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BandonInnishannon railway path to be named Dr Clare OLeary Walk

Wednesday, 12th June, 2013 12:02pm
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BandonInnishannon railway path to be named Dr Clare OLeary Walk

By Leo McMahon

THE popular railway line amenity path between Bandon and Innishannon is to be named the Dr Clare O’Leary Walk in honour of the town’s all-conquering mountaineer and polar explorer. In the meantime, however, Cork County Council has been urged to significantly upgrade it.

Clare O’Leary’s accolades include being the first Irish woman to climb Mount Everest (in 2004) and the other six continental summits. She also trekked to the South Pole in the Beyond Endurance expedition with Pat Falvey and others in 2008. In 2012, she unveiled the sculpture near Courtmacsherry to Antarctic explorer Patrick Keohane and earlier this year successfully crossed the world’s largest iced freshwater lake, Baikal in Siberia.

According to a report in Bandon Opinion in 2008, the proposal to name the walk after Dr O’Leary was made then but it wasn’t followed up, said Cllr Rachel McCarthy. Town clerk Mr Pat Moore said it was proposed by then mayor John Desmond but not formally seconded nor taken to the county council’s then Bandon-Macroom Area Committee.

On a proposal by Cllr McCarthy, seconded by Cllr Rose Holland, Bandon TC formally agreed to name the railway path, Dr Clare O’Leary Walk.

It was also agreed on the advice of the manager Mr Kevin O’Neill to liaise with the county council about checking land ownerships as well as sourcing a plaque and information signs relating to her expeditions and other matters. Mayor Gillian Coughlan undertook to pursue the proposal when she attended the next meeting of Bandon Area Committee.

‘Very shook’

Cllr Margaret Murphy-O’Mahony said lots of people used the railway walk, which starts just outside Bandon just off the N71 and ends at the car park at Curranure, but right now it was ‘very shook’ compared, for example, to the Carrigaline—Crosshaven and Cork—Passage West railway walks and cycleways.

They were trying to encourage walking, so it was a shame that such a beautiful walk had got into such a poor state, added Cllr Murphy-O’Mahony, who along with other members, previously asked for dead hedging at the Bandon end to be replaced.

In support, Cllr Bob Deane reported that for the fourth time since 2009, concrete fencing at the Bandon end of the path had been damaged. He also said the riverside area by the former chip van badly needed a clean-up and wondered if seats could be provided. Town engineer Mr Charlie McCarthy said it wasn’t likely that pulling in at such a location near a bend on the busy N71 would be encouraged.

He stated that with so many roads to be repaired and potholes to fill out of the same budget, the county council didn’t have the resources while manager Mr Kevin O’Neill said the other walks would have benefited from state or Leader funding when times were better financially.

Mr O’Neill suggested the local community, perhaps Tidy Towns, get involved and work with the area engineer’s office in getting the walk cleaned up and repaired because being off the main road, a community group should be able to get involved. Cllr McCarthy wondered if unemployed people could be recruited under a community employment scheme.

Cllr Gearoid Buckley suggested Cllr Murphy-O’Mahony and Mayor Gillian Coughlan identify local businesses willing to adopt what was a holistic walk and that its naming after Dr O’Leary be suitably celebrated.

Cllr Seán O’Donovan said a fallen tree blocked the walk and forced people to pass under it with difficulty.

At the same meeting Bandon TC passed a motion from Cllr Buckley, Cllr Lane and Cllr O’Donovan to name the new riverside walkway, running parallel to the Glaslinn Road, after Bandon born TV star Graham Norton.


It was also agreed to write to the three local county councillors and head of corporate affairs in the county council and consult with the manager about the plaque and other arrangements.

The mayor and Cllr Rose Holland commended the members but Cllr Andrew Coleman and Cllr McCarthy, while not opposed, said it was a pity they were not informed about it beforehand as a matter of procedure in order to get their opinion. Cllr Lane said the proposal originated from a different forum and there was a timeline on this.

Cllr Lane repeated the call for ‘Slow – children at play’ signs at Clancool.