Southern Trail News...

Book Launch Twilight Years

The Great Southern Trail Limited's newly published "Limerick & Kerry Railway: Twilight Years" by Liam O'Mahony will be delivered throughout all of Ireland for €15 (inc. postage). Orders from Britain will be £17stg and other countries €20 due to overseas postal rates. The book has 187 pages including a 32 page colour section. It is 170mm x 240mm format, soft cover. Enquiries to Liam O'Mahony, 9, Bishop St., Newcastle West, Co. Limerick V42HT66, Ireland to whom cheques should be made payable. 

If payment by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is preferred please email your name and address to and you will be provided with the bank BIC and IBAN. Please remind the bank to include your name on the EFT.

The book is also available for €15 at the following outlets: Quay Books, Arthur's Quay Centre, Patrick St., Limerick; Celtic Bookshop, 2 Rutland St., Limerick; Stacpoole Antiques, Adare; Domhnall Ó Gairbhí (Post Office), Thomas St., Rathkeale; NCW Book Shop, Market Place, Newcastle West; Sheehan's (Post Office), Templeglantine; Pat Buckley's Shop, Devon Road; Ann Lyons' Shop, The Square, Abbeyfeale; Woulfe's Bookshop, Listowel; Flavin's Newsagency, Listowel; Polymaths Bookshop, Courthouse Lane, Tralee.

On Friday 22 September at 7p.m. Newcastle West Library will host the launching of "Limerick & Kerry Railway: Twilight Years": a personal chronicle by Liam O'Mahony of the railway operations and the personnel who worked for CIÉ in West Limerick/North Kerry from the 1950's to the 1980's. The book also contains a reproduction of a 19th century illustrated travel guide extolling the attractions in the hinterland.

Also included are original documents providing a full listing of the hundreds of shareholders who invested in the 1860's construction of the Rathkeale & Newcastle Junction Railway and the outcome that befell them. The publication, published by the Great Southern Trail Ltd., hosts a wide range of photographs and colour posters as well as the local newspaper records of the years which witnessed the railway demise and the beginnings of the Greenway era.

The book will be launched by Newcastle West native, Dr. Patrick J. O'Connor, following a slide show at 7pm to mark Culture Night as well as the 150th anniversary year of the coming of the railway to Newcastle West. Beidh fáilte roimh gach éinne ar an oíche.

Great Southern Trail Ltd. press statement on Rathkeale/Adare Councillors Greenway decision.

The Great Southern Trail Ltd. Board of Directors(GST) is extremely disappointed with the recent decision of the Rathkeale/Adare Municipal District Councillors to reject their own officials plan to extend the 40km Greenway by a mere 3km to enable a link from Rathkeale to Ballingrane Junction.

The GST rejects as a spurious excuse the announcement by District Cathaoirleach, Cllr. Richard O'Donoghue, that this decision was arrived at to save money due to a short section of the 3km requiring realignment during the next ten or so years to facilitate the new road link to Foynes. Any lands necessary for this new road project will be acquired and compensation paid by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) without any cost to Limerick Council.

The six local councillors appear oblivious to the considerable time and money spent by their officials in planning/consultation for the extension which would have protected the State owned corridor from interference and immediately provided a safe walking/cycling path between Rathkeale and Cappagh, along with quiet bye road links for cyclists to Adare. They also did not consider that there is an active fibre optic cable under this route which will also be costly to relocate, in the advent of a new road, irrespective of it being covered by a pathway or not.

Had these councillors only concern been financial, why did they hold lengthy meetings on two occasions with the public and media excluded? Rather, we ask is their real reason for secrecy resulting from their being lobbied by a small group of objectors? Instead of dealing openly with the concerns, arguments and old fears, which have been shown to be without basis in the existing Greenway which stretches 40km westwards from Rathkeale and in the several other successful Irish Greenways, these closed doors meetings have added nothing but confusion and unnecessary delay to this vital piece of tourism infrastructure for Limerick West.

On 28 & 29 September Adare will be hosting an international conference organised by the European Greenways Association(EGWA) in association with Limerick Council. This biennial event was attracted to Adare through the offices of the voluntary GST Ltd. which has long been a member of EGWA. The six district councillors are most welcome be in attendance at these events to hear of the positive benefits of Greenways throughout Europe to rural communities. These benefits have been witnessed firsthand by the GST on its group visits to Spain, Germany, Belgium and Italy over the years.

The GST has also made several visits to the Irish Greenways; the latest this 26 August to the "Old Rail Trail" between Mullingar and Athlone. In each and everyone of these communities the locals are enjoying the amenity and attracting visitors as does our local 40km Great Southern Greenway.

The Rathkeale district councillors have a particular responsibility not just to the communities of Cappagh, Ballingrane and Rathkeale but to all the communities along the full length of the Greenway and to the citizens of Limerick, Patrickswell and Adare who would love to use this facility.

We therefore call on the councillors concerned to immediately review their hesitant stand on the Greenway, to inform themselves of the benefits by visiting the recently completed Waterford Greenway; to host a seminar in Rathkeale for the people of their District where all the concerns may be discussed openly; without doors being closed to anyone.

West Limerick and North Kerry have been neglected for too long, by a poverty of vision, from having the longest Greenway in the country; a proposal first suggested thirty years ago. Often the blame for this neglect has been placed on national politicians but even greater responsibility rests with local councillors.

(Contact 087 647 1956 for any clarification)

Greenway plans for Limerick to be discussed further

Great Southern Trail outing to Westmeath Greenway.

On Saturday 26th August we hope to visit the "Old Rail Trail" County Westmeath Greenway which links Mullingar with Athlone. The option of walking various lengths or cycling the entire 25mile/40km route will be provided (bike hire will be extra). Coach departs from Newcastle West, Market Yard at 8 a.m. with a breakfast stop in Birr and evening dinner in Moate included for €50 (bike hire will be extra).

If interested please contact Pat Condon, Upper Maiden St., Newcastle West 069 62344 (phone preferably between 5-6pm) without delay as all of our previous day trips have been fully booked. Beidh fáilte romhat.

Great Southern Trail celebrates 200 Years of the Bicycle.

The first bicycle journey was undertaken by Karl Drais in Mannheim, Germany in June 1817. The Great Southern Trail wishes to mark the bicentenary this weekend on the 10th &11th of June.

We suggest that you get on your bike, alone or with family and friends, and cycle some section of the 40km Greenway between Rathkeale and the Kerry Border(3km West of Abbeyfeale) at a time of your own convenience this Saturday or Sunday.

Please take a selfie or group photo along the way and email it to with the location and date and we will put it up on the photo section of our website

Upgrade works begin on Great Southern Greenway Limerick

Infrastructure enhancement works are to begin on the Great South Greenway Limerick (GSGL) in the west of the county following the signing of contracts between Limerick City and County Council and Roadbridge Ltd.

The works involve the replacement of 20 farm crossing gate sets along the 39 kilometre route, which originally catered more for walkers than cyclists.

The new gate and cattle grid arrangements will allow cyclists to cycle comfortably travel the route without having to dismount the bike at each farm crossing, thus converting the trail to a greenway.

Works will also include provision of three kilometres of fencing and provision of staggered gates at 10 road crossings.

The current Great Southern Greenway runs for 39km from Rathkeale to the Kerry border near Abbeyfeale. It was originally developed by the Great Southern Trail Company who held the license from Iarnrod Eireann. Limerick City and County Council took over the license and responsibility for the Greenway in December 2015.

The current contract valued at €150,000 is phase one of plans for the Great Southern Greenway Limerick.

Future developments of the Greenway include:

New signage for the entire route which is currently at tender stage
The extension of the Greenway by 3km from Rathkeale to Ballingarrane. It is intended to carry out these works this year.
Limerick City and County Council is currently at design stage for the incorporation of the Barnagh Tunnel and viewing area onto the Great Southern Greenway Limerick which involves the provision of an underpass under the N21. This will add a further 1.3km onto the Greenway.
A longer term plan includes carrying out a feasibility study to extend the GSGL from Rathkeale into Limerick city and up to Montpellier.
Kerry County Council is currently looking at the potential of extending the Great Southern Greenway to Listowel and hopefully onto Tralee in the future.
Minister for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan TD said: “As Minister for Tourism I'm delighted to be able to announce the works on the newly named Great Southern Greenway from Rathkeale to Abbeyfeale, through Ardagh, Newcastle West and Templeglantine. This is a good news story for West Limerick and now that the Great Southern Trail, which has now been renamed the Great Southern Greenway has the potential to play a much bigger role on the development of Tourism in the West Limerick area.”

“When complete, this will also provide greater opportunities for local people to get involved in cycling, running and walking in the local area, something as Minister for Sport I am always trying to promote.”

Brian Kennedy, Head of Tourism Development with Limerick City and County Council said: “The Great Southern Greenway Limerick is a fantastic resource. These works will improve the route for users and make it much more attractive for cyclists.”

“I would like to pay tribute to the Great Southern Trail Limited who , for years, have worked tirelessly on the development and upkeep of the trail and its promotion on a national and international basis. The current popularity of the route is as a result of their hard work.”

“We have plans to upgrade the Greenway even further to make it even more attractive for tourists both near and far. This is a sector we have highlighted as a growth area and we will be working with all stakeholders to enhance the Great Southern Greenway Limerick for the benefit of the county.”

Conor Gilligan, Managing Director of Roadbridge Ltd, which won the tender to carry out the enhancement works said: “Roadbridge are delighted to be awarded the construction of this very exciting and forward-thinking greenway project. We recognise that this piece of infrastructure will add greatly to the economy of West Limerick and North Kerry and indeed will play a big part in enhancing the tourism potential of this region.”

“As a company which operates all over the world we are especially pleased to be once again working in our home county. We look forward to liaising with all landowners along the route and working in partnership with all stakeholders to ensure that this greenway is delivered to the satisfaction of all concerned at the earliest possible date.”

European Greenways Award and General Assembly ! 28-29 September/ Limerick-Ireland

The general schedule of the 8th European Greenways Award  ceremony, and EGWA  General Assembly.

Venue: Limerick (Ireland)
Date:   Thursday  28  September 2017
15:00 – 17:30 General Assembly  (including CODI elections)
19:30 European Greenways Award ceremony -
Friday 29  September 2017
Workshop on European Greenways – in the morning
Visit to Great Southern trail Greenway  - in the afternoon.  –
Note: This timetable could be adjusted; the detailed info will be sent in due time.

Great Southern Trail visit to Waterford Greenway.

On the May 1st Bank Holiday a group of 40 GST supporters from Limerick and Kerry visited the newly completed Waterford Greenway with some participants cycling the entire 25 miles while the others either cycled or walked shorter sections with some walking 10 miles.

The beautiful weather, the excellent refreshment and meal stops along with Phelim's comfortable coach and most accommodating driver, Pat Liston, ensured that everyone returned home happy and contented.

Our next visit is likely to be to the Athlone-Mullingar Greenway on or about Saturday August 26th. Bí linn agus fáilte.

(Photo shows the cyclist group setting out from Dungarvan).

Templeglantine GST Greenway Easter Monday Historical Walk.

Bhí Tadhg Ó Maolcatha mar treoraí ar Luan Cásca when about 40 participants of all ages rambled along the old railway for the 5 mile historical tour of Templeglantine Parish; beginning near the site of Barnagh Station(1st picture) and ending at Devon Road Station (2nd picture): probably the only rural parish which had two railway stations and no pub in 19th Century Ireland!

Tadhg was a mine of information on place names, geographical matters, flora, fauna, folklore, characters and gems of history. The pleasant weather also added to what was a most enjoyable afternoon.

Easter Monday bilingual walk at 2pm from Barnagh (N21 Layby) to Devon Road Station along the Great Southern Trail Greenway.

This walk of over 4 miles is being organised by Templeglantine Glór na nGael to mark the 140th year since this section of the old railway began to be constructed. It will be a leisurely walk with chat as Béarla agus Gaeilge. Beidh fáilte roimh gach éinne.

Abbeyfeale section re-open

Great Southern Trail outings to Waterford & England.

On Bank Holiday Monday May 1st we hope to visit the Waterford Greenway again; all 46km/29miles of which will be open by then.
Coach from Newcastle West with breakfast and evening dinner included for €50. The option of walking various lengths or cycling the entire route will be provided (bike hire will be extra).
On Sunday 4th June, subject to sufficient interest, we will fly to Bristol and spend 4 nights in South West England; returning on the evening of Thursday 8th June. Visits to Powderham Castle, Exeter (home of the Courtenay family whose ancestors were landlords of Newcastle West), Agatha Christie's home near Torquay, the Roman City of Bath, the bathing resort of Minehead and, of course, the historic City of Bristol will be on the itinerary. Cost,including B&B in hotels, flights and land transport (but not admissions to attractions) is likely to be around €550 per person sharing depending on the Sterling exchange rate.
If interested in either or both trips please contact Pat Condon, Upper Maiden St., Newcastle West 069 62344 (phone preferably between 5-6pm). Beidh fáilte romhat.

