Wedding may have saved couple from being caught by landslide

HAD it not been for the fact that Maurice Harrington and his wife Joan were attending a wedding in Killarney, they may well have been swept away in the weekend’s landslide at Maghanknockane, Lyrecrompane.

The couple who would normally have been collecting bags of turf from their bog on Saturday afternoon were shocked when they heard of the disaster by phone that evening. “We could have been swept away had it not been for the wedding,” a shocked Maurice told The Kerryman. “We would normally have been bringing in bags of turf from our bog so thankfully we were away.” Maurice explained that it was his son Mossie who alerted him to the initial bog movement on Friday— Mossie was hedge cutting that afternoon when he felt the bog shuddering.

“He rang me straight away and told me he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The bog was moving,” he said. Also that day, Maurice’s son Patrick had also noticed some movement, with his father recalling how his son thought there was something wrong with his eyesight. “He saw the bog moving slightly and was convinced there was something wrong with his eyes,:” he said.

“Now we know there wasn’t.” While Maurice admits that the recent rainfall may have been a factor, he believes that the construction of a windfarm in the area may also have contributed to the weekend’s disaster. He said that he and numerous locals objected to the development on the grounds that they feared construction work could cause a landslide. “I’m not opposed to wind energy but I always felt this could happen if heavy machinery is in and out,” he said. “We pointed out our concerns to An Bord Pleanála years ago but the planning permission was granted anyway.

Instead, Maurice is coming to terms with the loss of over €1,000 worth of turf, while he also fears for the safety of his animals, which graze on nearby land, should there be a repeat of the weekend’s landslide.