DESIGN: The proposed design for the site of the Headford Ambush.
By Sean Moriarty
There are calls for a permanent outdoor museum to be built on the site of the Headford Ambush.
The centenary of the event, which marked Kerry’s arrival in the War of Independence, will take place on March 21 next year.
It was one of the key local events in the 1921 War of Independence, carried out by the Irish Republican Army on March 21.
An IRA brigade intercepted a train carrying British troops who were travelling between Kenmare and Killarney. The subsequent gunfight left 14 men dead; nine British soldiers, two IRA volunteers and three civilians.
Local man Dan Allman was one of the leaders of the ambush, but he and his colleague Jimmy Baily were the two IRA men killed in the attack.
A monument stands at the site of the ambush - but this has fallen into disrepair.
The site is also significant in the history of railway transport in the county. Headford Junction linked Kenmare and Kilgarvan with the rest of the country including Great Southern Railway branch lines to Mallow and Killarney.
Killarney Advertiser owners Cormac and Noelle Casey now live in the house that served as the station’s tea rooms up until the 1960s.
In recent years, Irish Rail replaced the manual level crossing at the junction with an automated crossing but the former site has also fallen into disrepair.
Mr Casey believes with the centenary fast approaching that the time is right to repair the monument and to also mark the significance of the railway industry in the area.
To that end, staff at KC Print, the Killarney Advertiser’s parent company, have come up with a design for an outdoor museum that would mark the event and, at the same time, honour Kerry’s contribution to the Civil War effort and the railway heritage of the county.
“Up to this point in the war, Kerry’s effort was considered weak and that we were not playing our part, but the Headford Ambush was very significant as it was central to the start of the Kerry effort,” he said. “Headford Junction is also very important in the railway history in the country. One of the longest serving steam engines ran on this line up until the 1960s. Our proposal is to develop a low maintenance outdoor museum that can be visited at any time.”
[caption id="attachment_34405" align="alignleft" width="340"] DERELICT: The site of the ambush has fallen into disrepair.[/caption]
Paving from the now derelict Headford railway platform could be used to construct the museum that would also feature steel artworks as a direct link to the railway industry.
Kerry County Council officials lodged an application for funding to the Department of Culture, Arts and Gaeltacht and money to the tune of €10,000 was confirmed this week.
The funding was welcomed by local politicians including Deputy Danny Healy-Rae, Cllr Maura Healy-Rae, Niall Kelleher, Mayor of Killarney Brendan Cronin, and Kerry Mayor Michael Connor-Scarteen.
“Myself and Maura thank the committee for their great efforts and works and wish them all the best with the works,” said Danny Healy-Rae. “Cllr Maura Healy-Rae had a motion before Kerry County Council requesting them to apply to the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for funding and I also made a submission to the Department about this.”
Cllr Kelleher lives very close to the monument.
“I welcome this news for the locality, it is important to mark this occasion,” he said.
Killarney Mayor Brendan Cronin was another local councillor who pushed for funding for this project both at Municipal and county level.
County Mayor Connor-Scarteen has a direct family link to the ambush.
[caption id="attachment_34406" align="alignleft" width="341"] HISTORIC: Mayor Patrick Connor-Scarteen and his father Michael with one of the actual rifles used in the ambush 100 years ago.[/caption]
"I grew up hearing so much about the Headford Ambush which took place in March 1921, it was undoubtedly one of the most significant military engagements in Ireland during the War of Independence,” he said. "I'm proud of the integral part played by Tom O'Connor-Scarteen, my grand-uncle who was the last of the IRA to leave the ambush site. I want to thank the local committee and fellow councillors who also pushed for funding.”
Local committee members include Derry Healy, Tina Healy (who is a grand-niece of Allman), Jimmy Casey, Seamus Moynihan, Liz Spillane and Mike Scannell.
NPWS survey to find out impact of fires
By Michelle Crean The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April. The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find […]
By Michelle Crean
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has commissioned a comprehensive survey on the impact of fires over the past four decades – in particular Killarney National Park in April.
The tender, worth €300,000, and named ‘Study on the Impact of Fires On The Biodiversity of Killarney National Park’, seeks to find out the biological impacts of the fires in the 26,000 acre park.
The fires in April burned from Friday night on April 23 until around 12pm the following Monday when they were finally brought under control.
Parts of the Park were scorched resulting in flora and fauna being wiped out. Some fires came as close as 10 metres to a church and school in the Black Valley area.
Fires raged near Tomies Wood and fire crews from five different districts quenched fires near the properties under threat. A real threat was for The Oak Woods but fire fighters managed to avert danger.
The fire is believed to have begun on the Kenmare Road area escalated by the strong winds.
“The purpose of this tender is to commission a comprehensive survey of the impacts, and the chrono-sequence of fire recovery or otherwise, on lands burned over the past four decades, as well as surveys in unburned areas, in order to assess the biological impacts of the fires, in particular the fire of April 2021, on the biodiversity of Killarney National Park,” an NPWS spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.
Killarney spin will bring comfort to patients
By Michelle Crean Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town. Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22. This year due to COVID […]
By Michelle Crean
Ahead of this year’s ladies only 54321 Challenge a number of spinathons are taking place, including in Killarney town.
Sunday, August 15 a group of 10 ladies plan a spinathon day in Killarney ahead of their four day epic adventure from Thursday, August 19 to Sunday 22.
This year due to COVID restrictions the 54321 team will run with two teams of five people, all female – who are raising funds for one single charity – Comfort for Chemo Kerry.
Their four day challenge will include a cycle the Ring of Kerry on day one (Thursday 19), a climb up Carrantuohil on day two (Friday 20), a cycle from Killarney to the foot of Cnoc Na Tobair and then climb Cnoc Na Tobair on day three (Saturday 21) finishing off with a cycle of the Skellig Ring on day four (Sunday 22).
In advance of the ninth annual challenge they will first participate in the spinathons at various locations to help raise much needed funds for this year’s chosen charity.
The first of the spinathons will take place on Saturday, July 31 in Listowel, Killorglin, Dingle, Cahersiveen. On the day volunteers will take to the spinning bikes from 10am to 5pm in different locations around these towns.
This will be followed by Killarney on Sunday, August 15, and Tralee on Saturday, August 28.
When choosing this year’s charity, organisers contacted a past participant and a dear friend, Mairead Dunphy from Glencar who is currently on her own journey with cancer.
“We wanted to show our support to Mairead and knowing that she would like to support those who have supported her on her journey so far, she had already being looking at ideas to raise much needed funds for Comfort for Chemo Kerry,” TJ O’Connor said.
“Please support Comfort for Chemo Kerry by giving what you can.”
For more information about the spinathons go to www.54321challenge.org or the Comfort for Chemo Kerry Facebook page for online donation information.
There’s also a GoFundMe page: ‘Comfort for Chemo Kerry – 54321 Challenge 2021’ which has a €20,000 target set up.
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