1867 Railway Line

On 1/1/1867 the railway line from Ballingrane to Newcastle West opened for business. The Great Southern Trail Greenway now passes by the Station houses at Rathkeale, Ardagh and Newcastle West. If you haven't been along the Greenway make a New Year resolution to walk, jog or cycle the route. About 100 people did just that on the Annual Christmas event of 27th December and greatly enjoyed the experience.
Our picture shows Colin Boocock's lovely photo of the morning passenger train to Limerick waiting at Newcastle West over 50 years ago. The railway man on the right is Tim Whelan (uncle of NCWest publican, Pat Whelan). It is one of the many fine photos in "Rails through North Kerry" available at local bookshops and from Ann Lyons, Abbeyfeale.

Collapsed Culvert

Due to a collapsed culvert a few hundred metres east of Abbeyfeale Station walkers/cyclists to and from Templeglantine should access the Greenway at the "Doctor's Bridge" which is 1.5 miles east of Abbeyfeale and take due care when on the public road. The Abbeyfeale to Kerry Border section is not affected. The culvert should be repaired by the end of January 2017.

There are now three books which feature the railway line from Limerick to Tralee. If unavailable at your local bookshop please use the following contact details:

"THE NORTH KERRY LINE" (2013) by Alan O'Rourke is the definitive history of the route and now almost out of print. Send €20/£18stg to Liam O'Mahony, 9 Bishop St., Newcastle West, Co. Limerick to have a copy posted to you.

"RAILS THROUGH NORTH KERRY"(2016) by Barry Carse/ Jonathan Beaumont is a pictorial record of the route and connected branch lines. Contact

"FALLING GRADIENT"(2016) by Joe Coleman covers all the railway lines which served Limerick City. Contact

Rails through North Kerry

There was a large attendance at Foynes Flying Boat Museum on Saturday 26th November for the launching of "Rails through North Kerry" by Lady Geraldine Dunraven.

The book details all the railways in West Limerick and North Kerry along with Croom, Bruree and Castleisland. The text is complemented with about 180 photographs (mostly in colour) which bring back to life the old lines and their Stations; several of which are now alongside the Great Southern Trail.
The book is available from local bookshops or online at

Malcolm Johnston of Colourpoint Publishers presents Lady Dunraven with a bouquet.

Jonathan Beaumont(co-author), Lady Geraldine Dunraven, Barry Carse co-author.

Happy Christmas

The Great Southern Trail Ltd. wishes all its supporters and friends a very Happy Christmas and invites them to participate in the Christmas Cycle/Walk along the Greenway. Cyclists will set out from the Newcastle West (Gaelscoil on Station Road) at 1.30 p.m. on Tuesday 27th December and walkers will leave from Ardagh Community Hall at the same time. The destination for both groups is Rathkeale where tea/coffee and mince pies will be provided at Rathkeale House Hotel. Cyclists will return on their bikes to Newcastle West (total distance 16miles/26km). Walkers only have to cover 5miles/8km as they will be returned to Ardagh at 4.30pm by bus with Coach House Travel. Nollaig Shona agus gach dea-ghuí san Bhliain Nua!

The AGM of the Great Southern Trail Ltd

The AGM of the Great Southern Trail Ltd. has planned a Christmas Cycle/Walk along the Greenway. Cyclists will set out from the Newcastle West (Gaelscoil on Station Road) at 1.30 p.m. on Tuesday 27th December and walkers will leave from Ardagh Community Hall at the same time. The destination for both groups is Rathkeale where there will be a stop for refreshments. Cyclists will return by bike to Newcastle West (total distance 16miles/26km). Walkers only have to cover 5miles/8km as they will be provided with a return coach.
The AGM was held in Leen's Hotel, Abbeyfeale (courtesy of Maurice and Olive Sheehan) on the wintry night of November 17th with a large and representative attendance from West Limerick and North Kerry being present.

Cllr. Liam Galvin, Abbeyfeale and Joe O'Connor of Limerick City & County Council's technical staff briefed the meeting on the forthcoming €400,000 upgrading of the Limerick section of the GST which will make it much more cycle friendly. Cllr. Jimmy Moloney, Listowel relayed the positive news that planning of the extension to Listowel has now received initial funding. Both Councillors looked forward to a joint meeting of all the Newcastle West and Listowel Municipal District Councillors and officials in the near future.

The AGM elected the following officers: Cathaoirleach, Liam O'Mahony; Vice Chairman, Denis McAuliffe; Secretary, Jim Barrett; Treasurer, Pádraig Ó Condúin; North Kerry Convenor, Michael Guerin; Walks Organiser, Eileen Woulfe.


Launch of New Railway Book in Foynes 

On Saturday 26th November 2016 at 2p.m. all are welcome to the launch of a new book on the railways of West Limerick and North Kerry.  As the first of these railways to be constructed was the one to Foynes in 1853  the launch will take place in the Foynes Flying Boat Museum. At 2.45p.m. Lady Geraldine Dunraven will formally launch the book in commemoration of the then Earl of Dunraven being the first Chairman of the Limerick & Foynes Railway Company.

The book is primarily a photographic record of the railways which served the Limerick to Tralee route (now partially converted into the Great Southern Trail Greenway) along with the branch lines to Bruree, Croom, Mungret Cement Factory, Askeaton, Foynes, Fenit and Castleisland.

The book has been compiled by railway historians Jonathan Beaumont and Barry Carse who have sourced a very wide and representative selection of photographs to illustrate the publication which is being produced by Colourpoint Books.

Beidh fáilte roimh gach éinne ar an lá.

GST Public Meeting

On Thursday 17th November at 8.30p.m in Leen's Hotel, Abbeyfeale a meeting of the "Friends of the Great Southern Trail" will take place. All supporters of the GST are welcome to attend.

The meeting will be informed of the latest developments in Co.Limerick where the Limerick City & County Council will be spending €1.3m on development and extension of the Greenway. An update on the state of play in North Kerry will also be presented to the meeting.

The holding of a Christmas walk/cycle on Tuesday 27th December will also be decided along with other promotional events.

Prior to the 8.30pm public meeting those who are members of the limited company [Great Southern Trail Ltd.] are invited to the A.G.M. of GST Ltd. in Leen's at 7.30p.m.

Looking forward to seeing you D.V.
Beidh fáilte romhat.
Liam O'Mahony, Cathaoirleach
Jim Barrett, Secretary

GST Development and Enhancement

The further development and enhancement of the Great Southern Trail is gathering momentum. Recent funding totalling €1.3million has already been allocated for the upgrading of the 40km Rathkeale to Kerry Border section and planning of a link to Adare and Limerick City is being studied.

On the Kerry side of the border the county's Tourism Strategy and Action Plan 2016-2022 was launched on October 21st.

The developments of the Border-Listowel and Tralee-Fenit sections are given priority status (see attachments: paragraphs 1.7.2 and 1.7.3) although the Listowel-Tralee section is listed as a longer term project (attachment: paragraph 1.7.4).
The GST appreciates the positive approach of Kerry County Council's management and elected members to this long overdue project and realises the problems they have to overcome.
Our thanks also to Michael Healy-Rae T.D. for his raising of the matter in the Dáil and for his support.

It is now almost four years since Limerick City & County Council completed construction to the Border. The actions of a few have since then stymied progress beyond the Border to the detriment of the general Kerry community. We read in the "Sunday Business Post" (23/10/2016....see attachment) that Government Greenway funds previously allocated to Kerry have just now been transferred to the Midlands as a result of these obstructive tactics. We must not forget that the North Kerry Railway is the property of the people with ownership at present being transferred from CIÉ to Kerry County Council. The time lost and cost to the public purse of this transfer was as a direct result of the obstructive tactics of a small minority. No such transfer was necessary in Limerick or in Waterford when their Greenways were being successfully developed.

The growth of cycling tourism is phenomenal with the French section of EuroVelo1 ( see map on ) seeing an increase in numbers of 17% over the past two years. Many of these cyclists are of the older generation (affectionately called SILVER CYCLISTS!) and their spending capacity is of great benefit to the tourism industry. The link illustrates this point.

Eurovelo 1 - Atlantic Coast Route
Stretching the length of the continent, from Scandinavia to the Algarve, the Atlantic Coast Route connects some of the world’s most beautiful seascapes.

Let us hope that the people of North Kerry will soon enjoy the benefits of Greenways which threaten nobody as the rest of Ireland can readily vouch for.

Liam O'Mahony,
Great Southern Trail Ltd. 

Falling Gradient

Joe Coleman, Author, extends an invitation to the launch of his new book "Falling Gradient"  at 6pm on Friday September 30th in the Granary Library, Michael St., Limerick.

The book features all the railways which served Limerick City and gives considerable attention to the North Kerry Line which ran from Limerick via Newcastle West and Listowel to Tralee and is now the Great Southern Trail Greenway route. see attachments one two three

Weekly Observer announces €291k for the GST

On 7th Sept. West Limerick's "Weekly Observer" announces €291k for the GST(see attachments)

Limerick Leader

Interview with Norma Prendiville of "Limerick Leader" issue 10/9/16 section one and section two

Application has gone in from KCC to Fáilte Ireland

On 6th September llr.Jimmy Moloney, Listowel Municipal District informs that an application has gone in from KCC to Fáilte Ireland for a grant for the extension of the GST. ( Capital grants over €200,000)

Waterford [Déise] Greenway

Subsequent to my email of 10 days ago the 'Dungarvan Observer' published a three page article on the voluntary group who campaigned for the Waterford [Déise] Greenway. This article (attached) highlights how volunteers were able to effect a change of mind among politicians and give support to the Waterford Council Management in their effort to deliver the Greenway. Page 1 Page 2 Page 3

However, as I have said already, Government funding will be needed to ensure that the entirety of the 50km corridor from the Limerick/Kerry Border to Fenit will be rapidly developed as a recreational amenity. Kerry County Council Management is fully behind the project but they will need funding from Government to achieve their goal. It is therefore important that all eight Kerry representatives in the Dáil and Seanad be made aware by you, as well as by your family and friends, that you want them to actively support this initiative.

Their emails are as follows:

If you have already contacted them, thanks. If not please do so now and include Minister Shane Ross and Minister of State Patrick O'Donovan who control the relevant budgets.

All ten politicians will also receive this email and will draw their own conclusions to your representations or lack of same. Ní neart go cur le chéile.
Liam O'Mahony

Saturday August 27th tour to Waterford City & Greenway

On Saturday 27th August a coach will depart from the Market Yard, Newcastle West at 8 a.m. to visit the Waterford City section of the new Déise Greenway. The walk [2or 4 mile options] will be preceded by a train trip on the tourist railway which runs alongside the river Suir from Kilmeaden In the afternoon there will be ample time for a few hours to explore Ireland's oldest city. This will provide an opportunity to visit the museums [] and/or Waterford Glass Visitor Centre or simply to enjoy the afternoon open-air musical recitals provided as part of the 'Summerval' festival .

There will be a stop for breakfast in Tipperary Town at Brazil's Restaurant 
A full four course evening meal will be provided in Waterford at L'atmosphere Restaurant before returning home. Arrival back in Newcastle West at about 10.30pm.

Booking is with Pat Condon, Upper Maiden St., Newcastle West 069 62344 (3-6pm preferably). The cost is €50 which includes breakfast, evening dinner and coach and railway travel but not museum admissions. All monies must be received by Monday 22nd August. Cheques should be made payable to "GREAT SOUTHERN TRAIL LTD." who are organising the tour. Beidh fáilte romhat.


To: Great Southern Trail contacts:

Three items of interest.

1] Attached to this email is an item from the 'Kerryman' archive of August 1991, twentyfive years ago. It recalls the effort then being made to convert the recently abandoned North Kerry railway into a Greenway. Sadly, these endeavours were not realised in Kerry although they have been in Limerick thanks to the efforts of the Great Southern Trail campaigning group of volunteers. A quarter of a century on and the picture looks brighter in North Kerry as Kerry County Council are about to become owners of the railway from the Limerick Border to Fenit. However, Government funding will be needed to ensure that the entirety of this 50km corridor will be rapidly developed as a recreational amenity. It is important that all eight Kerry representatives in the Dáil and Seanad be made aware by you, as well as by your family and friends, that you want them to actively support this initiative. Their emails are as follows:

2] The item below gives the itinerary of a group of German cyclists who have just completed an Irish visit. Happily for Co.Limerick they stayed 3 nights half-board in Rathkeale and cycled the GST from Rathkeale to Abbeyfeale.[see 3.Tag and 4.Tag below] Obviously, they would have continued their cycle onwards to Fenit had the opportunity been available.

3] Beneath the German itinerary you will see a press release of last night which announced an injection of €1,000,000 into the Greenway on the Limerick side of the Border. Limerick City & County Council and the Government are to be complimented on this investment.

All over Ireland communities are clamouring for Greenways because they benefit locals and visitors of all ages and abilities. Isn't it time that the vision of the North Kerry Greenway, first proposed by Shannon Development in 1988, is finally realised?

Liam O'Mahony,
Great Southern Trail Ltd.

