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A tale of two towns – Part Two – Killarney bypass

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OUT OF DATE: This proposed 2004 route now needs to be redesigned.

 

In the second part of our special investigation into how major projects in Killarney are lagging behind when compared to other towns in Kerry, this week, Sean Moriarty looks at the never ending story of the new bypass.

It seems Killarney has its lilies and Tralee its lovely roads.

We are paraphrasing the words of a famous local song but it is not music to the ears of Killarney’s motorists.

The outer relief road from Lissivigeen to the Tralee Road was originally scheduled for completion in 2009 but due to the economic collapse the work never commenced. It is now back on the Transport Infrastructure Ireland’s (TII) schedule of works but no definite date has been given for commencement. The last we heard, the plans need to be re-designed.

And so it remains on the long finger.

“The entire process had to start all over again at national level and a new list was formulated. A revised and reduced in length bypass was now included. An almost entire new assessment process had to commence and that is on-going. Our fervent hope is that list will remain intact and that the massive expenditure on COVID-19 related projects won't interfere with the road project,” Cllr Michael Gleeson explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

In the meantime work on the Listowel bypass continues. The 5.9km stretch which links the Tarbert and Ballybunnion roads with the Tralee road is well underway.

The Listowel bypass plan was approved by Government in 2005, a date which does not tally with the proposed Killarney bypass which was given governmental approval in 2004.

OTHER PROJECTS CONTINUE

Other major projects are continuing. The Macroom and Ballyvourney bypass is underway. The badly needed Adare bypass got the go-ahead last year, and while construction is yet to start the arrival of the internationally renowned Ryder Cup golf tournament in 2026 will ensure this project will be completed by that time.

Meanwhile, Killarney, the host town of several major annual events, waits.

“On an overview in 2003/4 a specific route corridor with designs finalised and projected completion dates were made public for the major Farranfore to Lissivigeen relief road which was going to alleviate the volumes of traffic coming into Killarney, what happened? Well the bubble and the banks burst and we here in Killarney were forgotten and left behind again,” Mayor Brendan Cronin told the Killarney Advertiser.

[caption id="attachment_33143" align="alignleft" width="278"] OPEN FOR BUSINESS: The Tralee bypass opened in 2013.[/caption]

Last week Kerry County Council approved a plan to collaborate with Limerick County Council to fast track the Abbeyfeale bypass – a direct extension of the Adare project.

“I believe that it was and is very appropriate for KCC to assist Limerick CC in progressing the Abbeyfeale bypass which is of vital importance to Kerry. Cross Border cooperation is essential to many major projects,” Cllr Gleeson added.

Taking this to its extreme, in a few short years, motorists leaving Tralee will be able to travel to the start of Ireland’s motorway network in Limerick (M7 for Dublin and M18 for Galway) on brand new roads that are suitable for today’s volumes of traffic.

Motorists heading to and from the tourist capital of Ireland will have to endure a densely populated and poorly aligned road between Farranfore and Killarney – the scene of at least two fatal accidents this year alone.

FAST-TRACKING

​​​​​​​The fast-tracking of the new bypass is vital and, by default, it will eliminate other traffic blackspots in Killarney that are also on the long-finger.

Congestion between Madam’s Hill and the Cleeney roundabout will be greatly reduced as through-traffic will be diverted away from this stretch of road. The relief road will also go a long way towards reducing traffic on the existing bypass and will help solve issues at the Lewis Road interchange.

The Ballycasheen and Coolcaslagh junctions are two other notorious traffic blackspots - and in the case of the former – an exit from an housing estate leads onto a national primary route.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The situation with four critical junctions at Lewis Road, Madams Hill, Ballycasheen Junction and Coolcaslagh junction is that they are all on the N22 national primary route which is under the total control of Transport Infrastructure Ireland who decide design, planning, layout changes and what level of funding will be spent on any of the above dangerous junctions on the N22. This has proved extremely frustrating over the years because as a Council we are, repeatedly, at every meeting seeking improvements and funding for these junctions but the decisions are made in the TII offices in Dublin,” added Cllr Cronin.

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Pat Delaney Memorial Cup Golf Classic

St Pats East Kerry are running their annual Pat Delaney Memorial Cup golf classic at the Ross Golf Club on Saturday July 6. The format is a 3 person scramble […]

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St Pats East Kerry are running their annual Pat Delaney Memorial Cup golf classic at the Ross Golf Club on Saturday July 6. The format is a 3 person scramble over ten holes and the entry fee is €120 per team. The entry fee will include a goody bag for each player and a cup of Tea/Coffee and scone when the round is completed. Tee times are available from 8am.

Killarney Credit Union is the main sponsor of the event, in recognition of Pat having been a highly respected and effective Chairman of the Credit Union. Pat was a Chairman and Vice President of St Pats East Kerry and he started the annual golf classic over ten years ago as a fundraiser for the Club. Known for his excellent organisation skills and a master salesman who enjoyed persuading the golfers of the Killarney area to take part in the event. He acted as master of ceremonies on the day, meeting and greeting every team prior to their games and to ensure that everyone had an enjoyable day.

On the morning of the golf classic, back in June 2018, Pat sadly passed away. His contribution to hurling and to St Pats demanded that his legacy be commemorated. Pat had also made a major contribution to the Killarney Credit Union at a time of major change in their business, leading the two organisation, St Pats and Killarney Credit Union to combine and rebrand the annual golf classic in Pat’s name.

