkeale direction. This was to facilitate the same landowner with direct and easy access to some external lands that he was renting. This more than generous decision of CIÉ in the early months of 2011 was as a result of representations made by a third party (whose name is known to the GST) directly to the then Chairman of CIÉ, Dr. John Lynch (recently deceased).
The overall result of the CIÉ and LCCC indulgence is that non local users of the Greenway when encountering a narrowing of the railway route and its less than attractive appearance, to their left and to their right, actually believe that they are in a farmyard.
To compound all of the above the LCCC current plan to use public funds and to detour away from the railway for a length of 800 metres is the final capitulation. It is also a recipe for similar demands on sections yet to be developed. During the GST twenty-five years of campaigning, developing and managing the Greenway we never entertained requests to deviate from the railway corridor. We viewed it as land held in trust by CIÉ for the people of Ireland.
Our hope now is that wiser council will prevail with this ill-advised current proposal being further investigated and resolved in the public interest.
The GST Greenway has the capacity to be a world class facility and of major benefit to locals and visitors alike. The integrity of the entire way without any proposed private diversion is a key element of the facility now and for future generations.
Le gach dea-ghuí,
MARY CARMODY TEMPLEGLANTINE.
The 4th August 2003 bridge: Mike Mac Domhnaill, Mary Carmody, Denis McAuliffe, Tom McCoy, Fr. Tom Hurley P.P. who blessed the bridge
Do Máire Ní Chearmada, Teampall an Ghleanntáin Ó Mike Mac Domhnaill.
Bhí grá ag Mary don teanga i gcónaí agus seo ceann a scríobh mé fuithi cupla bliain ó shin, bhí mé ag Devon Road Cross agus ar fáth éigin thainig sí isteach i mo cheann.
Both of the approaches to Tullig Wood involved bridge crossings and both railway bridges had been demolished. This made access to the Wood somewhat awkward for many years. Mary vowed that the situation would be remedied. She ensured that one bridge was reinstated in 2003 by the Great Southern Trail Ltd. with the assistance of international and local volunteers. Some years later her prayers were finally answered when local business man, Mike Condon, manufactured, donated and installed a new bridge over the public road near Devon Road Station in 2009.
years Mary's health deteriorated and it was with great sorrow that we heard
of her death on the 7th of April 2020. She is now buried in her native
Templeglantine and our sympathy is with her sister, Pat (USA) and with all
her relatives and friends. Go n-déana Dia trócaire ar a h-anam dílis.
March 2009 bridge: Mike Condon, Mary Carmody, Paddy Condon R.I.P.
GST Greenway Xmas 19
Listowel Walkers in photo, Michael & Aine
Guerin with Charlie Nolan
Turning the sod at Listowel (Great Southern Trail Greenway)
In Listowel, County Kerry on Friday 29 November 2019 Brendan Griffin T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Transport Tourism and Sport, turned the first sod of the 10.5km section of the Great Southern Trail Greenway (GST) which will connect Listowel to the existing 40km in County Limerick.
Later, at a similar ceremony in Fenit he inaugurated the 10km of works to link Fenit to Tralee.
When these two projects are completed attention will be turned to the remaining 28km from Listowel to Tralee of the old railway line so that the villages of Lixnaw, Abbeydorney and Ardfert can also enjoy the benefits of a Greenway. When that is achieved the GST will become the longest Greenway in Ireland.
Denis McAuliffe,Vice-Chair, Great Southern Trail Greenway (GST); James Collins, Purt, Abbeyfeale; Michael Guerin, GST Coordinator, North Kerry; Cllr. Jimmy Moloney, Cathaoirleach, Listowel Municipal District Council; Minister Brendan Griffin T.D.; Liam O Mahony, Cathaoirleach GST Ltd; Cllr. Niall Kelleher, Mayor of Kerry; Mike Mac Domhnaill, GST Ltd.
Sod turning under the bridge at the old Fenit railway station.
YouTube short video of the Listowel ceremonies.
The annual Christmas Walk along the Great Southern Trail Greenway
place on Friday 27th December 2019. Assembly is at the carpark of the
Rathkeale House Hotel, Rathkeale, Co. Limerick [Eircode V94NP54] between
12.30pm and 1.30pm. Bus Éireann services from Kerry and Limerick stop a few
metres from the hotel for those who wish to reduce their carbon footprint.
Cyclists, with visibility gear and lights, are also welcome and we suggest that they also meet at the hotel at 12.30 and cycle outwards along the Greenway for approximately one hour or more towards Newcastle West/Barnagh Tunnel and then return in time to enjoy the refreshments. The round trip to the tunnel is close to 30 miles [48km].We recommend that cyclists also wear a helmet for their own safety. Bike hire will also be available (preferably by prior booking) with firstname.lastname@example.org 0868134061. Nollaig Shona do gach éinne agus beidh fáilte romhat ar an 27ú.
Open Day at Barnagh Tunnel on Great Southern Trail Greenway
In connection with Local Link bus services the Great Southern Trail Ltd.
invites the public to visit the historic railway tunnel at Barnagh , Co.