10-tägige Radwandertour „Grüne Insel“ Irland * 26.07.-04.08.2016

Nirgends kann man so schön Fahrrad fahren wie in Irland, erklärt Rory Wyley, der Präsident von Cycling Ireland. Dank unseres guten Straßen- und Wegenetzes kann man einfach drauf-losfahren, ohne vorher planen zu müssen, immer nur der Nase nach! Unsere Planungen sehen eine kombinierte Radwandertour mit Besichtigungsfahrten per Bus vor, um so die Grüne Insel zu entdecken und dabei herauszufinden, ob das Fahrradfahren nirgendwo so schön ist wie in Irland!

1.Tag: Anreise mit Bus und Radanhänger zur Fähre von Calais nach Dover oder Hoek van Holland nach Harwich. Nach der Ankunft in England fahren wir zum Hotel für 1 Nacht (Übern./Frühstück).

2.Tag: Weiterfahrt durch England bis Holyhead in Wales, hier am Nachmittag Fährüberfahrt nach Dublin, dort kurze Fahrt zum Hotel Jury’s Inn Customhouse im Zentrum. Halbpension im Hotel.

3.Tag: Am Vormittag unternehmen wir eine Stadtrundfahrt durch Dublin, um die schönsten Ecken der Hauptstadt der Republik Irland kennenzulernen: St.Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College, Custom House, O’Connel Street, sowie die georgianischen Reihenhäuser mit den bunten Eingangstüren. Da-nach Weiterfahrt bis nach Ardare, das als schönstes Dorf Irlands bekannt ist. Hier laden wir die Räder aus und starten zur ersten Etappe bis zum Rathkeale HousHotel, 3 Nächte mit HP (ca. 25 Rad-Km)

4.Tag: Nach dem Frühstück radeln wir auf dem Great Southern Trail, einer ehemaligen Bahntrasse, bis etwa Abbeyfeale. Hier stellen wir die Räder unter (bzw. in den Anhänger) und fahren über Listowel nach Tarbert an der Mündungsbucht des River Shannon, dann zum Hotel/HP. (ca. 40 Rad-km)

5.Tag: Heute fahren wir zu den Rädern zurück und setzen unsere Radtour bis nach Tralee fort. In Tralee werden die Räder wieder untergestellt, um jetzt eine besondere Rundfahrt mit dem Bus zu unternehmen: es geht über die Halbinsel Dingle mit Fahrt um das so genannte Slea Head. Es ist eine spannende Küstentour mit tollen Ausblicken. Halbpension im Hotel Rathkeale. (ca. 40 Rad-km)

6.Tag: Wir verabschieden uns vom Rathkeale-Hotel und starten ab Tralee, um mit den Rädern bis nach Killarney zu radeln. Vorher ist ein Abstecher zu Kate Kearney’s Cottage geplant. Hier können Sie eine Wanderung unternehmen, um in die 10 km lange Schlucht Gap of Dunloe zu sehen. Danach geht es weiter bis zum Killarney Court Hotel, hier 2 Nächte mit Halbpension. (ca. 50 Rad-km)

7.Tag: Sie haben heute die Wahl: entweder Sie machen einen Radausflug auf eigene Faust durch die Urlaubsregion von Killarney, oder nehmen an der Rundfahrt mit unserem Bus über die berühmte Küstenstraße Ring of Kerry mit herrlichen Ausblicken teil. Halbpension im Killarney Court Hotel.

8.Tag: Mit Bus und Anhänger fahren wir heute zunächst bis nach Ardmore, um dort einen der am besten erhaltenen Rundtürme Irlands aus dem späten 12 Jh. anzuschauen. Danach Weiterfahrt über Waterford nach Wexford zu Whites Hotel, hier Zwischenübernachtung mit Halbpension.

9.Tag: Nach kurzer Fahrt erreichen wir den Hafen Rosslare-Harbour, um von hier per Fähre nach Fishguard überzusetzen. Nun fahren wir durch Wales bis Bristol, dort über den St. Georg-Channel nach England und an Windsor und London vorbei bis nach Harwich zur Nachtfähre der Stena-Line. Sie erhalten 2-Bett-Außenkabinen mit DU/WC und Frühstück. Restaurant an Bord (Extrakosten).

10.Tag: Nach dem Frühstück an Bord fahren wir von Hoek van Holland nach Salzbergen zurück.

Tom Neville, Fine Gael TD for Limerick warmly welcomed announcement by Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, that he has approved funding under the Limerick Hinterland Study for the following projects in Limerick:-
Project Department Funding Approved Local Authority Own Funding
Great Southern Greenway €500,000 €500,000

August Day Trip to Waterford Greenway

On Saturday 27th August a coach will depart from the Market Yard, Newcastle West at 8 a.m. to visit the Kilmeaden to Waterford City section of the new Déise Greenway. Walk options of 4 or 6 miles will be available, all downhill as the route is alongside the river Suir. Afterwards, there will be ample time in the afternoon for a couple of hours exploring Ireland's oldest city. This will provide an opportunity to visit the museums and Waterford Glass centre or simply to enjoy the afternoon open-air musical recitals provided as part of the 'Summerval' festival.

There will be a stop for breakfast in Tipperary Town before continuing along via the Suir valley to Kilmeaden.
A full four course evening meal will be provided in Waterford before returning home. Arrival back in Newcastle West at about 10.30pm.

Booking is with Pat Condon, Upper Maiden St., Newcastle West 069 62344 (3-6pm preferably). The cost is €50 which includes breakfast, evening dinner and coach travel but not museum admissions. Our initial visit to Waterford was on the May Bank Holiday when we walked the seaside portion of the Greenway near Dungarvan on what was a most enjoyable day; with many participants expressing the wish for a similar outing in late summer. Therefore, early booking is advisable and all monies must be received by Friday 19th August. Cheques should be made payable to "GREAT SOUTHERN TRAIL LTD." who are organising the tour. Beidh fáilte romhat.

Keeping the Waterford Greenway on Track

A headline in a January 2004 edition of this newspaper declared that Waterford was to become the “Walking Capital of Ireland”.
Waterford County Council had big plans for a walkway/cycleway after negotiating a licence from CIE to take over the Waterford-Dungarvan rail line.
It wasn’t long before a stretch near Dungarvan was completed – but not everyone was happy with plans for this Greenway.
A legal court injunction ensued in 2007/2008 and work stopped on the line which prevented Waterford County Council from doing any further work.
The project was left in limbo and the dream looked as though it was fading away. Read more

Further enhancement of Great Southern Trail in Limerick

Spain's "Via Verde de la Sierra" visited the Great Southern Trail

Members of the management team in charge of Spain's "Via Verde de la Sierra" visited the Great Southern Trail on Thursday 16th June. They walked sections of the Greenway at Rathkeale, Ardagh, Newcastle West, Barnagh Tunnel and Tullig Wood. Their Greenway is in the Andalucía Region and about 40 minutes from Seville.

Photo: Isobel Moreno, María Jiménez Rodríguez, Éamonn Corbett (GST maintenance team), Rosa Delgado Silva and Carmen Sanchez at Newcastle West during their visit to the Great Southern Trail.

On Sunday a group of walkers from Nenagh assembled at  Barnagh Lay-by prior to their 15km walk along the Great Southern Trail from Devon Road Station to Glendarragh and then over the forest roads to Glenagowan before returning to Barnagh along the GST via Ferguson's Viaduct.

Day Trip to Waterford Greenway

On Bank Holiday Monday May 2nd a coach will depart from the Market Yard, Newcastle West at 8.30a.m.

There will be a stop for Breakfast in Mitchelstown before continuing along via the very scenic Vee Gap in the Knockmealdown Mountains to the seaside town of Dungarvan.

In the afternoon we will travel along the Coast Road for a few miles and then transfer from the coach to 'shank's mare' and return to Dungarvan along the brand new Waterford Greenway. This route has been constructed by Waterford Council along an old railway route replete with viaducts and a tunnel; not to mention stunning views.

A full four course evening meal will be provided before returning home.

Booking is with Pat Condon, Upper Maiden St., Newcastle West 069 62344 (3-6pm preferably). The cost is €45 which includes breakfast, evening dinner and coach travel. Early booking is advisable and all monies must be received by Friday 22nd April. Cheques should be made payable to "GREAT SOUTHERN TRAIL LTD." who are organising the tour. Beidh fáilte romhat.

Waterford Excel - Kerry Yet to Turn a Sod

Two years ago Waterford City & County Council and Kerry County Council were both awarded State funding for developing Greenways along old railways.

Waterford, as you can see from the attachments, will have excelled themselves and actually delivered double the expected route length before the end of 2016. The result will be a 50km state of the art cycleway along the CIÉ owned line. Waterford Council are now encouraging private enterprises to take advantage of their superb new amenity.

Kerry hasn't yet turned a sod along their Glenbeigh- Cahersiveen project which was promoted as being "shovel ready" two years ago; a statement still being contested by some of the private landowners who now own that old railway.

Meanwhile, the former North Kerry line, still in State ownership(like Waterford), languishes; there being no apparent impetus by Kerry County Council to develop it and thereby extend the 40km West Limerick Great Southern Trail Greenway to Listowel, Tralee and Fenit by a further 50km. Thus, the opportunity to have Ireland's longest Greenway at the doorstep of Kerry and Shannon airports is being lost and so is the spinoff to local businesses.

Kerry has deservedly been accorded accolades for its scenes in Star Wars. Unfortunately, when it comes to Greenways it is definitely orbiting in a different planetary system to Waterford. See photos below...

Liam O'Mahony,
Great Southern Trail,
11ú Márta 2016

Utilising the Great Southern Trail Greenway to bring gas to North Kerry

An open letter to the communities of West Limerick and North Kerry. The recent announcement see link here: that a gas pipeline connection from near Aughinish, Co. Limerick to Listowel is to be provided is most interesting.

An existing operational gas pipeline crosses the railway line near Croagh, Co. Limerick and an obvious route for a connection to Listowel is along the old railway, now the Great Southern Trail Greenway

The entire route is along State owned land and the opportunity could also be availed of to upgrade the existing 40km Greenway in Limerick and, at the same time, to complete the long awaited greenway link between Abbeyfeale and Listowel.

There is already a fibre optic cable along the route and in other countries such as the USA see link here:  it is common practice to route such public utility projects along former railway lines. This practical solution would also avoid the disruption caused to road traffic were the pipeline to be installed along the roadside.

It is to be hoped that the relevant agencies and our public representatives will give serious consideration to this suggestion.

Liam O'Mahony,
Great Southern Trail.

Never ending Kerry Prevarication Continues

29 years ago the Great Southern Trail Greenway project was conceived by politicians as was recorded in the "Limerick Leader" of 4th July 1987 (see attached press cutting). It was to be Ireland's first rail-trail.

Is it possible that the Co. Kerry half of this cycle path could be delivered by our politicians without further ado? As the situation stands the never ending Kerry prevarication continues while other local authorities have adopted a "get up and go" policy and are delivering new Greenways to their communities.

Liam O Mahony
Cathaoirleach, GST.


We last Walked the Tralee to Fenit Line in protest nearly four years ago in April 2012.

tralee to fenit greenay

Since then the Tralee Urban section has been completed and proving as expected to be a great asset to the town. Walk with family & friends on Sunday next February 7th to celebrate this success and also to publicly highlight the absence of any meaningful progress on the conversion of the rural section from Tralee to Fenit.

Kerry County Council now have full authority from CIE to proceed with the development of this publicly owned disused rail line but again there is a lack of will to see this fantastic project through to completion. Why is this?. Please ask your canvassing politicians who will hopefully be in attendance. Provide a safe off-road route for commuters and our children? Cycle a Greenway from a mainline train station to a Blue Flag Beach?

Click here to see the potential and preview some spectacular new aerial footage at TraleeFenit Greenway. Click here for the walk Details and print off the poster for circulation. Hoping to see you at St. Brendans Church on Sunday 7th next at 2.30.

Sincerely, Joe Cotter, Mike O'Neill, David Slattery, Margaret Lynch,Tom O'Grady, Keith O'Faoilean, Colin Shanahan.

A Chairde,

Look at the facebook link here (courtesy of JDMorris Photography) which was filmed on 2nd February 2013 and ask yourself have three years really passed by with nothing done to extend the Great Southern Trail [GST] into County Kerry.

Here we have Ireland's premier tourist destination which welcomes visitors from far and near through its international airport, car ferry and national road and rail network but cannot offer a céad míle fáilte to visitors who would like to arrive by pedalpower along a Greenway!

The 40km of the GST in County Limerick is a designated section of the EuroVelo Route1 which runs parallel to the Atlantic Coast of Europe from Portugal to Norway. Our politicians will be knocking on doors very shortly and I think it is time to ask them if they ever intend to extend the GST to Listowel, Tralee and Fenit. Three years have passed since the blockade at the Limerick/Kerry border and three years have also passed since Kerry County Council received a delegation from the Tralee-Fenit/ GST activists. The minutes of that meeting are provided below for your information. By the way, it is now approaching thirty years since the GST was first proposed.