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Civil War, a song and New York city

  A series of random encounters has resulted in one of biggest atrocities of the Civil War being immortalised in a song. On March 8, 1923, a group of Republican […]

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A series of random encounters has resulted in one of biggest atrocities of the Civil War being immortalised in a song.

On March 8, 1923, a group of Republican prisoners were taken from their temporary prison cells at the Great Southern Hotel and marched to a location near Countess Road.

Less than 24 hours after the more-documented Ballyseedy Massacre near Tralee, the five men named – Stephen Buckley, Tim Murphy, Daniel Donoghue, Jeremiah O’Donoghue and Tadgh Coffey –were killed by Free State troops with explosives and gunfire.

Fast forward over 100 years when local musician and song writer Donal Power was approached by Tadgh Buckley of Killarney Music School.
“He asked me if I would write a song about an incident with particular emphasis on a person who was his long-dead cousin. I told him I’d try and hoped he would be satisfied with the result,” explained Donal.
“He then gave me a copy of Tim Horgan’s book ‘The Stones Still Speak’, containing the story of Stephen Buckley murdered at the Countess Bridge which also contained a letter written by Stephen the night before his death in 1923, which didn’t come to light until six years later. Like many others I was aware of the massacre at Ballyseedy Cross but not the Countess Road, Killarney. So this was the project and the challenge!
“I spent a number of weeks writing a song about the incident. There is a lot of content in the story and I wanted to be true to the content of Stephen’s letter. I completed the song and sang it for him and others at a session where it appeared to make a positive impression. It’s an acoustic ballad which I accompany with guitar.”
But the story does not end there. A New York-based family, direct descendants of the murdered Stephen Buckley made contact with Power.
A man named Thomas Buckley from New York made contact with the local songwriter after hearing the song on Soundcloud.
Thomas explained: “My father Stephen Buckley was born in New York City in 1924. His father Michael Buckley,  named his first son, my dad, after his brother Stephen who was killed at the Countess Bridge in 1923. My older brother is also Stephen Buckley born in New York in

1954.”
Three members of the New York-based Buckley family, Thomas, Stephen and younger brother Timothy, were on a family holiday to Killarney earlier this month.

Power met them and was able to take the brothers to the site of the ambush were he learned that they are also related to Tadhg Buckley, the man who originally asked for the song to be written.

“We don’t know the exact relationship but it is very direct. The three brothers think Tadhg now lives where the murdered Stephen Buckley once lived,” added Power.

The song can be downloaded via: https://soundcloud.com/donal-power-170379558/the-countess-road-massacre.

SONG LYRICS
KILLARNEY, NINETEEN-TWENTY-THREE
A CIVIL WAR ATROCITY
A MASSACRE, A SHAMEFUL EPISODE
FOUR SOLDIERS OF THE I.R.A.
BY FREE-STATE FORCES BLOWN AWAY
EXECUTED ON THE BRIDGE ON THE COUNTESS ROAD

A SOLE SURVIVOR ON THE RUN,
TADHG COFFEY WAS THE ONLY ONE
WHO MANAGED TO ESCAPE AND TELL THE NEWS
OF THE LANDMINE, THE BOOBY-TRAP
THE BULLETS FIRED, THE COVER-UP
THAT KILLED TIM MURPHY, STEPHEN BUCKLEY AND THE DONOGHUES

THE DAY BEFORE THE MASSACRE
WHILE STEPHEN WAS HELD PRISONER
HE HAD A PREMONITION HE WOULD DIE
HE GAVE A LETTER TO THE GUARD
TRUSTING HE WOULD NOT DISCARD
THE MESSAGE TO HIS MOTHER AND THE WORDS THAT SAID GOODBYE

THE GUARD DENIED THE LAST REQUEST
AND KEPT THE LETTER HE SUPPRESSED
WHEN EMIGRATING TO THE USA
HE KEPT THE SECRET SIX LONG YEARS
TILL HANNAH BUCKLEY, THROUGH HER TEARS
COULD READ WHAT STEPHEN WROTE BEFORE THEY TOOK HIS LIFE AWAY

“I’D LIKE TO LIVE A LONGER LIFE
BUT I AM RECONCILED TO DIE
MAY GOD PROTECT MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS
REJOICE AND DO NOT MOURN MY LOSS
FOR I AM CERTAIN THAT THE CAUSE
OF TRUTH AND RIGHT, OF PEARSE AND TONE WILL TRIUMPH IN THE END”

“I DIE A TRUE REPUBLICAN
REMEMBER ME TO GALLANT MEN,
TO MY BROTHERS AND MY SISTERS, WHEN I’M DEAD
AND MOTHER, BRAVE IT CHEERFULLY
PRAY THE ROSARY FOR ME
AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO SENT ME TO MY DEATH“, THE LETTER SAID

AND ON THAT SPOT A MONUMENT
COMMEMORATES THE SAD EVENT
WHERE LONG AGO THE BLOOD OF HEROES FLOWED
THOSE MEN WHO PAID THE FINAL PRICE
WHO MADE THE GREATEST SACRIFICE
EXECUTED ON THE BRIDGE ON THE COUNTESS ROAD

The song can be downloaded via: https://soundcloud.com/donal-power-170379558/the-countess-road-massacre.

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