An objection to the proposed piping of flood-water from Kilbanivane Cemetery to the Anglore stream at Churchtown has delayed the start of work on the project.
While work on the overall scheme was supposed to start later this month, it is now likely that there will be delay of at least a month.
I got an update this week from Kerry County Council area engineer, Brendan Mulhern.
A landowner in the area has expressed fears that the extra water being piped into the stream would simply shift the flooding problem onto his land.
This is in spite of the fact that downstream work on widening the culvert under the Cordal Road at Tullig was due to begin as the first phase of this flood alleviation plan.
Frequent Flooding of Cemetery
While engineers are looking at other means of relieving the the frequent flooding of Maher’s side of Kilbanivane Cemetery, they may have no option but to proceed with the original plan in spite of the objection.
This is on the basis of engineering realities. If all obstacles are removed, the new widened culvert put in place and a clear run from Churchtown to Tullig and beyond to the River Maine are provided for any flood-water, the engineers are confident that they can allay any fears the objector has of his land being flooded.
As an extra precaution, the 800 metre or so storm water drain will be fitted with a valve which will automatically hold its delivery until the stream drops to a level at which it can take the overflow.
In the meantime, the engineers are looking at a set of ‘layman’s solutions’ (my description) in that they’re combining their training with the folklore of the local sluggeragh – or soak-away.
Folklore or legend, the sluggeragh has a locally and very real presence in Castleisland and its surroundings. As the town is built on a limestone outcrop, caves are a natural, subterranean occurrence – take Crag Cave as a prime example.
The sluggeragh of old was used as a natural form of flood alleviation. In today’s world of engineering there is far too much guesswork involved in taking that route. Furthermore, if such a solution was taken up, its consequences couldn’t even be guessed at – never mind guaranteed.
While locals point to the site of an old sluggeragh in Maher’s field – across the road from the cemetery – it is often overwhelmed nowadays by the volumes of rainfall.
However, it does work. For, as soon as the rain stops, the levels in the cemetery, on the roads and in the fields begin to drop immediately.
While the engineers are examining all the possibilities and considering the objection to the most direct solution to the problem – the winter and all it brings – is closing in.
Flooding of Kilbanivane again in the course of the winter of 2016 / 17 is going to be an awful price to be paid by the people whose loved ones lie under a foot of water at the worst of the weather. A local consequence of global warming it may well be – but it’s something we’ve now come to expect at that time of year – at least.
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