Monies have been provided by the Government to fund Greenways along former railways which are now in private ownership but the public purse appears incapable of funding the completion of what would be Ireland's longest Greenway (almost 100km) and entirely along State owned land, owned by you and me.

Please ask the politicians for answers and accountability.
Is mise, le meas,
Liam O'Mahony,

Minutes of Tralee Electoral Area Meeting of Kerry County Council on the 4th of February 2013

A full copy of the minutes can be found on the council website

Reception of a deputation from Walk the Line Group
Re: Tralee/Fenit walkway.
Requested by Cllr. Terry O’Brien Mayor of Kerry

Cllr. Terry O’Brien introduced the deputation.
The spokesperson said that this group was advocating for the development of the Tralee to Fenit greenway and was not a protest group. They made the following presentation to the meeting.

“Travel 2 hours from Farranfore and have access to hundreds of miles of greenway along disused railways. Yes, it may be Frankfurt’s Way but its working for them and it could work for us. In Ireland we are slowly wakening up to the potential of these disused lines. Other counties have made a start notably Mayo and our neighbours in Limerick.
As Councillors you do not have power to determine national policy but you do have power and indeed a duty to shape society locally. Our communities are blighted by unemployment, emigration, social problems and our youth of today are very disillusioned with the society which we are creating for them. For too long we have suffered from decisions made for short term gain by vested interests. You as Councillors have been elected as our local leaders and are paid to effect change in
accordance with your adopted policies.

You as Councillors adopted a County Development Plan which states”:

9.7.7 “ There are significant stretches of land that were formerly in use as railway lines”.
“It will be the policy of the planning authority to consider proposals for development in these areas for local heritage and outdoor activities including the
provision of recreational walkways”
SG 9-32 Promote and protect the following where appropriate:
“Tralee to Fenit Railway Line”

“This plan was adopted in 2009 and finishes in two years time in 2015.
So we are over half way through the plan and what has been done?

We have commenced a short section of the Tralee-Fenit line of a few km and that’s it! This was done as a result of massive local pressure and protest on the ground. It was apparently held up for years by one local farmer whose concern s were never made public but succeeded in dictating terms and the rate of progress.
Because of the secret nature of the dealings by KCC with this individual, rumours abound regarding what incentive got him to remove the obstacles he had put on the route.
Furthermore, promises have been made by KCC to certain groups along the route that the Greenway will not be developed along selected sections. This is contrary to your Development Plan without any recourse to public discussion. What sort of process is this and what message does it send out?
In China they simply remove people and their houses if they need a piece of infrastructure to be built. Luckily here we have a planning process which is open and transparent. This is the correct approach and it affords everybody an opportunity to raise concerns and for those concerns to be addressed in a proper open fashion.
It is unfair on concerned residents and farmers along these routes if due process does not take place from the outset. They have no proper forum to voice their concerns and fear and uncertainty creep in.

The lack of action by KCC results in confrontational situations as occurred on the Mounthawk line and on Saturday last at the Kerry border on the GST line. If Authorities are not proactive about implementing their policies a vacuum is created and uncertainty, fear and distrust creep in.These flashpoint situations represent a failure of KCC and you the Councillors to implement your policies. It is wrong and unfair to sit back and let local communities sort out this issue when there is a clear objective on your part that these Greenways should proceed. Kerry has had much adverse publicity recently and is being portrayed as backward and parochial.

Pictures in this week’s paper will show an elected Councillor with 30 or so backers facing down a group of 200 walkers at the Limerick Kerry border on the Great Southern Trail. 40km of the Trail has been completed on the Limerick side right up to the Kerry border where a barrier and keep out signs have recently been erected.
This bizarre situation is a direct result of inaction by KCC by not properly progressing with the Plan that you the councillors adopted.
The recent negative publicity which Kerry received highlighted the massive problems facing rural communities which include isolation, post-offices and Garda Stations being closed,
depopulation etc. Ironically, the proposed Greenways will provide one strand of a solution to reverse this trend bringing much needed tourists and providing local employment opportunities into these outlying communities. Limerick County Council commenced and completed the Part 8 planning process for the final 3km from Abbeyfeale to the Kerry border in less than 6 months. They dealt with any concerns within the Planning process. They drew on available smarter travel grants to carry out the work. The Tralee -Fenit Greenway has started but Part 8 Planning needs to be obtained for the remaining rural section. No funding can be applied for until this process is completed. We urge that this be carried out immediately and fill the vacuum which will otherwise be filled by a process which nobody wants”.

Cllr. Terry O’Brien welcomed the deputation and said that the development of the Tralee to Fenit greenway would be of huge benefit to Tralee but the rights and concerns of the landowners along the line must also be taken into consideration.

Cllr. Jim Finucane welcomed the deputation and agreed With Cllr. O’Brien.

Mr. Michael McMahon Tralee Area Manager welcomed the deputation and said that he was disappointed with the tone and content of their presentation. Considerable negotiations had been necessary to achieve the work which had been undertaken to date. It was not so much a question of funding at this stage, the difficulties lay in getting the project through Part 8 planning to the construction stage. He assured the deputation that Kerry County Council was committed to progressing the project but it was not practical to proceed to Part 8 planning until the management are satisfied that the elected members of the Council are in a position to support it. To proceed to Part 8 in advance of this would ensure that the project would never take place.

Mr. Eamon Scanlan SEE welcomed the deputation and said that there were issues with regard to the presentation which he could not leave unchallenged. He said that he was very annoyed with an insinuation that a deal had been done with a local farmer as this was not the case. There were issues which had to be dealt with and he would make no apology for
respecting confidentiality. Throughout the process to date he had endeavoured to keep the group informed and had advised them that as the development of this line was just one of his areas of responsibility he would not be in a position to respond to them on a regular basis.

With regard to the reference in the presentation to due process, Mr. Scanlan said that he could not and would not ignore genuine concerns of the landowners. He considered that it was his responsibility to get the project to the stage that could be adopted by the members without concern.
Mr. Scanlan complimented members of the deputation from Limerick on their work in the development of the Great Southern Trail. He said that discussions had been held with
landowners on the North Kerry line and if approached by these people, Kerry County Council would be willing to become involved in the development of the line.

With regard to the completion of the Tralee to Fenit line, Mr. Scanlan said that the work towards the Part 8 planning application had taken longer than expected as it involved the examination of documentation in connection with the transfer of the land from the landowners to the Great South Western Railway as far back as 1860’s and 70’s. Limerick County Council’s timeframe for the completion of the Part 8 planning process for the line from Abbeyfeale to the Kerry border had no relevance in the case of the Tralee to Fenit line and he emphasised that no short cuts could or would be taken by Kerry County Council.

Cllr. Gillian Wharton Slattery welcomed the deputation and said that she was disappointed with the content of their presentation. She referred to their reference to China said that we should be glad that we are not living in a country where people can be removed from their homes. She said that the members were elected to represent all of the people and dueprocess would have to take place. She said that the members of the Tralee Electoral Area Committee had done their utmost in supporting this project and she was confident that there would be a successful conclusion.

Cllr. Toireasa Ferris welcomed the deputation and said that she was disgusted with the tone of their presentation. She said that she was a neighbour and friend of some of the landowners on the line from Tralee to Fenit and a number of them who had staunchly opposed the development were now supporting its completion. She commended Mr. Scanlon
on his excellent work and asked that the group would give him support and respect. She acknowledged the frustration of the group and assured them that she would support the project if the outstanding issues could be resolved.

Cllr. Norma Foley welcomed the deputation particularly the people from Limerick. She said that Tralee Town Council was very positive and proactive towards the provision of amenities
such as Ballyseedy Wood. She acknowledged the works carried out by Kerry County Council, in particular Mr. Eamon Scanlan and commented that he had “walked a very lonely line” with regard to the development of the Tralee to Fenit greenway.

Cllr. Anne McEllistrim welcomed the deputation and acknowledged that the development of the Tralee to Fenit line would be of huge benefit to the local area. She commended Mr. Scanlan on his excellent work and hoped that the project could be brought to a successful conclusion.

Cllr. Jim Finucane said that he had visited walkways in Mayo and had seen what had been achieved. He said that community developments must be carried out in partnership with local interests as misinformation preys on peoples fears. The aim should be to develop the community and not to divide it. He appealed with the group to co-operate with Kerry County
Council in achieving a practical solution through trust and communication.
The spokesperson, said that 27% of the population of the EU needed accessible tourism and 20% of the population of the EU was over 55 years of age. The development of walk/cycle ways would provide a boost to the local economy. He had attended a meeting in Tralee Town Council regarding the development of the Tralee to Fenit line approximately twelve years ago and no progress had been made since. Approximately 25 years ago, Shannon Development had indicated an interest in developing the North Kerry line but this did not go ahead either. He said that it was the duty of Local Authority members to sometimes take the lead concerning issues which may be unpopular. He referred to a stand-off which took place on the Limerick-Kerry border on 2
nd February as landowners on the Kerry side blocked a group of walkers from accessing the disused old rail line in a row over its ownership.

Mr. Eamon Scanlan SEE said that the Tralee to Fenit line was the first railway line in the county to be developed by the Local Authority and Kerry County Council must be seen to act
responsibly with regard to issues of concern to landowners and he would make no apology for that.

Cllr. Terry O’Brien said that there had been more work done on this project in the last two years than in the previous twenty. All the members wanted to see it going ahead but were in agreement that it must be done responsibly. The spokesperso said that their written proposal had not been intended to cause difficulty but due to frustration they felt that there were a number of issues which needed to be raised. He felt that regular progress updates to the group would help and the sign erected by the landowners on the Limerick/Kerry border on the line should be removed.

Mr. Scanlan said that he could not comment on the removal of the sign as this was a matter between CIE and the landowners. With regard to the provision of regular updates, Mr.
Scanlan reiterated that he had always endeavoured to keep the group informed and had advised them that as the development of this line was just one of his areas of responsibility he
would not be in a position to respond to them on a regular basis.

Cllr. Toireasa Ferris said that for this reason Mr. Scanlan had even more support from the members of the Tralee Electoral Area.

The spokesperson said that their presentation was an example of the measure of their frustration with the process and an indication of how much they wanted to push the project forward. He
regretted if the content of the presentation had offended Mr. Scanlan.

A spokesperson for the Great Southern Trails (GST) said that Mr. Scanlan’s work was appreciated by the group but a dedicated team should be in place in Kerry County Council to work on the
progressing of projects such as this.

Mr. Scanlan said that team meetings regarding this matter were held by the County Manager on a monthly basis. However, due to a reduction in staff numbers it was not possible to
dedicate staff specifically to this project.


Video of the Stand off at the Limerick/Kerry border February 2nd 2013

Great Southern Trail Silver Jubilee

There was a very large and representative attendance at the silver jubilee celebrations of the GST on Saturday 7th November.

Proceedings commenced at Newcastle West's Desmond Complex at 1pm. The new video "From a Railway to a Greenway" outlining the story of the GST was premiered with Kevin Daly getting much praise for his production skills. Refreshments were provided courtesy of Marguerites and the Desmond Complex are to be complimented for the excellent facilities.

Following the video the gathering which included Patrick O Donovan T.D. and Councillors Seamus Browne, Francis Foley and Tom Neville was addressed by Liam O Mahony, Cathaoirleach GST; Michael Guerin, North Kerry GST Convenor; Josephine Cotter Coughlan, Director of Services Limerick City and County Council (LCCC) and Liam Galvin, Mayor LCCC. Mayor Galvin announced that LCCC were taking over responsibility for managing the GST and enhancing it. Kerry County Council are also setting aside €120,000 for planning and surveying the North Kerry portion of the GST which they are acquiring from CIÉ.

Mayor Galvin then started the commemorative walk along the line to Ardagh where everybody enjoyed further refreshments at Neary's Bar where the lovely atmosphere facilitated pleasant singing session. Finally, Phelim's Coach returned everybody safely to Newcastle West.

Silver Jubilee of the Great Southern Trail Greenway

On Saturday November 7th from 1pm beidh fáilte mór romhat to the Desmond Complex, Gortboy, Newcastle West (behind the Fire Station/Library) for an afternoon of nostalgia, conversation and exercise to mark the Silver Jubilee of the Great Southern Trail Greenway.

A video presentation entitled "Journeying from a Railway to a Greenway" will be launched tracing the history of the GST. You are also welcome to share your memories/photos etc. and to meet old friends. Refreshments will be provided.

Then, at 3pm the Mayor of Limerick City & County, Liam Galvin, will officially start a walk from the Desmond Complex to Ardagh (5Km-3Miles) along the route of the very first walk in 1990.

More refreshments and chat will follow at Neary's Bar before return to Newcastle West courtesy of Coach House Travel at about 5.30pm. Bígí linn!

A personal observation by Liam O'Mahony:

The Taoiseach's commitment to a national cycle network, made on October 18th 2015 when opening the Mullingar-Athlone Greenway along an old railway, and which can be listened to in this link  rings hollow in North Kerry where the conversion of the old Rathkeale to Tralee/Fenit railway into a Greenway was first proposed in 1988.

