We took a trip down to The Kingdom the other day. The route I took was more or less parallel to a tolled motorway. My preference is not to pay a road toll as I hate parting with cash to drive on a road on which some of my taxes were spent to build the damn thing. So I use the slower routes that connect with towns and villages, occasionally to stop eat, drink coffee and view the scenery.
Our first stop was to pull into the riverside car park at Caher, a beautiful old town in South Tipperary. On the river bank opposite the car park stands Caher Castle which was built in 12th century by Conor O'Brien on an island in the river Suir. For much of its history Cahir was influenced by the Butler family. It was from this family that the first Barons of Caher were created in 1375 and the castle was granted to James Butler the newly-created Earl of Ormond; his heir managed to hang on to it until 1647 when it was surrendered to Murrough O'Brien (a descendant of the original builder). In 1650 it was again surrendered to Oliver Cromwell. Betwixt and between ownership of the castle reverted back to Lords of Caher, continuing until the last Lord Caher - Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Butler Charteris died in 1961. The castle then became the property of The Irish State.
As I write this piece of history I am wondering if the subject of the previous blog has any connection with the Butler's of Caher?
We journeyed on along the roads towards Michelstown in Co.Cork where we turned off to take the road to Mallow. It was some years ago that I had last travelled this road and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it had been greatly improved since my last trip.
It is probable that there has been a settlement near Mallow since the Neolithic, for there is an alignment of six standing stones about 8 miles away at Beenalaght. For me Mallow holds a variety of memories as it has frequently been an attractive town that I have passed through on my way to the coastal areas of Cork and rarely stopping, until a friend of ours made her home there for a few years. She moved to Cupertino to assist in the development of Apple computers and is sorely missed in this household.
On the outskirts of Mallow we joined the road that leads to Killarney however, our destination was the village of Old Rathmore, about three miles from the Cork/Kerry border placing it very definitely in
The Kingdom of Kerry.
Mrs H, with Margaret & Dan Cronin
Dan is an historian, author and journalist who has written for every Irish newspaper, including a magazine called Ireland's Own.
At ninety two years of age he is still actively writing about the local history of his home place. (ibid: 2012/07/small-tour-of-cork-kerry.) Truly a remarkable man who left school at the age of fourteen and educated himself by spending lot of time visiting libraries.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself listening to Mrs H and Dan conversing on their favourite topics, namely Irish mythology and sacred sites.
On our journey home I cut across country from one main road to another and as we did so, Mrs H noticed a road sign that said "The Site of the Moving Bog". There followed a discussion between ourselves, for I recalled reading about a Bog that moved years ago though the actual details escaped me.
Below are extracts from two newspapers of that era:-
The Kerry Sentinel, 6 January 1897
THE GREAT BOG SLIDE.
INQUEST ON THE BOY DONNELLY.
"Early this morning rain ceased falling in the district that surrounds Killarney, and at the scene of the recent disastrous land slide, a slight frost also set in, which must be regarded as a favourable change. The peasantry living near the great bog slide, who have passed a week in fear and trembling, did not occupy their own homes last night, but took shelter in dwellings more remote with kindly neighbours who pity them and offer temporary relief in this period of trouble. During the night additional parts of the mountain moved, but by noon to-day the sliding had practically ceased. The people, however, are still apprehensive, and expect that at any moment the bog will move again. Direct communication between Killarney and Gneeveguilla continues cut off. Search parties, composed of peasants and police, were out on the hill sides all day looking for the remaining bodies of the Donnelly family, but without success. The search will be continued to-morrow."
"An inquest was held to-day on the body of Daniel Donnelly, and evidence, in the main, similar to that already reported, was given, and a like verdict returned. There were, however, some points of particular interest disclosed. It was shown at the inquest that the body of the boy, who was sixteen years of age, was found a mile and a half from the spot in which he had resided had stood. This shows clearly how strong must have been the current of the moving bog, and where the other bodies are hidden it is impossible to conjecture. The funeral followed shortly after the inquest, and was very largely attended by all classes in the district."
THE DISASTER IN EAST KERRY.
"There is no longer any mystery surrounding the calamitous disaster in Kerry. Indeed it has occasioned very little surprise in the minds of those who were ultimately acquainted with the character of the spot. For years it was feared that this landslip was bound to happen, though possibly nobody anticipated that it would have proved so terrible in its results, otherwise it is difficult to conceive how those who stood in peril calmly awaited their impending fate. As has been already stated, this bog was extensively cut by the farmers in the country round. No provision, however, appears to have been made for carrying off the surface water from the cut-away portions. The result is that this has been accumulating for years, and during the past two it was apparent from the shaky condition of this portion of the bog that it has for some time been floating, though held in position by some slight barrier. The heavy rains of the past month, no doubt, supplied whatever increased bouyancy was necessary to float its position, and this happened with dire results during the small hours of Monday morning. It is gratifying to learn that the bog has now ceased to make any further progress, so that no more ill effects are looked for. The traces left by the moving mass as it shot down the valley show that it must have swept past in a fairly compact body, and with a tremendous force levelling to the ground and sweeping before it everything which obstructed its progress."
We returned home totally sated from our interesting journey to The Kingdom and having driven over 300 miles I sat and enjoyed a pleasant cup of tea before going to bed.