Further insight on history of Port road

Published 05/03/2014 | 05:36

THE search for the origin of Port Road's name continues and Killarney's Denis O'Donoghue has added further insight after researching the early history of St Brendan's College.

THE search for the origin of Port Road's name continues and Killarney's Denis O'Donoghue has added further insight after researching the early history of St Brendan's College.

Denis says that the Ordnance Survey namebook of 1883, 'Names in the Town of Killarney', states that 'local belief' was that the road derived it's name from port, an old name for the Deenagh River. He also refers to an article in the 'Nation' on January 29, 1859, which suggests that port may indeed have been used as a local name for the river area from Ballydowney to King's Bridge.

"The name is taken from the Irish word 'port' used to describe the riverbank or embankment that kept the river Deenagh from flooding Falvey's Inch, now the site of the Cathedral and Old Monastery," he states.

"The newspaper account states that Port Road was built circa 1859 following the demolition of Gallwey's Mill, some time after it was sold through the Encumbered Estates Court in 1855," he adds.

Indeed, the 'Nation' also states: "The road passes through the site of the old Galway's Mill, directly over the spot where the great wheel once revolved. A connection is thus effected between the New Street, Killarney, the main road to the Victoria Hotel, and the western portions of the county Kerry. A new road (present-day New Road) from the High Street of Killarney is projected," the print article continues.

Denis says the research shows that when the mill was built, the river course was straightened to prevent flooding and in 1839 there is evidence that the river ran 'straight' from Gallwey's Mill to King's Bridge. The old course wound from Ballydowney Bridge along the base of the hill of Knockreer, on the far side of the present-day playing pitches, to King's Bridge.

"It would seem that the river diversion dates back to at least the early 19th century, pre-dating the building of the Cathedral by many years," he continues.

Before being straightened, Port Road replaced part of the old road to Killorglin from the end of New Street over King's Bridge. This road climbed to the summit of Knockreer and headed westward passing Bellevue House on the right and Prospect Hall on the left before reaching The Victoria Hotel and joining the Killorglin road at 'Molly Boke's Crossroad' near Liebherrs.

Kerryman

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