That vision had to wait for most of twenty years to be even partially realised due to some trenchant and very influential opposition. Eventually the West Limerick section was opened and only then through the persistent endeavours of the voluntary Great Southern Trail (GST) organisation which I have the honour to chair.

The entire Limerick & Kerry GST was included in the Irish Government's National Cycle Network plan of 2010. It is also included in the Atlantic Coastal Route of the EuroVelo cycle network.
Mr. Kenny's Government did fund the 3km extension from Abbeyfeale to the Kerry Border in 2012 where it has languished to this day as its continuation appears to be at the whim of a separate local authority. It is patently ridiculous that an international project should be stalled at an administrative boundary several kilometres from the nearest town. Using a county boundary in this manner makes North Kerry seem more impenetrable than North Korea.

The County Limerick GST is now 40km in length but the addition of the further 50km of State railway lands lying idle in North Kerry would hugely enhance the GST Greenway experience.
Incidentally, Waterford City & County Council are at present working rapidly in converting 50km of their old Waterford to Dungarvan railway into a Greenway without any difficulty because they were resolute in negotiations with objectors.

Kerry County Council say they are inundated with requests for Greenways by local communities but that most of the proposals involve routes that are too short.They conveniently omit to mention that thousands of people are in favour of continuing the GST into North Kerry.

Why are the Government and the local authority ignoring North Kerry? Ownership of the line is not an issue as CIÉ own a fibre optic cable which runs along its length. Why has Transport & Tourism Minister Pascal Donohoe eschewed a number of opportunities to visit any part of the GST during at least three recent visits to the area?

There will be no better time to put these questions to politicians than in the coming months. Government is supposed to involve leadership and vision not capitulation to vested interests.

Liam O'Mahony
Cathaoirleach, GST

Saturday November 7th: Great Southern Trail Events

On Saturday 7th November from 1pm to 3pm there will be an 'Open House' at the Desmond Complex, Gortboy, Newcastle West to celebrate 25 years of achievement by the GST. A DVD will be launched which provides a pictorial compilation of the many stages in the campaign which resulted in the old railway being converted into a greenway in Co. Limerick (with the effort still ongoing in Co. Kerry).

All supporters and activists are invited; you might even see yourself on the screen! It will be a relaxing afternoon for a chat with old friends along with a cupán tae and refreshments.

Then, at 3pm the Mayor of Limerick City & County, Cllr. Liam Galvin will officially start a 5km (3 mile) walk/cycle from the Desmond Complex along the GST Greenway to Ardagh. It was in May 1990 that the very first organized walk along the old railway took place along the exact same route.

At Ardagh there will be further refreshments at Neary's Bar and return transport to Newcastle West will be provided courtesy of Coach House Travel. Beidh fáilte roimh gach éinne ar an lá.

1001 Walks

GST Feature Taken from 1001 Walks You Must Experience Before you Die, by Barry Stone (general editor), published by Cassell Illustrated (£20.00). see more

Press Release: New management structure for Co. Limerick's Great Southern Trail Greenway ‏

The Directors of the Great Southern Trail Limited (GST) have decided to cease managing the Greenway as and from Sunday November 8th 2015 and their licence with CIÉ who are the owners of the Greenway will end. The GST thanks the Board of CIÉ for their vision in 2002 in facilitating the initial development of what was to become the first rural Greenway in Ireland along CIÉ property.

The GST is the only Greenway in Europe which is currently managed by a voluntary group. This fact had its origins over 25 years ago when the then State Agency, Shannon Development, withdrew from what had been their flagship and visionary Greenway project. As a result the prospect of the old Limerick-Tralee railway being reclaimed as farmland loomed large with the consequent loss of a very valuable State owned corridor. To safeguard the railway right of way the GST was founded and with excellent public support much of the old line was subsequently rejuvenated.

Initially only the 4km from Newcastle West to Ardagh was opened to the public as a walking route. Gradually, the GST was extended to 40km in West Limerick from Rathkeale westwards to the Kerry Border and upgraded to a cycleway. This success has placed a considerable onus on a volunteer group and despite the support of Community Employment, Rural Social and TÚS schemes the challenge of maintaining the Greenway to the standards demanded throughout the E.U. is a demanding one. In particular a very small number of farm crossings are the subject of unfavourable comment due to the difficulties encountered in keeping them clean.

In recent years all newly developed comparable Greenways have been managed by the respective local authorities. CIÉ has current partnership arrangements with Kerry, Waterford and Westmeath County Councils in respect of disused/abandoned railways that remain in CIÉ ownership and are also in negotiation with Kilkenny and Wexford County Councils about new projects. In fact it is probable that the entire Irish Greenway network will become part of the remit of the new Transport Infrastructure Service [TIS] when that organisation takes over the responsibilities of the National Roads Authority and the Railway Procurement Agency.

In June the GST notified CIÉ and Limerick City & County Council (LCCC) of its intention to cease management of the Greenway and is confident that an arrangement will be forged between CIÉ and LCCC to ensure that the 40km of infrastructure in West Limerick will continue to be available to the public after November 7th. This is an amenity into which about €2 million has been invested by many State and local agencies including the GST Ltd. which has also contributed thousands of voluntary hours to the project.

The GST Ltd. will be happy to support any new management structure and to be represented on it. The GST will also assist in promoting the Greenway and its further extension along the old North Kerry railway to Tralee/Fenit and looks forward to a link also being provided from Limerick City westwards to the GST at Ballingrane/Rathkeale thereby providing an attractive 120km route from the city to the sea.

Liam O'Mahony, Cathaoirleach GST-- 0876471956
Jim Barrett, Secretary GST
Newcastle West
086 8134061

NRA Fact Finding Mission

On Friday 3rd July 2015 a team of six officials from the National Roads Authority [NRA], Galway Co.Co., Roscommon Co.Co and Westmeath County Council cycled the Abbeyfeale to Rathkeale section of the Great Southern Trail [GST] on a fact-finding mission. They are spearheading the development of the Galway-Dublin Greenway which is on EuroVelo Route2 from Moscow to Galway. The GST is on EuroVelo Route1 along the Western seaboard of Europe. They invited the GST to the opening of the Athlone-Mullingar section of Route2 which is expected in the Autumn.

Pictured at Rathkeale House Hotel after completing their cycle were: Jerry O'Sullivan, NRA; Annemarie Johnston, Roscommon Co.Co.; Paul Batty, Galway Co.Co. and Victor Cooney, Galway Co.Co. Missing from picture: Michael Kelly, Project Director and Elva Roe, Westmeath Co.Co.

Long Walks on the Great Southern Trail Greenway

Despite there not being an organised 'Midsummer Big Walk' along the GST this year it appears that a number of people undertook the 22 mile challenge along the old railway route independently on Saturday 20th June. If any group of friends are minded to spend a Summer's day of leisure walking perhaps they could consider the Abbeyfeale-Rathkeale direction (easier gradients!). The route takes about a leisurely 8 hours. (Abbeyfeale to Templeglantine 2hrs; Templeglantine to Newcastle West 3 hrs; Newcastle West to Rathkeale 3 hrs with food being available all day at these locations). Return to Abbeyfeale from Rathkeale by Bus Éireann is possible until 10pm. Tar amach agus bain taitneamh as an GST!

Great Southern Trail to become more cycle-friendly

The developed 40km section of the Great Southern Trail (GST) greenway, between Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale, is being made more cycle-friendly thanks to investment of almost €100,000 by the Irish Government. These funds will be used by the local administration, Limerick City & County Council, to provide bike stands, replace gated crossings with cattle grids and to erect additional route signage. This signage will incorporate the Irish language version of the EuroVelo logo and the GST is the first greenway in Ireland to use it.

A 50km extension to the GST, along the old railway, awaits development in the adjoining administrative area of County Kerry where objectors have delayed the continuation of the greenway to the towns of Listowel, Tralee and the Atlantic port of Fenit. However, the railway company, CIÉ, is in the process of transferring ownership of the line to Kerry County Council and a start has been made on the conversion of a 2km section of old railway into a greenway in Tralee.

A great new section of greenway takes shape in Tralee with the installation of a bridge, wall and landscaping whilst the full extension of the GST is negotiated.

Happy Christmas and every good wish for the New Year of 2015 from the Great Southern Trail. (Nollaig Shona agus gach dea-ghuí don Bhliain Nua 2015 ó Slí an Mhór-Dheiscirt)

Nollaig Shona agus gach dea-ghuí don Bhliain Nua 2015 ó Slí an Mhór-Dheiscirt

The GST will host a walk/cycle along the Greenway on Sat. 27th December at 2.30pm commencing at the old Abbeyfeale Station. The round trip for walkers is to the Kerry Border and back (4 miles total) while cyclists will go to Tullig Wood, Templeglantine and back (10 miles total). Refreshments will be provided afterwards at the adjacent Railway Bar, Abbeyfeale.

Tá fáilte romhaibh go léir!
Text or telephone 086 813 4061 for any enquiry.

Those travelling by public transport to Abbeyfeale should take the 12.35pm bus from Limerick - serving Adare (12.55), Rathkeale (1.10), Newcastle West (1.20), Templeglantine(1.30); or the 1pm from Tralee - serving Listowel (1.30), Duagh (1.45).
Return buses to Limerick ( 4.55 and 6.55pm); Tralee (4.40 and 6.40pm) more info...

Correspondence 5th Nov 2014 from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Dear Mr. O'Mahony

I refer to your correspondence, dated 24th September 2014, regarding the development of the Kerry Greenway.

Please find attached a copy of correspondence dated 5th November 2014 received from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, in response to your letter. This correspondence was noted at the meeting of the PAC on Thursday 20th November and is also published on our website.

If you require any further information, please contact me on the number below.

Yours sincerely,

Margaret Falsey
Committee Secretariat
01 - 6183074

(See attached file: PAC-R-1587 Correspondence 3A.1 - Dept Tourism and Sport.pdf)


Secretary General, Tom O'Mahony's lengthy reply to the PAC

To GST contacts for your information.

I made the Public Accounts Committee(PAC) aware, in April 2014, of the situation at the Kerry Border regarding the GST (correspondence below). Eventually they raised the matter with the Department of Transport who replied on Nov. 5th 2014. Attached is the Secretary General, Tom O'Mahony's lengthy reply to the PAC which highlight that "there is a requirement for those entrusted with land ownership on behalf of the State to protect that ownership and not allow it be used for personal gain" and also that "the merit of extending the GST to Listowel is recognised".

It is most unfortuntate that failure in the former has impeded the latter for two years to date. However, now it is to be hoped that the impending transfer of the Co.Kerry section of the railway from CIÉ to Kerry Co.Co. will lead to a resolute protection of the entirety of the railway corridor and a speedy development of the GST in the County. See attached Kerryman17-9 re Kerry Greenway

Is mise,
Liam O Mahony

Opening Broadford and Ashford Walking Trails

15th October 2014

Mr. Liam O Mahony,
Great Southern Trail.
Re: Walking Trails at Broadford and Ashford Co.Limerick.
Dear Liam,

The official opening of the Broadford Ashford Walking Trails will take place at the trailhead Broadford Village at 1.30pm Sun.26th October. We would be grateful if you would inform members of the Great Southern Trail of this event.

Immediately after the official opening there will be a walk in memory of Jerry Forde RIP Ashford who was the first chairperson of the Trails group. Registration for the walk will be from 12.30. There is a charge of €10.00 (children will be free) and all proceeds will go towards The Friends of St.Ita’s Hospital Newcastle West where Jerry was cared for in his final days.

There will be a choice of two walks The Killagholehane Way (difficulty easy) and The Gleann Beag Loop.(difficulty moderately strenuous)

Please also check our website

Yours sincerely,

Broadford Ashford Walking Trails
c/o Seán Neenan,Gleann na gCapall,Broadford,
via Charleville Co.Limerick
email :

Great Southern Trail Greenway Midsummer Walk & Cycle

About 50 participants took on the fourth annual 22 mile mid-summer challenge of walking the Great Southern Trail Greenway from Abbeyfeale to Rathkeale in Co. Limerick. There was glorious weather on the day, Sat. 21st June. See photos

An innovation this year was a cycle event with choices of three distances from Rathkeale, Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale to the railway summit at Barnagh on the N21. Here the Sheehan family kindly opened their Barnagh Gardens where the weary feet were able to relax and their owners enjoy refreshments including crepes and homemade icecream with live music and song to enhance the experience. Thanks to each and everyone who facilitated this wonderful stop along the route.

Following further refreshments at Rathkeale House Hotel and presentation of Certificates to those who completed the walk there was a return coach to Abbeyfeale courtesy of Coach House Travel, Newcastle West.

One man, Liam Downes completed a duathlon by firstly cycling from Rathkeale to Abbeyfeale and then walking back to Rathkeale. Liam did this as a charity fundraiser for the Martina Tierney Fund.

