Bertie Ahern Renews his Acquaintance with Restful, Scenic Glounsharoon

Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was welcomed on his arrival at Glounsharoon on Thursday afternoon by a tripartite group made up by students from St. Patrick’s Secondary School; Castleisland Chamber Alliance and Glounsharoon campaigner, Séamus Fleming. Included in the photograph are from left: Simon O’Leary, Ayrton Burke, Shea Lawless and Patrick Fleming with Mr. Ahern; Castleisland Chamber Alliance Chairman, Michael John Kearney; Deputy Principal St. Patrick’s Secondary School, Tim Long and Séamus Fleming, organiser and member of the Ahaneboy Community Group. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Mr. Ahern is welcomed to Glounsharoon officially by area campaigner, Séamus Fleming. Seated with Mr. Ahern are: Castleisland Chamber Alliance Chairman Michael John Kearney and Patrick Fleming, St. Patrick’s Secondary School. Back: St. Patrick’s Secondary School Deputy Principal, Tim Long with students: Simon O’Leary, Ayrton Burke and Shea Lawless with Kathleen Fleming. ©Photograph: John Reidy
St. Patrick’s Secondary School student, Shea Lawless explained the students’ project for the Glounsharoon area to Bertie Ahern during his visit on Thursday afternoon. Included are Castleisland Chamber Alliance Chairman, Michael John Kearney and St. Patrick’s Secondary School Deputy Principal, Tim Long. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Bertie Ahern and Patrick Fleming at the planting of the Peace Tree with organiser, Séamus Fleming on Glounsharoon during Mr. Ahern’s visit on Thursday afternoon. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Thursday, April 20th will stand as a milestone on the journey of the campaign for Glounsharoon.

History will show that former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern dropped in on that day on his way to South Kerry to chat about his associations with the area which he made famous with a mention in Dáil Éireann in the early 1990s.

He mentioned back then how he loved to stop off on Glounsharoon and take in the first real view of Kerry from its lofty platform.

On this occasion Mr. Ahern, straight from his Good Friday Agreement 25th anniversary engagements with former US President Bill Clinton, Chief US negotiator, George Mitchell and former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, was met by a small delegation of Glounsharoon campaigners with whom he sat and chatted for a good half an hour.

All Updates Read

Castleisland Chamber Alliance Chairman Michael John Kearney joined chief campaigner, Séamus Fleming of the Ahaneboy Community Group in welcoming Mr. Ahern on his return to the area and they thanked him for his continued correspondence on the issue.

Mr. Ahern assured Mr. Fleming that he reads all his updates and he proved this later on in the conversation when he nodded in the direction of the adjacent Kerry County Council storage area / dump and said “I see you’re trying to get the council to scoot off out of there too.”

Official Welcome

To put the visit on a formal footing Séamus officially welcomed Mr. Ahern with a short, scripted address as follows:

“Thank you, Mr Ahern, for taking time to stop off on your way to what is a well-deserved and, we hope, a most enjoyable break in Kerry.

Welcome to the Kerry Scenic Platform, Glounsharoon, Castleisland.
You are a true friend of Glounsharoon – for over 30 years you have been an admirer of this area at the Gateway to Kerry.

“You had a fabulous article in a Sunday newspaper in the early 90’s about Glounsharoon describing it as the ‘best vista in Ireland.’

Half Page Article

“And the captivating large photo on the half page article was taken right here – that’s 30 years ago! And I remember the article well …and recently, you dedicated the poem ‘Landscapes’ by John O’Donoghue to Glounsharoon.

We have made some progress here as you can see and the future possibilities are exciting.
We appreciate your presence here as a long-time admirer of Glounsharoon – so we would like to mark your visit to us and for future generations – and what better way to capture that, than to plant a Peace Tree in your honour.

A Well Chosen Tree

The Peace Tree is an Elder Lace – not indigenous but adopted, flowers in June and berries afterwards and it is hardy.

It’s a small tree so that it doesn’t obscure the view. It is well chosen thanks to Liam Hickey of Hickey Nurseries for the sage guidance in its selection.

I would like to thank the Transition Year lads and Tim Long the Deputy Principal of St Patrick’s Secondary School, Castleisland for attending.
As part of their schoolwork – The Transition Year class has taken on an exciting design project on the scenic platform here and incorporating the possibilities and new ideas on how best to welcome and attract visitors.

Before I hand over to the lads to explain a little more – I will just say that in circa 1850 this location was known as Lighthouse – and there was a beacon light stationed here – up high – as a ‘shining-light’ and a guide to help Horsemen navigate at night. Now I will ask the lads to tell us a little more about their exciting project,” said Mr. Fleming.

Students’ Exciting Project

Deputy Principal of St. Pat’s, Tim Long spoke about the very exciting project the students have in the pipeline for Glounsharoon.

“It brings the in-class subject knowledge of maths, science, graphics and project management methodology etc outdoors to be applied in a real-world practical way,” said Mr. Long.

On the project titled ‘Castleisland, The Gateway to Kerry’ – the lads representing the TY class, Shea Lawless, Ayrton Burke, Patrick Fleming and Simon O’Leary detailed, through their spokesman Shea, their Glounsharoon design project to Mr. Ahern.

Visitors in Millions

Mr. Ahern learned that two and a half million visitors come into Kerry annually and leave again. That’s five million experiences. And most visitors come through here.

He also heard that their design would expose the natural panoramic views that are obscured presently and much more….

One design inclusion in the plan is a ‘Peace Light’ inspired by the ‘Aras Light’ and by Mr. Ahern’s involvement with the Good Friday Peace Agreement of 25 years ago.

“Our plan incorporates a Light of Peace, a Light of Welcome for the Diaspora and a Light for Hope and Possibilities,” Shea Lawless continued.

A Light for Horsemen

“Glounsharoon was known as Lighthouse in the 1850’s where a beacon light was stationed to help horsemen navigate at night so it would be appropriate to put a Peace Light here.”

And he concluded their presentation by inviting Mr. Ahern back to switch the light on if their dream comes to fruition.

The former Taoiseach was very impressed with the St. Pat’s lads even more so when he discovered that they already had All-Ireland Colleges Gaelic Football medals to their credit. And he told them that he looked forward to when their project was complete.

For Peace and Posterity

He said that Glounsharoon is an incredible resource to have and he spoke about the potential of the area.
“We will be looking forward to the completed project,” he said as he and St. Pat’s pupil and delegation member, Patrick Fleming turned their attention to planting the tree on Glounsharoon for peace and posterity. Bertie will be back.

You can contact The Maine Valley Post on… Anyone in The Maine Valley Post catchment area who would like to send us news and captioned photographs for inclusion can send them to: Queries about advertising and any other matters regarding The Maine Valley Post can also be sent to that address or just ring: 087 23 59 467.