A GROUP of regular Lough Hyne walkers gathered at Barlogue at 2.30pm on Sunday January 30th – the eve of St Bridget’s Day – in the hope of gaining access to what they claim is a public right of way to the holy well.
Well-known academic Dr Edward Walsh, who lives in Tipperary, but visits the area frequently, contacted The Southern Star about the proposed gathering at Barlogue.
‘Failure to protect this 800-year-old right of way at the heart of Lough Hyne would,’ he said, ‘signal to others that public rights-of-way can be blocked with impunity.’
Cllr Carroll said people are concerned that Cork County Council isn’t exercising its powers to protect rights of way in places such as Lough Hyne and Rosscarbery.
But the divisional county manager, Clodagh Henehan, said the local authority had engaged in correspondence with individuals about the claim to a right of way at Barlogue. Katharine Kelleher, the daughter of the owner of the property at the well at Lough Hyne, issued a statement to The Southern Star confirming that the well is ‘situated on private property.’
‘But,’ she said, ‘any reasonable request for access to the Well and the ruined church we try to accommodate.’ Katharine Kelleher pointed out that there has been ‘increased traffic in the Lough Ine area in recent years and regrettably there has been a significant amount of anti-social behaviour on the land including fire setting, litter and verbal abuse.’
She said this has ‘caused a lot of distress to our family and our mother in particular.
‘Lough Ine,’ she added, ‘is part of a wider nature reserve and the protection of the delicate ecosystem is essential.’
Tadhg O’Connor, a member of the Coconuts Walking Group spoke to The Southern Star during a recent road walk in Lough Hyne.
‘We have done a number of walks down around Lough Hyne and, on one or two occasions, we went down to the well and the graveyard,’ he said.
‘We had to get permission to go in there. Our leader at the time organised that permission for us ... and we were able to go as far as the rapids.
‘We would always get permission from owners,’ he added. ‘We would be very sensitive about that. We don’t want to enter into any land that we don’t have permission on.’