Minister Alan Kelly indicates new developments in Listowel and Fenit railway Greenways

This is a Radio Kerry link to Minister Alan Kelly's interview on Friday 20th June 2014

Family Fun Cycle on Saturday 21st June

In addition to the 'Big Walk' along the GST Greenway from Abbeyfeale to Rathkeale on Saturday 21st June 2014 a cycling event has also been organised by Pedal Pursuits Bike Hire & West Limerick Resources and their partners. Details attached Cycle the Trail Flyer Cycle the Trail Registration Form Events Rules & Information. Agus beidh fáilte roimh gach éinne ar an lá.

The Great Southern Trail's Midsummer Big Walk: Sat 21st June 2014

On Saturday 21 June 2014, the fourth annual 36km Great Southern Trail Midsummer Big Walk will commence from Abbeyfeale (Old Railway Station at 10.30 a.m.) and travel the 36km route of the old railway to Rathkeale.

Devon Road Station and Tullig Wood are passed en route with the ascent continuing on to Barnagh (the highest point on the trail) which is 13km from Abbeyfeale. We suggest that a packed lunch be brought and enjoyed at Barnagh with its panoramic views and an old railway tunnel to explore if you wish. Then it's all downhill for 10km to the busy town of Newcastle West where a break for afternoon tea might be taken. The final 13km to Rathkeale brings us past Ardagh where the famous Chalice was found in 1868. In Rathkeale certificates will be presented to those who completed the entire 36km (22 miles) on foot.

Register at by June 14th. A registration fee of €10 is payable in advance to Great Southern Trail, 9 Bishop Street, Newcastle West.

Summary of Details

Assembly: Old Station, Railway Road, Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick
Sat. 21 June 2014 commencing 10:30 a.m.
Optional evening meal at 6.30p.m. in Rathkeale House Hotel.
Return transport to Abbeyfeale courtesy of Coach House Travel.

Convenor GST North Kerry

Report from Seminar: Clifden 6th March Maximising the potential of Walking & Cycling Trails held in Clifden Galway

Members of the Great Southern Trail from Listowel , Templeglantine, Barnagh & Newcastle West, attended a very successful seminar on trail developments in Clifden Galway. This European Seminar had experts on trails from many countries and was hosted by Galway County Council. The seminar leader was Mr. Brian Barrett of Galway County Council whose father Tony was from Church Street Listowel. It was attended by a cross section of community groups including adjoining landowners of the proposed Connemara Trail. Galway County Council are committed to cover public liability along the route and have the support of adjoining landowners.

The highlight of the seminar was the contributions from Mr. Padraig Philbin Mayo CC & Suzanne O Brien Mulranny Park Hotel, they gave amazing facts on how the Great Western Greenway Mayo has transformed the towns and villages in the area to very successful businesses and thereby creating many jobs in the area.

Dr. Euokia Balamou, Larnaca, Cyprus gave an excellent presentation, one interesting point she made was that holiday makers are now going for all in holiday packages and not venturing outside the Hotel grounds, she said this is of little value to the greater rural country side. They have developed a very successful information system where aps can be downloaded along the trails in her area. They have also involved the schools in these projects.

Arising from the many points coming from the workshops organised in the evening is that the success of any Trail is dependant on how the local community embrace and welcome walkers on the trails. That it more important as that tourist remembers best their interaction and experiences along the Trail than the scenic aspects of the trail.

Like the Great Southern Trail Group, the Connemara Greenway Trail Group are hoping to hear shortly on the Grants for Trails from Minister Alan Kelly who is evaluating forty submissions from County Councils nationwide. Attached photos.

URGENT make an immediate submission to the "Initial consultation" by Kerry Co. Co. re extension of Great Southern Trail to Listowel

The GST welcomes the contents of the attached document from Kerry Co.Co.and urges all our friends to let Kerry County Council know that you support the plans for the 10km extension from the Limerick/Kerry border to Listowel. You have until Wed.19th Feb to send an email to [earlier if posting!] and you must include your name and address.

Funding for this project has been applied for by Kerry Co. Co. to the Government who will be announcing the successful applicants later this month. The overall national fund is quite small and several other counties are clamouring for a slice of the cake. The GST case is strengthened if there is clearly demonstrable wide public support. So, please read the attached and add your support immediately. Ní neart go cur le chéile!

As part of this current consultation exercise, general submissions in relation to this project are welcome and may be submitted in writing to: Administration Officer, Roads and Transportation, Kerry County Council, Áras an Chontae, Rathass, Tralee, Co. Kerry or by email to: and must be received by the 19th of February 2014 with ‘North Kerry Amenity Trail’ in the subject line

URGENTlease make an immediate submission to the "Initial consultation" by Kerry Co. Co. re extension of Great Southern Trail to Listowel

The GST welcomes the contents of the attached document from Kerry Co. Co. and urges all our friends to let Kerry County Council know that you support the plans for the 10km extension from the Limerick/Kerry border to Listowel. You have until Wed.19th Feb to send an email to [earlier if posting!] and you must include your name and address.

Funding for this project has been applied for by Kerry Co. Co. to the Government who will be announcing the successful applicants later this month. The overall national fund is quite small and several other counties are clamouring for a slice of the cake. The GST case is strengthened if there is clearly demonstrable wide public support. So, please read the attached and add your support immediately. Ní neart go cur le chéile!

As part of this current consultation exercise, general submissions in relation to this project are welcome and may be submitted in writing to: Administration Officer, Roads and Transportation, Kerry County Council, Áras an Chontae, Rathass, Tralee, Co. Kerry or by email to: and must be received by the 19th of February 2014 with ‘North Kerry Amenity Trail’ in the subject line

The North Kerry Line Book available @

The book is available at €15 from Joe Cotter, 37 St.Brendan's Park, Tralee: 086 2611732/066 7124355; Mike O'Neill, Pier Gates, Fenit: 087 6269777/066 7136497: Jim Barrett, CIÉ Wagon Works, Roxboro Rd., Limerick: 086 8134061 and at Celtic Bookshop, Rutland St.,Limerick; Newcastle West Book Store, Market Place; Anne Lyons' Shop, The Square, Abbeyfeale; Woulfe's Bookshop, Listowel; Polymath Bookshop, Courthouse Lane, Tralee.

The book can also be ordered by post at €20/US$30 (inc. postage worldwide) from:

Liam O'Mahony,
9 Bishop St.,
Newcastle West,
Co. Limerick,

with Euro/ Dollar cheques /postal orders being made payable to "Great Southern Trail" or at £18stg. from

Alan O'Rourke,
72 Sandford Grove Rd.,
Nether Edge,
Sheffield S7 1RR,

if you are paying in sterling ( with sterling cheques/ postal orders being made payable to Alan O'Rourke).


Seán O'Rourke's RTE Radio1 programme

The GST also featured for over 15 minutes on Seán O'Rourke's RTE Radio1 programme on Wed. 27th Nov.2013; the links to which are below.

RTE player:

Direct mp3:

An independent review of the book is attached

Launch of new book on the history of the Limerick-Tralee/Fenit & Foynes Railway

A new book by railway historian Dr. Alan O'Rourke titled 'The North Kerry Line' whose subject is the Limerick to Tralee railway along with the branch lines to Fenit and Foynes will be launched in the Lartigue Railway Museum, Listowel, Co. Kerry by Minister Jimmy Deenihan on Sunday 24th Nov. at 7pm and at the Library, Gortboy, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick on Tuesday 26th Nov. at 8pm by Éamon Ó Cuív T.D. The public are cordially invited to attend on both nights. Beidh fáilte roimh gach éinne.

Dr. O'Rourke's book is the result of several years research and contains a detailed history of the four railway companies who constructed these 90 miles or so of railway in West Limerick and North Kerry during the latter half of the 19th century. It also provides a fine description of the lie of the land and of the communities which were linked by the lines and their 22 stations.  Front cover photo of goods train at Lixnaw, Co. Kerry 1970's by kind permission of Jonathan Allen)

In tandem with the launch Ms. Maria Leahy, a student of Oral History at the University of Limerick is commencing the recording of of the lives and times of those who lived along the line and of those families who grew up with the railway in their blood. Maria can be contacted directly at 086 4033707 or she will also be available at Listowel from 5.30pm and Newcastle West from 7pm on the launch evenings.

The book, printed locally by Fitzsimons Printers, Shanagolden, Co. Limerick is published by the Great Southern Trail which is dedicated to preserving the heritage of these lines and the conversion to a 'Greenway' of the Ballingrane (near Rathkeale) to Tralee/Fenit route.

As the book says: "the North Kerry had a reputation as a friendly line". This was thanks to the railway community who worked on it. For the railway families and for the faithful supporters of the Great Southern Trail over the past twenty years signed copies of the book will be available at the launches at the very special price of €10. The post-launch price will be €15 which is still exceptional value for a scholarly work of 275 pages including over 30 maps/diagrams and over 80 photographs (many previously unpublished. For all who were associated with the working railway, all who now walk/cycle the developed sections and all whose interest is local history this book should be essential reading.


The launches of a new railway interest book "The North Kerry Line" (Limerick to Tralee and the Foynes and Fenit branches) will take place at two events as follows:

Sunday 24th November, 7pm the Lartigue Museum, Listowel, Co Kerry
Introduced by Jimmy Deenihan T.D. Aire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta

Tuesday 26th November, 8pm, Newcastle West Library (Gortboy), Co Limerick
Introduced by Éamon O Cuív T.D.

The book written by railway historian Dr. Alan O'Rourke, published by the Great Southern Trail is the result of ten years of research and ground work. It provides a comprehensive history of the construction and operation of these lines from the 1850s to the present day, and is illustrated with maps, station track plans and over 70 previously un-published photographs.

Beidh fáilte romhat ar an oíche : RSVP or text/fón 0871221234 (Listowel launch)/0876471956 (NCWest launch)



The definitive History of the “North Kerry line” by Railway Historian Dr Alan O Rourke (see profile attached), Book Launch is fixed for SUNDAY 24TH NOVEMBER AT 7 PM. It will be launched by Jimmy Deenihan TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in the Lartigue Museum Listowel. There will also be a book Launch by Éamon Ó Cuív T.D. in Newcastle West Library, Gortboy at 8pm on Tuesday 26th.

Many years of research has gone into this book, it is published under the auspices of the Great Southern Trail. It is also hoped to bring together North Kerry Line associated families on the evening to make a start at recording the staff that worked along the line between Limerick and Tralee as well as on the Foynes & Fenit branches and also to take photographs of surviving NK line staff & families. Please inform any families you know that were associated with the North Kerry Line to participate in the launch.

Michael Guerin NK GST
Contacts :- Michael Guerin 0871221234 or 06823376 Listowel or Liam OMahony NCWest 087 6471956

Kerry County Manager Tom Curran to meet with Listowel delegation after door-to-door survey confirms massive Residents support for Trail

Kerry County Council County Manager Tom Curran has agreed to meet a delegation of Public Representatives and residents after this weekend's door-to-door survey and public meeting confirmed the massive public support for the 9km extension of the Great Southern Trail from the Limerick border at Kilmorna into Listowel. The cross-party delegation is to be lead by Jimmy Moloney (FF) Mayor of Listowel.

On Saturday 19th of September, teams of volunteers including residents, walker groups, parents of young families and public representatives from all political parties surveyed each house along the 9km route from Listowel to the Limerick border. 80% of of the 150 households surveyed expressed their unqualified support for the trail, and a further 10% were supportive provided their privacy concerns were addressed. A further 10% of residents / landowners (a total of 15) chose not to express an opinion to the survey team but said that they wished to speak directly with either the owner of the line CIE or Kerry County Council so that their concerns could be addressed also.

At the public meeting held in the Listowel Family Resource centre at 6pm on Saturday 19th of October, Minister Jimmy Deenihan, Arthur Spring TD and Brendan Griffin TD spoke strongly in support of the trail, as did Mayor of Listowel Jimmy Moloney, Cllr Maria Gorman and Cllr Tim O'Leary. Cllr O'Leary, who was a guard in Listowel for over 30 years explained that he had been in contact with an Garda Siochana in both Newcastle West and Westport who confirmed that the Trails there do not attract anti-social behaviour, crime or trespass.

The Chairman of CIE has confirmed CIE's Ownership and support of the trail in a response to Brendan Griffin TD who is on the Oireachtas Transport Committee (attached).

Given that the North Kerry Abandoned Rail Line Action Group (NKARLAG) have written to CIE to confirm that they will not be proceeding with an Adverse Possession Claim (Contact Niall Grogan of CIE Property Management 01 7032921), the onus is now firmly on the 5 Listowel local area councillors: John Brassil (FF), Pat Leahy (Lab), Robert Beasley (SF), Tim Buckley (FG) & Liam Purtill (FG) to speak with the 15 remaining landowners to address their concerns. This is a democratic imperative given the overwhelming support of the people of Listowel (2000 signatures collected) plus of residents along the route of the proposed 9km Great Southern Trail extension. None of the 5 Local Area Councillors attended the public meeting or door-to-door survey. Some of the 5 councillors have admitted to have been subject to "intense personal lobbying" by the NKARLAG so it is imperative that these councillors use this communication channel with the NKARLAG to find out what their concerns are so that they can be addressed.

