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Heroes firefighters and volunteers save ancient woods and homes

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Killarney Water Rescue helping firefighters get across the lake.

OUR HEROES: Members of Killarney Fire Service who put themselves in the line of fire to tackle the largest blaze ever at Killarney National Park were: Martin O'Grady, Paudie Mangan (Station Officer), John O'Grady, Pat Fleming, Sinead Galvin, James Kissane, Denis Mangan and Jonathan Cronin. Missing from photo are: Brendan Connors, Gary Cassidy and Anthony Breen. Photo: Michelle Crean

 

By Michelle Crean

 

The heroes of the weekend were the dedicated firefighters and volunteers who worked tirelessly with little time for rest - until the fires were fully under control.

Killarney Station Officer Paudie Mangan has praised all involved in tackling the fires and the tremendous support received by the community who provided food and drinks to the tired workers and volunteers.

Initially when called out on Friday night he described how the fire was "fairly alright" but how the "strong wind developed the fire very quickly".

At that stage there was only one crew at the scene when another call came in for the Coolies area and Kenmare Fire Service had to be dispatched.

As the fire on the Kenmare Road got stronger and close to the road at Dinis, the Killorglin crew joined the fight. Kenmare then left Coolies and fell in with them.

"It was heading up to the Eagle's Nest and the Long Range River - that was an all nighter. We had everyone on low ground and it was extinguished by 5am."

Killorglin and Kenmare crews were stood down but the Killarney crew stayed on the scene monitoring the fire on the mountains which they had had no access to.

"At first light I contacted the Park Rangers as the ancient wood, if that caught fire there would have been severe consequences for the park."

[caption id="attachment_37271" align="alignleft" width="283"] Killarney Water Rescue helping firefighters get across the lake.[/caption]

The first helicopter arrived on scene at 2pm on Saturday. A fire crew was deployed to the Long Range River, Doogary and Tower Woods. The Killarney, Sneem and Killorglin crews were also on scene as well. Killarney Water Rescue brought some of the fire fighters across the river "with great difficulty" as hoses and pipes had to go into a second boat.

"The terrain was a big challenge, a lot of hard work, but it paid off."

On Sunday crews again went by boat to Doogary Woods. Later Killarney, Kenmare, Killorglin and Macroom tackled the fires in the Black Valley until 1.30am with Killarney fire crews staying on scene until 3am as a precaution.

He added that the fires came as close to 10 metres of the school.

By first light on Monday a private chopper came on scene.

"Our concern was that the fire was going over towards Tomies Wood. The chopper was trying to extinguish the top of Tomies mountain and the Air Corp joined at 10.30am and the fire was under control before lunchtime on Monday. The choppers remained for most of the evening to make sure there was no danger."

In his 30 years service, Paudie said that it is the largest fire of his career.

"I want to say thank you to every neighbouring brigades that fell in. All worked extremely hard and everybody gave it their all."

COMMUNITY SUPPORT

Over the course of the three long days and nights on duty, they had little time to eat - and Paudie said he'd like to say a huge thank you to the communty who came to their aid.

"On behalf of Killarney Fire Brigade, we would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the community of Killarney for the donations of food and refreshments over the weekend. The generosity of the people of Killarney and surrounding communities never ceases to amaze us. The thoughtfulness of everyone, from the people who dropped sandwiches, water, fruit and snacks and homebaking and all the businesses who gave us refreshments. They're are too many to mention, but we wish to thank each of you most sincerely for your generosity, we really appreciate it all."

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Life-long supporter to be honoured

By Michelle Crean There’ll be a very special launch tomorrow afternoon (Sunday) as one club dedicate a new boat to a loyal supporter. Muckross Rowing Club are inviting all members, past and present, friends and supporters to the boathouse for the boat launch at 2.30pm. “We are delighted to honour and name our new Janousek Coxed […]

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By Michelle Crean

There’ll be a very special launch tomorrow afternoon (Sunday) as one club dedicate a new boat to a loyal supporter.

Muckross Rowing Club are inviting all members, past and present, friends and supporters to the boathouse for the boat launch at 2.30pm.

“We are delighted to honour and name our new Janousek Coxed Quad, sponsored by the Cahernane House Hotel, after Kathleen Murphy, a dedicated supporter of our club,” Shona O’Sullivan from the club, who is also Kathleen’s granddaughter, said.

“Kathleen is always supportive of our club fundraisers and has been selling the Muckross Lotto tickets since day one. Every year Kathleen’s enthusiasm and love for the club is especially shown from the shore at Killarney Regatta, as she is all decked out in the yellow of Muckross.”

She added that Kathleen’s family are also very active members of the club and she enjoys listening to their stories from the boathouse and regattas.

“We hope to see you all there to honour and thank Kathleen, a life-long supporter of our club.”

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Killarney man wins most-coveted trophy in sheepdog trials

By Sean Moriarty Kilcummin farmer Tom O’Sullivan – one of the main organisers of last month’s Sheep Dog Trials in Fossa – has become the first Kerry man to win the biggest award in the sport. Tom is the chairman of the Killarney sub-committee and was a member of the 15-strong Irish team that participated […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Kilcummin farmer Tom O’Sullivan – one of the main organisers of last month’s Sheep Dog Trials in Fossa – has become the first Kerry man to win the biggest award in the sport.

Tom is the chairman of the Killarney sub-committee and was a member of the 15-strong Irish team that participated in the international sheepdog competition in Aberystwyth in Wales last weekend.

A total of 60 competitors, 15 each from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, contested the biggest event in sheepdog trials on Friday to Sunday last.

After getting through the qualifiers on Friday and Saturday, Tom and his dog Northhill Tess, fended off the challenges of the other top-15 qualifiers to win the International Supreme Champion award.

Not alone is he the first Kerry man to win the competition, which has been running since 1947, he is just the fifth Irishman to do so and the first from Munster.

“The qualifying course was similar to Killarney,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

However, Sunday’s final was much more difficult. His dog had to round up a flock of sheep at the left hand side of the course. Then Northhill Tess, under the guidance of Tom, had to round up a smaller flock and bring them to the same holding pen. When finished, five of the sheep were wearing red collars and Tom had to instruct his dog to separate them and bring them to a separate holding area.

“It is the biggest trophy in sheep dog trailing,” he added. “Everyone who trains a dog does so for this day. It is mind blowing. My family are very proud, they know the time and the work involved preparing for this.”

The standard at the Killarney event last month was evident in Wales last weekend. The Killarney winner, Peter Morgan and his dog Moss, ran Tom to a very close second.

His son Peter Og won the Young Handlers award and Team Ireland were declared the overall winners based on aggregate scores in the final 15.

Tom arrived home to Kilcummin on Monday night to a traditional homecoming bonfire.

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