After Years of Abuse, Glounsharoon Opens Her Heart to The World

Castleisland, the first settlement in the Maine Valley as seen from my platform on Christmas Eve 2009. Inset are: Bertie Ahern, Jacki Lyden and Bill O’Leary, Peter O’Connor and Con Houlihan – a handful of the champions in my campaign for fair treatment on par with my equals across the valley. Photographs: John Reidy, Bill O’Leary and Peter O’Connor.
Kerry County Council’s materials yard which shares the space created for the viewing platform on Glounsharoon. Photograph: John Reidy

She’s tired of how her outlook on the life of hill and valley is being shunned and stunted, and how she’s being treated by those with the means to improve her status and that of the panorama under her wistful gaze.

She mourns the constant deaf ear, blind eye treatment and the lack of a proper facility for her to show off what she sees and how she sees it.

And she’s not taking the narrow, local view only – but a global, outreaching vision in a tourism kind of way.

Glounsharoon has finally spoken out about the years of neglect she has been subjected to.

Through an intermediary, she has opened her heart to the world.

She could never hide her feelings anyway. But now she knows that it’s good to talk and that it’s OK to declare out loud: ‘I’m not OK.’

Store of Acclamation

And she’s not just depending on her own store of acclamation and historic knowledge either.

Glounsharoon and her intermediary have attracted the backing of just a handful of her many admirers from several walks of life.

They all share a common sense of admiration for her whose panoramic gaze is always on show, always open to the public in clear or in veiled, teary eyed conditions, in freezing cold or scorching heat.

She’s been there, accommodating and welcoming, through wars, pandemics and in times of peace.

“I look so stunning and beautiful on a sunny day and I appreciate that Kerry County Council has said, yet again, that extensive work has been done on proposals for my viewing platform.

Designs, Drawings and Estimates 

“Design drawings and cost estimates have been prepared  etc etc. Even though in 2011 Kerry County Council said I am too chilly for tourists.

“In that case, I often wonder why did their predecessors in office see fit to furnish me with a platform to show the world what I see on the ever-changing landscape before me.

“In 2017 I was on the cusp of development by Kerry County Council and in 2019 I was getting €100,000 – now it’s in the region of €50,000.  

“While a paltry sum, it is welcome all the same for some clean-up and resurfacing, information signage and seating.

Intermittent Bouts of Maintenance

“For a decade or more now, the approach has been a cyclical fix of intermittent bouts of emergency maintenance funding and remedial works, that occur when my surroundings get sufficiently run down that drastic action is required.

“Such is the case today – still no medium to long term strategic planning. It’s pure patch work. 

“I have been appreciated far and wide across the globe by a list of people who love me.

People Who Love Me

“People like former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern – along with Bill O’Leary and Jacki Lyden and Professor Peter O’Connor of Auckland University.

“People like writer, Con Houlihan and songwriter, Brendan Graham have written and spoken of lonesome backward glances and delightful reunions as they left or returned and they knew me in my good days and bad.

Bertie Ahern’s Opinions of Me

“The following are the thoughts of Bertie Ahern:

Each time I travel the Road into the Kingdom of Kerry to spend precious time with family and nature I stop to view Glounsharoon.

I think of the Irish poet and scholar, John O’Donoghue where he speaks of the silence of landscape:

The silence of landscape conceals vast presence. Place is not simply location. A place is a profound individuality.

Its surface texture of grass and stone is blessed by rain, wind and light. With complete attention, landscape celebrates the liturgy of the seasons, giving itself unreservedly to the passion of the goddess.

The shape of a landscape is an ancient and silent form of consciousness. Mountains are huge contemplatives.

Rivers and streams offer voice; they are the tears of the earth’s joy and despair. The earth is full of soul.”

Regards, Bertie Ahern.

Bill and Jacki Singing My Praises

Bill O’Leary is a staff photographer with the Washington Post and his partner Jacki Lyden is an author and former U.S. National Public Radio war zone and foreign correspondent – and they visit Kerry annually.

The view from Glounsharoon takes our breath away – that beautiful view of the Kingdom from Glounsharoon, constantly changing, it’s the best view on planet earth,” according to Bill and Jacki.

Peter O’Connor, Auckland University

“While Professor Peter O’Connor of Auckland University, New Zealand said that I am breath-taking and unique.

“Peter is a descendant of the first Castleisland All Black ‘Timmy Behane O’Connor’ from Kilcusnan. He has advised the Department of Education in New Zealand and on trips to Ireland he always visits Kerry and his beloved Glounsharoon.

The view from Glounsharoon is breath-taking and unique. We have such stunning views in New Zealand as well. But Glounsharoon is perfectly positioned to become an outstanding international tourist landmark. For those of us of the Kerry diaspora, nothing lets you know you are home more than that view.  It’s like the invitation mat has been laid out before you,’’ said Peter.

Used, Abused and Let Down

“I have been told so many times by so many people that I have all this potential. However, I am not appreciated at home.

“I have been used and mostly abused and let down by my own. Kerry County Council located a materials yard beside me – Imagine that ! A dump beside a majestic scenic platform such as mine.

‘If I Was in Killarney’

“The kind of treatment I am subjected to wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere else. Imagine if I was located in Killarney – I don’t think I’d be exposed to this level of abuse.

“Please help put me on the world stage and I will make you proud.

“Some day that one special person will stand here with me, a person of influence, hopefully, one of our own, a person that will grasp the vision and the tourism potential of what I have to offer, and the rest as they say, will be history.”

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