Furthermore, Kerry County Council is being urged to apply for the approximately €400,000 in funding that would be required to complete the 9km trail in the upcoming November round of Greenway funding. The November round of funding is €6.5m in total but there will be intense competition from other Greenway projects around the country.

For Queries contact:

Jimmy Moloney Mayor of Listowel 087 9026066

Cllr Tim O'Leary 0860647923

Michael Guerin, Great Southern Trail Convenor North Kerry 0871221234

Gearoid Pierse, Great Southern Trail Activist North Kerry 0867228470

More details on

Contact details for Kerry County Councillors including the 5 Listowel Area Councillors: John Brassil (FF), Pat Leahy (Lab), Robert Beasley (SF), Tim Buckley (FG) & Liam Purtill (FG) :

Review of the local area plan for Newcastle West 2014 - 2020

Dear Mr Mac Domhnaill,
Attached is a copy of the information leaflet regarding the review of the local area plan for Newcastle West town that has commenced by Limerick County Council which may be of interest for your organisation which initiated the development of the Great Southern Trail. Please do not hesitate to contact me on 061496391 if you have any queries. If you wish to forward the above to any one you think would be interested please do so.

Yours sincerely,
Bernadette Collins Cassidy
Executive Planner

Listowel Public Meeting 19/10/13

A public meeting on the proposed extension of the Great Southern Trail from the Kerry/Limerick border into Listowel will take place in the Listowel Family Resource Centre, John B. Keane Road, Listowel at 6pm on Saturday 19th of October.

The focus of the meeting will be to share information and hear views from supporters, public representatives and adjoining landowners who have concerns. The North Kerry Abandoned Rail Line Action Group (NKARLAG) which opposes the development of the disused railway line have been contacted by their representative John Hannan of Ballybunion and it is hoped by the organisers that they will attend so that the concerns can be listened to and addressed.

All TD's & Councillors in North Kerry are invited to attend.

The topics to be discussed and presented to the audience are:

1. Photos from the 39 km stretch of the Great Southern Trail that has already been developed into a Greenway in County Limerick. It goes from Rathkeale via Newcastle West and Abbeyfeale to the Kerry/Limerick border near Kilmorna. The photos show the bridges, fences and gates that have been built to ensure privacy and access for local landowners.

2. Detailed maps of the proposed 9km extension from the Kerry/Limerick Border at Kilmorna to Listowel.

3. The legal position regarding CIE ownership, the Fibre optic cable running along the line, "Adverse Possession" (Squatters Rights), Rights of way and privacy issues.

4. The role of Limerick County Council in the development in Co. Limerick, and the current position regarding funding, Kerry County Council and North East Kerry Development in relation to the proposed extension of the walkway into Listowel.

Please find attached some sample maps and photos - do feel free to contact me if you would like any more. Also feel free to take a screengrab of any of the photos on our website which has almost 1500 followers and growing by over 100 followers a week.

In advance of the meeting, volunteers are asked to assemble at 1pm at the Listowel Family Resource Centre on Saturday 19th of October to conduct a door-to-door survey of local residents attitudes to the proposed trail. Teams of volunteers will call to houses along the 9km route from Listowel to the Kerry / Limerick border.

For any queries please feel free to call Gearoid Pierse on (086) 7228470, or Michael Guerin (GST North Kerry Convenor).

Erected Semaphore Railway Signal 2013

On Saturday 28th September 2013 the recently erected semaphore railway signal on the Great Southern Trail at the approach to Newcastle West was officially unveiled. The signal was donated by Iarnród Éireann, transported by Eamonn Barrett of Barnagh and erected by a voluntary 'meitheal' of Jim Barrett [Garryduff], Pa Kelly [Barnagh], Denis McAuliffe [Templeglantine] and Mike MacDomhnaill [An Caisleán Nua].

These gentlemen had also prepared an additional pleasant surprise for long-serving GST Cathaoirleach, Liam O'Mahony, by commissioning a plaque dedicated to him and attached to the signal. These signals are now very uncommon as most railway signals are now of the 'traffic light' type. See Photos

Old Semaphore Signal


We finally took possession of an old semaphore signal which was kindly donated by Irish Rail and who also refurbished it to its former glory. In the coming week we will be carrying out preparation works and will erect the signal where it would have originally stood, as an 'Outer Home Signal', 440yards or quarter mile from the Newcastle West station. This event is taking place during the 50th anniversary year of the cessation of daily passenger trains from Limerick to Tralee.

We invite you to attend the official unveiling of the signal on the 28th September 2013 @2pm. Meet at Great Southern Trail entrance [opposite Gaelscoil on the R521 Newcastle West, Co. Limerick]

Jim Barrett






A three day short break is being organised to the beautiful County of Wicklow with visits to Dublin and Waterford cities also being included. The tour begins on Monday Sept. 30th from Limerick on the 8.55a.m. train to Dublin. Following a five hour stop-over to explore our capital city and another train journey to Arklow the holiday base will be reached after 6p.m.. This is the oldest hotel in Ireland at Woodenbridge where two nights dinner, bed and breakfast will be provided in the Lodge. There is a walkway from the hotel to the famous beauty spot of the 'Meeting of the Waters' in the Vale of Avoca.

On Tuesday Oct.1st there will be a full day coach tour of Co. Wicklow including Avondale (home of C.S.Parnell), Glendalough and a walk along the old railway line at Tinahely which has been developed by the local community.

On Wednesday Oct.2nd there will be a 1 hour coach transfer to Carlow followed by a direct train to Waterford. There will be four hours to browse our most ancient city and its many visitor attractions before departing on the 4.25p.m. train to Limerick (arrival 6.40p.m.) where the tour ends.

The cost is €175 per person sharing (€215 for single room) and includes two nights dinner, bed and breakfast, all train and coach trips and admissions to attractions in Co. Wicklow. The cost would be much higher were it not for the generosity of Iarnród Éireann who awarded the Great Southern Trail (organisers of this tour) one of their 'The Journey Is On Us' free railway trips which they offer to several community groups each year.

The Dublin-Arklow railway is one of Ireland's most scenic lines with long stretches hugging the Irish Sea before it enters the woodlands as it passes through the Vale of Avoca. The Waterford-Limerick line also has a fair share of scenery as it travels the Suir Valley passing Sliabh na mBan, the Comeragh, Knockmealdown and Galtee mountains.

Please contact Liam O'Mahony, 9 Bishop St., Newcastle West, Co. Limerick 087 6471956, if interested. Numbers must be finalised by Monday 9th Sept., and a non-refundable deposit of €40 paid by then, to ensure accommodation and seat reservations on the trains. Cheques should be made payable to "Great Southern Trail".

Complimentary Visit to the West of Ireland.

Great Southern Trail September visit to Westport Greenway. The Great Southern Trail has been granted a complimentary group return rail journey by Iarnród Éireann and proposes to avail of their generosity by making a visit to the West of Ireland.

The tour will commence from Limerick Station at 9.20a.m. on Monday 2nd Sept. by boarding the direct train to Athenry.

At Athenry we change trains for Athlone where there will be a break from noon till 2 p.m. before boarding the Westport train. On arrival in Westport at 4p.m. we check-in to our hotel for two nights B+B and 2 Dinners. On Tuesday we will be transferred by coach to Achill to begin our, mostly downhill, cycle along the Great Western Greenway Anyone unable to complete the entire 25 miles will be picked up by mini-bus along the way. Wednesday morning will be free to explore Westport before departing from the local station on the 1.10 p.m. train via Roscommon, Athlone and Portarlington (change trains) arriving in Limerick at 5.40 p.m. where the tour ends.

The cost of €150 covers everything outlined above on the basis of sharing a room. A single room (limited amount) will increase the cost to €190. Please let me know before Monday 12th August if you are interested.
Liam O'Mahony
Cathaoirleach GST
087 6471956

Radio Kerry's Frank Lewis programme Saturday 27th July

The Great Southern Trail [GST] will be the subject of Radio Kerry's Frank Lewis programme this Saturday 27th July from 9a.m. to 11a.m.

The programme was recorded last Sunday at eight different locations along the GST between Rathkeale and Abbeyfeale. Denis McAuliffe, Vice-Chairman of the GST organised the twenty contributors who spoke on the history, flora, fauna and folklore of the district. The recordings were also interspersed with poetry recitations and songs. The GST is most appreciative of Frank and his team and of the participants who willingly obliged to share their expertise and knowledge.Go raibh maith agaibh go léir.

First Hotel to offer Hotel Guests Cycling Holidays on the new Great Southern Trail.

The Dunraven Arms Hotel in Adare is delighted to be the first Hotel to offer Hotel Guests the unique opportunity to cycle the Great Southern Trail (GST) The Great Southern Trail is a 96km stretch of countryside in West Limerick /North Kerry and was once the route taken by the old Limerick/Tralee railway line.

Pictured in the photo taken in the Garden of the Dunraven Arms Hotel are Louis Murphy, Proprietor, Dunraven Arms Hotel, Hotel Guests and Staff

Speaking at the launch Liam O'Mahony Chairman of the GST said " I would like to congratulate Louis Murphy and the Hotel staff for their innovative package. It is wonderful the the Dunraven Arms Hotel realises the potential of the GST as a means of attracting tourism to the area.

Pictured in the photo taken in the Garden of the Dunraven Arms Hotel are Louis Murphy, Proprietor, Dunraven Arms Hotel, Hotel Guests and Staff

We have 40km of the GST open for walkers and cyclists" Louis Murphy proprietor of the Hotel is delighted to have this latest attraction to offer to the Guests. "It's a wonderful opportunity for our Guests as Bikes, equipment and transfers are all included in the package. We are delighted to support the GST"

Pictured in the photo taken in the Garden of the Dunraven Arms Hotel are Louis Murphy, Proprietor, Dunraven Arms Hotel, Hotel Guests and Staff

Pictured in the above photo taken in the Garden of the Dunraven Arms Hotel are Louis Murphy, Proprietor, Dunraven Arms Hotel, Hotel Guests and Staff

Celebrate the 'GATHERING' on the Great Southern Trail's Midsummer Big Walk: Sat 22nd June

Celebrate the 'GATHERING' on the Great Southern Trail's Midsummer Big Walk: Sat 22nd June

The Great Southern Trail (GST) is a unique stretch of countryside in West Limerick/North Kerry. It is the route taken by the Limerick-Tralee/Fenit railway line, which opened in 1867/1880 and closed in 1975/1978. This railway transported vast quantities of freight, livestock and passengers. Among those passengers were many who purchased one-way tickets to the emigrant ports from where they continued by sea to make new lives for themselves, most likely in Britain or the U.S.A.

On Saturday 22 June 2013, the third annual 36km Great Southern Trail Midsummer Big Walk will commence from Abbeyfeale (Old Railway Station at 10.30 a.m.) and travel the 36km route of the old railway to Rathkeale. This provides an opportunity for descendants of the emigrants to walk the route taken by them when heading for the various ports along the south and east coasts of Ireland up to the 1960's when the passenger trains ceased. Devon Road Station and Tullig Wood are passed en route with the ascent continuing on to Barnagh (the highest point on the trail) which is 13km from Abbeyfeale.

We suggest that a packed lunch be brought and enjoyed at Barnagh with its panoramic views and an old railway tunnel to explore if you wish. Then it's all downhill for 10km to the busy town of Newcastle West where a break for afternoon tea might be taken. The final 13km to Rathkeale brings us past Ardagh where the famous Chalice was found in 1868. In Rathkeale certificates will be presented to those who completed the entire 36km (22 miles) on foot.

Register at by June 15th. A registration fee of €10 is payable in advance to Great Southern Trail, 9 Bishop Street, Newcastle West. An optional evening dinner will be available and will be complimentary to all pre-registered overseas visitors. Furthermore the first ten overseas registrations will have the added benefit of free bicycle hire on the day!

Gathering Details
Assembly: Old Station, Railway Road, Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick
Sat. 22 June 2013 commencing 10:30 a.m.
Optional evening meal at 6.30p.m. in Rathkeale House Hotel.
Return transport to Abbeyfeale courtesy of Coach House Travel.

Listowel Town Council support the GST development

Liam O'Mahony, Cathaoirleach of the Great Southern Trail, has welcomed the decision by Listowel Town Council on last Monday night to support the development of the GST from the Limerick/Kerry Border to Listowel. Taken in tandem with the 1,700 signatures gathered locally in recent weeks by the Listowel Strollers Group as well as the huge turnout on Sunday for the GST Listowel-Kilmorna road walk it is clear that there is huge public demand in North Kerry for the conversion of the old railway into a Greenway.

The GST looks forward to the Listowel Area County Councillors and Kerry County Council now demonstrating similar support for the project and to adjoining landowners, who were opposed to the GST, availing of the long-standing offer of independent mediation to address their concerns. The upcoming opportunity to avail of Smarter Travel/ National Cycle Network funding must also be grasped.

Mr. O'Mahony thanked all the GST supporters in North Kerry for their commitment and dedication to the project. CLICK ON LINK BELOW FOR FURTHER INFO.

