Improvements to Glanageenty Walkways Access Road Welcomed – John Lenihan

The Long and Winding Road: John Lenihan pictured with Cllr. Bobby O’Connell on the greatly improved Kilbane Road approach to the Glanageenty Walkways on Friday.      ©Photograph: John Reidy
Back in the Day: Preparing the Glanageenty Way: from left: John Houlihan, John Paul Fitzgerald, James O’Connor, Willie Reidy, John Lenihan and Joanne O’Sullivan, Rural Social Scheme Supervisor. ©Photograph: John Reidy 18-2-2009

Thinking and acting along the lines that local and potential tourist attractions could do with all the help they and their promoters can get, Cllr. Bobby O’Connell heard and heeded an appeal on behalf of Glanageenty Walkways.

But then the signatory to the appeal was none other than John Lenihan – a former world hill running champion and winner of every other tough challenge imaginable in his time.

Champion of the Project

John, also the champion of the Glenageenty Walkways project, wasn’t looking for help with the facility itself but with the access road to it.

He explained that the narrow road leading to the facility, known locally as the Kilbane Road was turning visitors off as it wasn’t possible for two cars to pass each other on the forbidding approach road.

Drains Cleaned and Cleared

Cllr. O’Connell and Kerry County Council got down to the task and roadside drains were cleaned and cleared and then piped and filled in and the ground over them claimed for that vital extra width of road-space.

The approach road was then dotted with several strategically positioned lay-bys to allow for larger vehicles and the possibility of bus traffic which facilities like this can reasonably expect to attract.

Hard Won Facility

Delighted at the improvements to the road as a vital link to his hard won facility at ‘Gleann na nGinte’ John Lenihan said that the road works will prove a huge asset to the numbers able and encouraged to visit when the time is right.

“We have about 50 people up there now today enjoying the walk and all in their own bubbles and well distanced from each other.

Delighted With the Job

“I had met some people who came up here once but said they would be put off coming back because of how narrow the road was and the fact that two cars couldn’t pass.

“We’re delighted with the fine job the council has done here and thanks to Bobby O’Connell for getting behind us and having the job done before the year will hopefully open up for places like this,” said John.

An Autumn Sunday in 2012

The then NEKD since renamed NEWKD backed Sliabh Luachra Walks Committee launched the Glanageenty Walkways on the afternoon of Sunday, September 9th 2012 2pm.

The tape-cutting honour properly fell to John Lenihan.

The Glanageenty Walkways was further celebrated in the winter of 2012 by a ‘ Tracks & Trails’ RTE television programme presented by Tralee native and former Kerryman reporter, Paschal Sheehy.

Steeped in History

Just eight kilometres outside Castleisland in Ballymacelligott, are the wonderfully rugged Glanageenty Walkways Loop Walkways

Gleann na nGinnte is steeped in history and folklore as the area was a great hiding place for a number of historical heroes and also some bandits.

The story of how the walk was won from the wilderness there is one of an epic struggle and a man’s determination to drive a dream to its logical conclusion.

Townlands of Poetic Beauty

There are stories of piping concrete down the sides of slopes on which God nor man couldn’t set foot.

And the area is set in town-lands named with poetic beauty and care: Toureen, Muingatee, Cloughavoola, Kilbane, Maglass and many more.

John Lenihan’s dream reached the point of realisation on that Sunday afternoon after a gruelling campaign of work going back over the previous five years or so.

The work on the Kilbane Road approach to the historic Glanageenty Walkways goes to prove that the work, along with the show, must go on.

Find out more about Glanageenty Walkways with a click here:

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