Landslide leaves locals in awe at power of nature

LOCALS have described the weekend’s landslide in the Stack’s Mountains as one of the most frightening and overwhelming events ever witnessed, with some likening the event to the horrendous landslide in Derrybrien Co Galway in 2003. Apart from the destruction of an estimated 25 acres of bog, locals say that the event and how it unfolded will remain forever in their memory.

The frightening ordeal began on Friday evening when some locals out working in the Ballincollig Hill area of Maghanknockane felt slight tremblings on the bog. Numerous calls were made from house to house regarding the strange events, but it wasn’t until the approximately 10.45am the following morning when bog movement was more visible that local man Maurice Harrington phoned the gardaí to report the incident. The gardaí in turn phoned Kerry County Council and officials and engineers arrived to the area near Ballincollig Hill at approximately noon. According to council officials, the landslide began on Friday night and continued into Saturday morning, gaining more momentum throughout the afternoon.

As the afternoon and evening passed, locals watched in horror as the landslide escalated and began to speed up, following a path of approximately 3km to Reamore, Kielduff and onto an area known locally as Scanlon’s Bridge. Locals recalled how the frightening landslide spread out close to 50 metres wide, with one man explaining how he first noticed a ripple effect on the bog before seeing hundreds of tonnes of peat flowing down the hillside. En route to the latter bridge, the landslide engulfed a bridge providing access to the Harris family home at approximately 3pm, before making its way towards Scanlon’s Bridge a short distance away. Kerry County Council officials confirmed that throughout Saturday morning, small sections of the road leading to this bridge were dug away in an effort to divert the bog slide from the bridge and to ease the pressure on it.

This proved successful and although the bridge was engulfed, it was not destroyed. The horrifying ordeal came to a halt on Saturday night about a mile downstream when a specially constructed dam finally stopped the flow. Dozens of landowners have been affected by the weekend’s landslide. Many have lost their turf and others cannot gain access to their land.

All are now extremely anxious to find out the exact cause of the landslide. Since the weekend, the area has become somewhat of a tourist attraction, with dozens of visitors driving the narrow road to witness the extraordinary scene. Although emergency works were carried at the site on Saturday, Kerry County Council is now in the process of planning a large-scale cleanup and recovery operation. However, there are no clear estimates of the scale, cost or amount of time the cleanup will take.