10 km Walk/Cycle/Run Listowel

Braving cold, wet conditions over 200 men, women and children participated in the 10 km Walk from the Lartigue Museum Listowel to Shanacool Cross on the Kilmorna Road.

Before starting off on the walk Mr Arthur Spring TD addressed the participants giving his support to the walk also by Town Councillors Jimmy Moloney, Tim O Leary, Maria Gorman and Jacqueline Barrett Madigan. Apologies were received from the following due to prior commitments :- Minister Jimmy Deenihan, Minister of State Alan Kelly,Councillor Liam Purtill KCC and Town Councillors Tom Walsh, Tom Barry.

The group rested at Shanacool and walked a section of the CIE Line briefed by Liam O Mahony, Chairman of the GST on the practicalities of converting the route to a safe walk and cycle route to Listowel. Liam also briefed the group as to the work carried out on the Limerick section to allay any security or privacy concerns of adjoining landowners. The major regional financial boost of a similar route in Mayo, the Great Western Greenway, was also outlined. He said that the hope of making progress in the coming weeks could best be realised by meetings between the adjoining landowners and the indepentely appointed mediator.

Gearoid Pierse thank all the participants, the Listowel Crusaders & Strollers groups, runners, cyclists and walkers; along with the local Supermarkets who sponsored water for the walk. He also thanked the Gardaí for their assistance on the day.

The Listowel Door to Door Petition sheets were collected giving a count of 1450 [with another 250 yet to be handed up]. The grand total of 1700 signatures was collected over three weeks by Listowel GST supporters knocking at doors in Listowel Town.

Michael Guerin

Listowel  Walk Sunday 12th May

The Kilmorna - Listowel road walk on Sunday 12th May at 3pm and will commence at Listowel's John B. Keane Road outside the Old Station (now the Lartigue Museum).

The Great Southern Trail [GST] requests all its many supporters and friends to assemble on Sun.12th May at 3pm outside the Lartigue Museum, J.B.Keane Rd., Listowel and participate in the 10Km walk/run/cycle (details attached).

The primary purpose of this event is to:

  1. demonstrate the public support for extending the Greenway into North Kerry.

  2. demand that the State and its elected representatives protect the asset that is the North Kerry railway route.

  3. ask those opposed to the GST to accept the offer of independent mediation which they have rejected for the past three months

  4. encourage Kerry County Council not to spurn the current grant-aid opportunity to develop this rail-trail to the benefit of the entire North Kerry region.

Three months have passed since we were blockaded at the Kerry Border. During that time no word of condemnation of that action, which took place on land owned by the State (i.e. ourselves!), has been heard from anyone in authority including our elected representatives. May 12th is your opportunity to let your voice be heard. Please wear a visibility vest as our event has to take place along public roads thanks to official inertia. Bí linn ar an lá!

The recent press release (copied below) spells out the facts.

Liam O Mahony


The GST had hoped that 2013 would herald the progression of the Greenway along the Co. Kerry portion of the old Limerick-Tralee / Fenit railway. 2012 had ended with Limerick Co. Co. (LCC) completing a 3km extension, under the Smarter Travel programme, which advanced the GST westwards from Abbeyfeale to the Kerry border.

The Kerry section of the route had already been identified as being integral to the Pan-European (EuroVelo network as well as the National Cycle Network. It had the approval of numerous European, National and Regional agencies along with the support of Transport Minister, Leo Varadkar.

However, in January 2013, a group calling itself 'North Kerry Abandoned Railway Line Action Group' (NKARLAG) sent solicitor's letters to all the stakeholders in the GST. These claimed that the NKARLAG were now the owners of 50km of the railway in Co. Kerry. A few days later they confronted CIÉ / GST personnel who were carrying out an inspection of the route, challenging them as to their purpose on the track. A further escalation happened on February 2nd when barriers with 'Private Property' signage, reinforced by a large group of protesters prevented a GST walk from entering Co. Kerry.

At this stage an experienced mediator was made available with the assistance of the Department of the Environment to discuss any grievances or concerns that the NKARLAG had. This offer was repeatedly refused on the pretext that the NKARLAG were preparing for a meeting with CIÉ in late March.

At that March meeting the NKARLAG failed to make any effort to substantiate their ownership claim. Instead they chose to raise issues of security and other practical concerns were a Greenway to be developed. These were the very issues that they refused to discuss with the mediator. During the meeting CIÉ clearly asserted its ownership of the line.

Therefore the GST finds it incomprehensible that Kerry Co. Co. (KCC) by its current inaction is apparently dismissing CIÉ's repeated statements of ownership while giving credence to the unsubstantiated claims of the NKARLAG. This is the only conclusion that can be drawn from KCC's refusal to apply this month for State funding to plan / design a cycleway along the route. This inertia by KCC could lose millions of euro in the construction of the Greenway, not to mention the subsequent benefits to be gained by locals and visiting tourists. As evidenced in Co. Mayo the presence of a rail-trail provides a huge boost to the economy of the towns and villages en route. (It is also worth noting that LCC has applied, this month, for the funding to plan and design a Limerick City - Rathkeale cycle route to link up with the GST.)

KCC also seems indifferent to the fact that this route, worth at least €1m in land value, carries a fibre-optic cable which is part of our national communications infrastructure. One could have reasonably expected the Council to be protective of such a valuable corridor.

Had KCC used the 'Part 8' planning process, which is available to all local authorities, the citizenry of North Kerry would have been able to express their opinion on the merits of the Greenway. The objectors would also have had the opportunity to make their concerns known. With all the pros and cons on the table, the councillors would be in a position to make an informed decision on the project in the best interests of their electorate.

Throughout the past 3 months the NKARLAG has consistently declined to engage with the media in this matter or to explain why a project which has been successfully delivered over a 40km length in Co. Limerick should be so undesirable in the neighbouring county. In Co. Limerick every reasonable accommodation has been provided to adjoining landowners and residents to ensure that their privacy and security is maintained. In the common good, the GST now calls on the NKARLAG to engage with the appointed mediator and to resolve their concerns through this forum.

Bank Holiday Walk 6th May

In Co. Limerick on Bank Holiday Monday 6th May at 3pm an 8 mile loop walk will set out from the Rooskagh Communications Mast (on the hills to the North-West of Newcastle West; close to L1329..see map on This is a very scenic route with panoramic views of the Golden Vale and involves minor public roads as well as the old railway. Please wear visibility vests. Beidh fáilte romhat. Be advised that there are fairly steep roads to be walked!

Irish Times 27/04/2013

Come west along the railroad by Frank McDonald Irish Times 27/04/2013

Photographic Survey

This photographic survey of the route starts at Tralee and works its way towards Limerick. It is still a work in progress and more new photos will be added over time. Some photos appear in previous galleries but they are relevant to the North Kerry Line.

May 6th Loop Walk

Bank Holiday Monday 6th May. at 3p.m. LoopWalk 10km using GST/minor roads in the Rooskagh-Glenagown. Full details later...


Above is the link to the GST Gathering event on 22nd June. Please view it, mark it in your diary, and then circulate it to any family or friends who are Overseas and may consider being with us for this special commemoration of the route along which their parents or grandparents may have taken when emigrating.

Bank Holiday Weekend on the Great Southern Trail:
Rathkeale to Newcastle West Walk and Listowel to Abbeyfeale Cycle

At 3p.m. on Bank Holiday Monday 18th March a walk/cycle along the old railway will commence from the Palatine Museum, Rathkeale. The distance is 8 miles (13Km) and return transport will be provided courtesy of Coach House Travel. Fáilte roimh gach éinne.

On the previous day, Lá Fhéile Pádraig, a fun-cycle by GST supporters will set out on a 30km (19miles) circular road trip at 10a.m. from Listowel Square via Duagh, Abbeyfeale, Great Southern Trail (for 3Km only) and Kilmorna. All are welcome but helmet and visibility vest are required. See for further details.

Kerryseye Newspaper 28/02/2013

On Saturday, a new section three-kilometre walk of the Great Southern Trail in Abbeyfeale was officially launched by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar. Read More..

Fun 30km cycle from Listowel to Abbeyfeale

St. Patrick’s Day (Sunday 17th March 2013)
Listowel – Duagh - Abbeyfeale – Listowel
Dust down your Bike! All ages & abilities welcome!

On the Return Journey from Abbeyfeale to Listowel we will cycle on the traffic-free Great Southern Trail as far as the Kerry border at Kilmorna, where we will rejoin the main road and cycle back to Listowel via Kilmorna, Bolton’s Cross & Cahirdown. Due back in Listowel at 12 noon, in time for the parade, which starts at 12:30pm this year. Please wear a cycling helmet (obligatory) and high-viz clothes if possible.

10am: Start in Listowel (Sports Complex Car Park)
10:30am: Duagh
11am: Abbeyfeale (The Square)
12 noon: Cycle ends in Listowel (The Square)

Photo Minister Leo Varadkar cycling along the Abbeyfeale to Kilmorna stretch of the Great Southern Trail on 23rd Februay 2013, when he officially opened this new stretch of the Great Southern Trail.

Let’s ask our Listowel Councillors & Kerry County Councillors to build on the great work done by Limerick County Council in Limerick, and to ensure that the Great Southern Trail is extended to Listowel along the disused railway line.

More Details Gearóid Pierse at (086) 7228470 email: or  at this link:!/events/475542729178572/

For small kids on bikes & in prams, there will be a cycle and pram walk around Listowel Town Park, also starting at 10am from the Sports Complex Car Park.

Kilmorna barricade stops GST commemorative walk on 2/2/13

On Saturday February 2nd 2013 about 150 Great Southern Trail supporters gathered at the old Abbeyfeale, Co. Limerick Railway Station to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the last regular passenger train along the line between Limerick and Tralee. They intended walking the most recently developed section of the Greenway in Co. Limerick and a short portion of the yet to be developed part of the old line situated in Co. Kerry. However, the walk was interrupted by a barricade at the Limerick/Kerry border at the other side of which was gathered a group of over thirty protesters in support of claimants to the CIÉ railway land in Co. Kerry. A three hour stand-off ensued with the result that the walkers failed to complete their intended route. See photos

As a result very serious issues now need to be addressed without delay:

  1. the attempt to take over State land worth at least €1m

  2. the status of the underground fibre-optic cable laid under this old railway.

  3. the future of the GST in Co. Kerry where it had been hoped that works similar to those carried out by Limerick County Council with National Cycle Network funding could have been commenced.

    Rail Networkarliamentary Questions replied to on 31/1/2013
     238. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív   asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport   if he has issued any instruction to CIÉ and Iarnród Éireann in relation to the preservation of the ownership of the old railway line from the Kerry-Limerick border to Tralee, County Kerry, which is to be developed as a greenway and also carries a fibre optic cable; and if he is satisfied that CIÉ are doing everything possible to defend their interests in this property in the public interest. [5052/13]
     239. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív   asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport   if he has received through the National Sustainable Transport Office any solicitor's letter in relation to the Limerick-Kerry disused railway line claiming ownership of the line; the steps he intends taking in relation to ensuring that the State, through CIÉ, defends the public interest in this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5053/13]
    Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar):   I propose to take Questions Nos. 238 and 239 together. 
    A letter was received by the National Sustainable Travel Office of my Department in relation to the Limerick/Kerry railway line.  I understand CIÉ also received a similar letter and in its response has stated that CIÉ is the owner of the property and will continue to access its property as necessary. It has also indicated that it will object to any application by other parties to register these lands with the Property Registration Authority. I have also referred the Deputy's question to CIÉ for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days


On a frosty evening fifty years ago the last regular passenger train wended its way through West Limerick and North Kerry as it made its final journey from Limerick to Tralee. All along the route people came out to bid farewell. It was Saturday 2nd February 1963.

Coincidentally in 2013 the 2nd of February also falls on a Saturday and to commemorate the last train a walk will set out from Abbeyfeale Station along the Great Southern Trail(GST) at 2.15pm this Saturday. The route to Duagh Village is approximately four miles long and as portion of the route is on the public road all participants are advised to wear visibility vests.

Refreshments will be provided at Jim's Bar, Duagh and return transport to Abbeyfeale will be provided. Those travelling from the Tralee/Listowel direction may consider the 1pm CIÉ bus from Tralee(1.30pm from Listowel) to Abbeyfeale; there is a return CIÉ service to Listowel/Tralee at 4.45pm directly from Duagh.

Beidh fáilte romhat ar an lá! With Lá Fhéile Bríde welcoming springtime on the previous day it's a good opportunity to take advantage of the lengthening days by getting out and about.

The old railway from Abbeyfeale to the Co. Kerry border is now a magnificent cycleway thanks to the recent works by Limerick Co Co and their contractors and funded by the Department of Transport. A preliminary inspection of the first 2km in Co. Kerry by GST and CIÉ personnel took place last week. Due to the difficult overgrown terrain which was encountered this portion of Saturday's route is only suited to those with wellingtons, gloves, eye protection and working clothing. All other participants should exit onto the public road at the County Boundary.





Mary Angela Downes
Activities co-ordinator,
Rathfredagh Cheshire Home,
Newcastle West,
Co Limerick.
069 83273 085 1636609


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