Things would seem to be slipping in Kerry

 

Is Kerry slipping? There has been evidence in recent weeks that it is. In the run-up to Christmas, there was a landslide on the Ring of Kerry road between Glenbeigh and Kells, and then another on the Dingle Road near Inch.

These, however, were just tasters before the main course.

That was served up on Christmas Eve when a farmer's field adjoining the new golf course at Lackabane, Killarney, took off, depositing thousands of tonnes of mud and sludge on the fifth green and fourth fairway.

The secretary of the club, Mr Tom Prendergast, was paying a Christmas visit to friends that evening. On his way home he decided to check the course to see if incessant rain had caused any damage.

What he found was an avalanche of mud descending on Lackabane.

Nothing could be done. When the mud settled the extent of the damage could be seen. The mud slide had covered a section of the £5 million golf course.

It was just as well the new course was not in play at the time due to the weather.

It is also just as well that the other slides occurred during the off-season on the two roads which would normally be much used by tourists.

Anyone who travels these roads regularly will know what it is like when holiday cars and coaches snake their way beneath cliffs. Even in summer, water trickles and sometimes cascades from above. Perhaps more attention will have to be paid to safety.

There has been a debate for years about the volume of traffic using roads and passes never designed for such a volume. Sooner or later, the issue will have to be tackled by the Co Kerry authorities.

Doing so will be a difficult task because Killarney thrives on a tourist-based economy. Just as the planning issue in Killarney has provoked many people to voice their anger, so many others are becoming increasingly worried about the traffic glut in the town centre and along the tourist routes.

If some imaginative solution is not found Killarney's success may become the instrument of its decline.

But back to the golf course. What will be the cost of restoration?

That is a matter yet to be decided, says Mr Prendergast. The fifth green and almost four acres of the adjoining fairway are destroyed. There are insurance implications to be considered.

Either way, he says, the course is going to be restored and the official opening date in July is still on schedule.

Many golfers end up playing the famous Mahony's Point and Killeens courses in the town. No doubt they have been following events at Lackabane with interest.

The slide gives a new meaning to what constitutes an obstruction under the rules of golf.

But of even more interest to golfers may be the fact that the 1,200 members of the two old courses are automatically entitled to membership of Lackabane, for £290 a year.

Not surprisingly, membership is closed.