(A new Nature Notebook every Monday morning and, if nature dictates, more often)

– as intriguing as a spider’s web

MH 1853 P1010199

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.

spider web and furze P1010197

– Frank Lewis

* My programme on Radio Kerry (97fm – or on internet world wide and on podcast at 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.

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  • Emin

    December 27, 2015 at 10:11 pm Reply

    I/we have been going to Killarney Park now for over 20 years and i/we love it and all of it’s beauty. But for all of those years i/we have ayawls wanted to go to and camp on boundary lake, can any one tell me more about Boundary lake{Photos/Videos}I know there is an Old Growth Forest there. I have hiked the LaCloche Silhouette Trail And seen Boundary Lake from it I have camped On David Lake a few times but for what ever reason never made it to Boundary. We are planning a trip through Killarney this fall and Boundary is in the plans.

    • Colette

      January 4, 2016 at 11:02 am Reply

      Hi – I’m afraid we are at cross-purposes – you are talking about Killarney Park, in Ontario aren’t you. Our Killarney is in Co Kerry, in Ireland. We have a holiday home available for rental here in the heart of mountain, lake and woodland, looking out over the 30,000 acre/10,000 hectare Killarney National Park – a great place to walk and explore if you ever get to Ireland.

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