Kerry County Council environment officials and fisheries board officers are currently investigating the state of the Dirtoge River.
The river, a tributary of the River Maine – which it flows into in the Kealgorm / Sandville area, looks like it has been a victim of pollutant substances for a prolonged period.
However, local farmers have been alerted to a ‘sudsy substance’ which has been flowing down the river for the past week or more.
Even a cursory glance at the once thriving, salmon spawning river leaves one in little doubt of its badly ailing state of health.
The seasonal salmon shared its glistening, gravelly beds with brown trout, fluke and eels and it was a dinger of a river on the day of a flood.
The stones on the bed of the river are now all ‘bearded’ with a slimy, brown / pink coloured substance. The absence of fly-life and surface circles from feeding trout tells it’s own story.
The Dirtoge River is often referred to locally as ‘The Second Bridge’ – a name it earned from its positioning on both the old railway track and on the Tralee Road.
It would appear to set out high up on Fahadubh and cut its way down through Ahaneboy, Tulligubeen through the glen at the golf club and on down to Laccabawn and Doolaig.
It’s quite a meanderer from mountain to river as it makes its way down through Knocknagore – where it is joined by the pure, fresh, watercress growing spring from Leane’s Fort.
It then crosses the Tralee road and on down between Farranabrack and Kealgorm before flowing into the Maine there as Sandville beckons.
There is a definite sudsy feel from the substance flowing there constantly for the past week. Dipping your hands in it gives a feeling like that of soapy water. It is odourless but has objects like little lumps of sponge floating along down in its journey. Bank-side vegetation doesn’t seem to be coming off well from its contact with the water in the river either.
While the situation there is being taken in hand by both bodies mentioned at the outset, the sad fact about it all is that, while the present problem may be in the process of being solved, what does the future hold for the once pure and vibrant little river. Its recent past doesn’t hold any great promise of things to come.