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Tibetan centre has lucky escape from Beara fires

Saturday, 30th April, 2016 2:25pm

Story by Jackie Keogh
Tibetan centre has lucky escape from Beara fires

Emergency services at the scene of gorse fires near Dzogchen Beara meditation centre last week. (Photo: John Eagle)

THE Tibetan retreat centre in Beara was miraculously spared after a gorse fire raged across an entire hillside last Thursday.

Remarkably, the prayer flags leading up to the retreat centre at Garranes on the Beara peninsula remained untouched, while everything around them burned. And the ritual sang burners at the entrance to the centre remained white, while the ground turned to black ash. 

A spokesperson for the centre issued a statement thanking Castletownbere and Bantry Fire Brigade ‘for their saving efforts against the dangerous fire that threatened Dzogchen Beara and our neighbours’ lands and homes.’ 

He said: ‘Towering flames came very close to the centre’s buildings and burned the lands to the east and west of us. We’re very grateful nobody was hurt and to staff and volunteers, and all who helped on the night and in the days since, to restore water supplies and get back to normal.’

He thanked all the well-wishers and asked the public to pray for the wildlife that had perished in the fires.

‘The fire reminded us all of impermanence and of how lucky we are. Dzogchen Beara is a sacred place ... we are looking forward to getting back to normal,’ he said.

Kieran O’Sullivan, the station officer in charge of Castletownbere fire station, confirmed that two other houses had been in danger, as well as some small forestry plantations, all of which were saved.