Limerick on Saturday 21st September. The tunnel is now connected to the
Greenway following improvement works carried out by Limerick City and County
Council and was officially opened in a ceremony on Friday 13th September!
GST August Trip
Southern Trail August 31st visit to Ardmore, Dungarvan and Youghal
The cost for
coach travel and the meals is €55 which is payable to Pat Condon, Upper
Maiden Street, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick. Tel: 06962344 from 5-6pm. As
our previous excursions have been oversubscribed we recommend early payment
to guarantee your reservation. Beidh fáilte romhat!
Barnagh Station Greenway N21 Underpass
Work on the N21 underpass which will provide safe access to Barnagh Tunnel for GST Greenway walkers and cyclists is nearing completion. The historic Station House at Barnagh is also once again to be seen.
welcome on your bikes to Abbeyfeale, Co.Limerick, Old Station this Sunday at
11am to celebrate Bike Week on the Great Southern Trail Greenway.
Refreshments follow at 1pm after the 14k cycle to scenic Tullig Wood and
back. Beidh fáilte romhaibh. Contact GST Vice-Chairman, Denis McAuliffe
0872030535 for further information.
GST Greenway- Green Light for Fenit and Listowel.
At long last on 21st June 2019 State funding of €3.5 million for a 10.5km extension of the GST from the Limerick/Kerry Border to Listowel plus a further €3m for the 10km Tralee to Fenit Greenway has been announced.
There is also recognition that the Tralee to Listowel old railway will be incorporated into the GST the future.
Celebrate this dea-scéal by joining in the
National Bike Week cycle this Sunday from Abbeyfeale along the GST to Tullig
Wood: 14km round trip... refreshments afterwards. Contact 0872030535 for
Great Southern Trail Connemara Visit
On Bank Holiday Monday 6 May 2019 the Great Southern Trail group made an early departure from Newcastle West to visit the Connemara Greenway. Breakfast was partaken at the Forge in Moycullen giving everyone the energy for the Greenway Walk along the route of the old Midland Great Western Railway from Athry to Ballynahinch as well as a ramble through the estate of Ballynahinch Castle.
Frank Phelan R.I.P.
The death, on Holy Thursday 2019, of Frank Phelan, Walshestown, Castlemahon has taken from us a great raconteur, writer and local historian.
The photo illustrates one such Sunday with Frank (on the right) and myself negotiating obstacles along the Rathkeale to Ballingrane section on 7 May 2000. Frank was a good man to have at one's side.
Frank, and his wife Brigid, were great supporters of the Great Southern Trail from the outset. They were to the forefront in the long campaign to convert our old railway into a Greenway. Many is the Sunday that they participated in group walks along the then undeveloped route.
Sincere sympathy to Brigid, Anne, Pádraig and all the family from all your friends in the Great Southern Trail. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.
Liam O Mahony
Greenway will be closed
To facilitate ongoing construction to reconnect Barnagh Railway Tunnel to the Great Southern Greenway, please be advised the Greenway will be closed to users at Barnagh from 21st April to 21st June 2019.
Limerick City and County Council appreciate your co-operation and patience while we undertake these works and regret any inconvenience caused.
On Friday 5th April 2019 the head of the Irish Government, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar (5th from the left), and his entourage visited the Great Southern Trail Greenway tunnel at Barnagh; 7km West of Newcastle West on the N21 road.
European Greenways Association (EGWA) Conference
The Cathaoirleach of Great Southern Trail Ltd., Liam O Mahony, was a guest speaker at the European Greenways Association (EGWA) Conference in the Basque Country, Spain which was attended by 200 guests who heard presentations from 30 guest speakers ranging across 10 countries. The two day event was very generously hosted by the Basque Autonomous Community of Spain.
Great Southern Trail May 6th visit to Connemara.
On Bank Holiday Monday 6th May a coach will depart from the Market Yard, Newcastle West at 7a.m. to visit the Connemara Greenway.
Our first stop will be for breakfast in the Forge, Moycullen (https://www.discoverireland.ie/Arts-Culture-Heritage/the-forge-bar-and-restaurant/87993).
The Connemara Greenway is planned to run all the way from Galway to Clifden but our visit is to a 6km section which was only opened in 2018 (http://connemaragreenway.ie/about-2/). It is very scenic and includes wonderful lakeside stretches.Our walk/cycle ends near Ballynahinch Castle which also has its own parkland and walks.
In the afternoon we will continue deeper into Connemara to the Lough Inagh Lodge Hotel for tea and scones with time to relax. (https://www.loughinaghlodgehotel.ie/en/)
A full four course dinner at the Old Ground Hotel in Ennis will be provided en route home(https://www.oldgroundhotelennis.com).The cost for coach travel and the three food stops is €60 which is payable to Pat Condon, Upper Maiden Street, Newcastle West, Co.Limerick.(Tel: 06962344 from 5-6pm). As our previous excursion was oversubscribed we recommend early payment to guarantee your reservation. Beidh fáilte romhat!