(A new Nature Notebook every Monday morning and, if nature dictates, more often)
– as intriguing as a spider’s web
All three of us were quite clear that the engraving was VH and, on the basis that they didn’t do that sort of thing in 853, the years must have been 1853 and the line on the left was a decoration. Later at home Siubhan looked at the photograph and immediately said it was MH – and then the line on the left made perfect sense.
We were walking along the Gearhameen River in the Black Valley starting at the Toll Bridge that leads to Lord Brandon’s Cottage preparing for a radio programme on salmon spawning that will be broadcast on November 28.* More about that on the November 30 notebook.
I presume MH was one of the Herberts. In this area the two great Killarney estates joined. But we were on Herbert land. Any idea who it might have been?
There are intials and dates carved into rocks all over Killarney. Most that I have heard about are all from the 19th century. And they all tell a story.
Along the Kerry Way in Esknamucky (Eisc na Muice/the pigs’ cascade) the engraving reads ‘James Neill Tippy Reg 1815’. Who was James Neill? Presumably his Tipperary Regiment was based at Ross Castle. Why was he based up here with a good deal of time on his hands?
Not far from Esknamucky on the southern side of Cromaglan Mountain a rock records the shooting of a fine stag with eighteen points. The initials are RB & DD. I believe, on good authority, RB was Rupert Baring, one of the banking family. Elizabeth Baring was the mother of the famous Lord Castlerosse, the well-known Sunday Express social columnist. DD was the gamekeeper Dan Donoghue.
It would be an interesting project to photograph and map all of these rock carvings in the Killarney Valley. I will come back to others in future nature notebooks. They weave as fascinating a story as the spiders webs I came across just up from Gallan Eile last Wednesday morning about 8.
– Frank Lewis
* My programme on Radio Kerry (97fm – or on internet world wide and on podcast at www.radiokerry.ie) is broadcast every Saturday morning from after the 9 o’clock news to 11am. The programme on the last Saturday of every month is a walk.
If you would like to stay at Gallan Eile you can book by clicking the button.