2008 Kerry bogslide

2008 Kerry bogslide

The 2008 Kerry bogslides was a natural disaster that occurred in the Maghanknockane area of Lyrecrompane, County Kerry, Ireland in August and September 2008. The original bogslide extended to over four kilometres on August 22 and August 23, destroying an estimated 10 hectares (25 acres) of bog, engulfing two bridges [cite web|url=http://www.kerryman.ie/news/no-timeframe-yet-for-cleanup-1465155.html|title="No timeframe yet for cleanup"|date=2008-08-28|accessdate=2008-09-04|publisher="The Kerryman"] and led to the closure of a section of road; it was reported that it could take anything up to six months to fix the road. The plot of land owned by Moss Moore which inspired John B. Keane’s play "The Field" escaped the disaster by only a couple of kilometres. [cite web|url=http://www.kerryman.ie/news/landslide-passes-by-lsquothe-fieldrsquo-1465148.html|title="Landslide passes by ‘the field’"|date=2008-08-28|accessdate=2008-09-04|publisher="The Kerryman"] Comparisons were drawn with the occurrence of an earthquake as it was claimed that a 30 metre (100-foot) wide section was missing from the hill. [cite web|url=http://archives.tcm.ie/thekingdom/2008/08/28/story28233.asp|title="Residents tell of bogslide trauma"|date=2008-08-28|accessdate=2008-09-04|publisher="The Kingdom"] The event was likened to the 2003 Derrybrien landslide in County Galway. [cite web|url=http://www.kerryman.ie/news/landslide-leaves-locals-in-awe-at-power-of-nature-1465170.html|title="Landslide leaves locals in awe at power of nature"|date=2008-08-28|accessdate=2008-09-04|publisher="The Kerryman"]

A second bogslide occurred on September 3 2008, blamed on heavy rain overnight which led to a "small slippage" of bog material. The slippage happened between two bridges, Harris and Scanlon, on a tributary of the Smerlagh River and again forced the closure of a local road. [cite web|url=http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0903/kerry1.html|title="Further bog slide in Kerry"|date=2008-09-03|accessdate=2008-09-04|publisher=RTÉ]


Kerry County Council officials spent an entire day creating diversions to stop the flow of peat from the first bogslide. A dam was created to direct the bogslide away from the path of a river. Up to 30,000 people in north Kerry were left without a water supply due to polluted water courses and threatened reservoirs. [cite web|url=http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2008/0825/1219449685613.html|title="Landslide cuts water supplies to 30,000 in north Kerry"|date=2008-08-25|accessdate=2008-09-04|publisher="The Irish Times"] A boil notice was placed on the local water supply. [cite web|url=http://www.kerryman.ie/news/householders-asked-to-conserve-water-1465143.html|title="Householders asked to conserve water"|date=2008-08-28|accessdate=2008-09-04|publisher="The Kerryman"] Several homes in a rural area between Tralee and Castleisland were cut off. [cite web|url=http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/0824/breaking50.htm|title="Emergency services deal with Kerry landslide"|date=2008-08-24|accessdate=2008-09-04|publisher="The Irish Times"]

One environmental effect of the bogslide was a serious fish kill on the River Smearlagh. Thousands of "mature and juvenile" trout and salmon were killed in peat which had travelled over two miles and was at a depth of eight to ten feet. [cite web|url=http://www.kerryman.ie/news/thousands-of-fish-die-in-polluted-rivers-1465167.html|title="Thousands of fish die in polluted rivers"|date=2008-08-28|accessdate=2008-09-04|publisher="The Kerryman"] Shannon Regional Fisheries Board officer, Lorraine O’Donnell, claimed that it could take "up to a decade" for the river and the spawning grounds to recover. Fisheries officers were unable to access to a tributary of the river, the Glashoreag. It was completely overwhelmed by the slide. The area was an important nursery for salmon and eels before the disaster.

Maurice Harrington and his wife Joan would normally have been collecting bags of turf but escaped from the disaster unharmed. Maurice's son, Mossie first noticed the bog moving the day before when he had been cutting a hedge. Maurice's other son, Patrick, assumed the bog movement he witnessed was due to poor eyesight. Maurice lost over €1,000 worth of turf in the disaster. [cite web|url=http://www.kerryman.ie/news/wedding-may-have-saved-couple-from-being-caught-by-landslide-1465175.html|title="Wedding may have saved couple from being caught by landslide"|date=2008-08-28|accessdate=2008-09-04|publisher="The Kerryman"]

Possible cause

Residents in the area said that machinery on the site of a wind farm on nearby Ballincollig Hill might have contributed to the bogslide which was caused by heavy rain. Work had begun on the site two weeks prior to the disaster. [cite web|url=http://www.kerryman.ie/news/locals-believe-windfarm-is-linked-to-bog-slide-disaster-1465060.html|title="Locals believe windfarm is linked to bog slide disaster"|date=2008-08-28|accessdate=2008-09-04|publisher="The Kerryman"] Local residents had expressed concern about the possible risk of a landslide as far back as 2001 [cite web|url=http://www.kerryman.ie/news/anger-that-windfarm-got-approval-1465183.html|title="Anger that windfarm got approval"|date=2008-08-28|accessdate=2008-09-04|publisher="The Kerryman"] when initial planning permission was sought by Tralee-based Trá Investments for the windfarm. In July 2004 several people wrote to EU Commissioner for the Environment, Margot Wallström, to voice their concerns about the threat to protected birds of prey should the windfarm development proceed. With their objections overruled, the development was approved by An Bord Pleanála in June 2004. Trá Investments is to carry out an independent inquiry into the cause of the disaster.


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