Dysart Bridge, Eggs, Omlettes and Camp Road

The doomed bridge at Dysart which is at the centre of concerns by the business community in Castleisland as it will leave the town isolated for the remainder of the summer. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Site works already well underway at Dysart in preparation for the demolition and replacement of the old bridge there. ©Photograph: John Reidy

One of John F. Kennedy’s favourite analogies was the one about having to break eggs to make an omelette. 

It comes to mind and tongue these days in Castleisland as the ancient Dysart Bridge faces into its final days.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland or TII and Kerry County Council find themselves at the centre of a local storm as the town prepares for a period of isolation over the remainder of the summer and into early autumn.

Cause of the Rumpus

The cause of the rumpus is the demolition and replacement of Dysart Bridge on the Castleisland to Killarney Road and how much of the summer the work will actually eat into.

The aspect of the project that worries the business community in Castleisland is the length of time it will take from now to the opening of the new bridge there.

Level of Damage

Questions are also being asked about what level of damage that closure period will have done to the already suffering commercial life of the town by bridge opening time in the autumn.

Cllr. Bobby O’Connell and Danny Healy Rae TD have been in touch in recent days and Cllr. O’Connell is hoping that the TII will see to it that the building process is expedited in order to limit the damage to the business life of the town.

Pressure on Camp Road

Cllr. O’Connell also feels that Camp Road is going to come under huge pressure as it provides a roundabout way of getting to and fro between Castleisland and Currow, Farranfore and Killarney.

Whatever about the latter, the other two provide Castleisland with huge commercial support base as it is considered their nearest town.

O’Connell will also be looking for Camp Road to be prepared and maintained for the traffic flow expected there for the duration of the work at Dysart.

Bends that Demand Respect

While the surface of the road is good in most parts there is at least one pothole well worthy of the name near Mike Joe O’Sullivan’s garage and there are bends that need to be negotiated with the height of respect.

Any alternative route is going to add complication, miles and time to a journey and that’s not going to wash with people.

Healy Rae Concerned

Danny Healy Rae, TD has also voiced his concerns at the consequences of the Transport Infrastructure Ireland and Kerry County Council closing the road from Castleisland to Farranfore in order to replace the bridge.

“It will be closed to heavy goods vehicles as well as all other vehicles from the May 25th 2018 until August 25th 2018,” said Deputy Healy Rae.

Inconvenience and Expense

“This will be of great inconvenience and expense to people who operate heavy goods vehicles and will now have to travel between Castleisland and Killarney via Tralee.

“There will be very serious consequences to this and I believe that the TII do not realise the extent of the damage and expense that this will cause to these people who operate between these two towns,” he concluded.

If Dysart Bridge Could Talk

If Dysart Bridge could talk and if it was the boastful type and posted these kind of things on Facebook – as we foolish humans do – it would make interesting reading.

It could boast that its arch was crossed by many of the world’s most famous people.

By countless stages of the legendary Rás Tailteann; by the heavyweights of Irish political history; by Princess Grace (Kelly) of Monaco; by Bing Crosby and by all the stars of sport, stage and screen and many others on their way to and from Killarney.

And if the bridge could talk it would express its sorrow at, at least, one fatality within its parapets in recent years.

Acknowledgement of Efforts 

Apart from the commercial consequences – which many won’t see beyond – there is the lost, historical side to the demolition of a structure that served its community well.

Maybe a few stones from the ancient structure could be built into the new as a means of acknowledgement of the efforts of those who toiled to put it there and to the service it provided in the course of its long life.


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