Who is Dervla Murphy ?

As part of National Bike Week Kerry Cycling Campaign presents Who is Dervla Murphy ?  a new documentary which explores the life and the renowned Irish touring cyclist and travel writer Dervla Murphy.

Murphy is best known for her 1965 book Full Tilt: Ireland to India With a Bicycle, which chronicles her overland cycling trip from Ireland to India via Europe, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Dervla Murphy is Ireland’s most prolific travel writer who for five decades has traveled the world alone and with her daughter Rachel. A fiercely independent woman who turned her back on societal conventions at a time when few were as brave, she observed and recorded the world with wonder and curiosity, and an astute political sensibility.

But, Who is Dervla Murphy?

This new documentary explores the woman behind the words in an interview which shows her personal life to be as fascinating as her extensive journeys. The minutiae of life at home in Lismore and journeys abroad with her grandchildren provide an intimate backdrop to interviews with Dervla, her daughter Rachel, her publisher John Murray and fellow travel writers Manchán Magan and Michael Palin.

This film is a free event (limited spaces) and will take place at Kerry County Library, Tralee, Thursday  16th of June at 6.15pm

Watch the Trailer:

This event is supported by:


South Kerry Greenway newsletter

Kerry County Council have publish a newsletter on the South Kerry Greenway.

The purpose of this newsletter is to update the public and in particular the people of Reenard, Cahersiveen, Kells, Glenbeigh and the surrounding areas of the progress to date on the proposed 32km greenway from Reenard to Glenbeigh. The newsletter outlines the plans for 2016 and summarises the procedures involved in delivering the project.

You can read or download the newsletter here


Planning approval for first Active Travel Town development

Part 8 planning application for the development of  Blennerville to Denny Street Amenity Trail was approved at a Kerry County Council meeting on Monday, this is the first development  as part of Tralee Active Travel Town project.

The planning was for a amenity trail  consisting of a cycle and footpath from Blennerville to Denny Street, this will be the first section of a cycle route which will ultimately stretch from Blennerville to ITralee North Campus/ Kerry Technology park. This path will also join the existing Lee Valley path which runs from the Aquadome to Ballymullen with a proposed extension to Ballyseedy woods.

As well as the creation of a 6km cycle route between Blennerville and  ITralee North Campus the funding will also be used to create two-way cycle facilities along Denny Street,  implement ‘shared space’ zones in the Mall, introduce a 30km/h speed limit in the town center as well as the appointment of a cycling and walking coordinator to champion the smarter travel initiatives.

In April 2014 the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTT&S) granted €1.3million funding for Tralee as part of it’s Smarter Travel initiative with another €900,000 funding coming from the local authority itself to develop Tralee as an Active Travel Town. The Active Travel Towns Programme is designed to achieve modal shift from the car to either walking and/or cycling and to encourage greater public transport use through facilitating greater walking and cycling access to public transport.

Greenway Linkage

One of the main complaints of the first phase of the Tralee to Fenit Greenway was the lack of route permeation and linkage with estates it passes, with only one intermediate access point along the whole route, this issue was observed by numerous individuals and groups as part of the planning process.

A prime example of this was at Gort Na Greine where the existing access point was blocked up with industrial palisade fencing despite the fact that at the time of the development this was a well trodden route.

Within a short period of the fencing being installed a few sections were removed and people were able to ‘unofficially’ use the link again , it was a common sight to see people lifting bikes and even children in pushchairs through the gap in the fence.

The ultimate irony here was the fact that the Gort Na Greine road had an existing cyclepath, the white line can be seen runnign down the center of the footpath  in the picture above.

It was great to hear that this very issue was raised by Cllr. Pa Daly at the November Tralee Municipal District meeting, and that the fencing will be removed and access restored.


11. Cllr. P. Daly:
That this Council will construct an official gateway on to the Fenit Walkway from Gort Na Greine.
The existing palisade fence and gate will be removed and a new pedestrian access will be provided to facilitate connectivity between the local
estates and the Walkway
Cllr. P. Daly said that he welcomed this reply


Update April 2016

Kerry County Council have finally removed the fencing to allow ‘official’ access onto the greenway from Gort Na Greine and adjoining estates, this is great for linkages along the greenway.

It is surprising that the full fencing was not removed only the part bounding the roadway meaning that pedestrians have to depart the footpath and travel along the roadway, a situation not ideal especially for the elderly, people with pushchairs, and wheelchair users.



25 Years of the Great Southern Trail

We received this mail today from Liam O’Mahony,  Liam and the Great Southern Trail group have done trojan work in their efforts to reopen the disused Tralee – Limerick and Tralee – Fenit Railways as a greenway. While the GST have had great success on the Limerick side of the border things could not be more different in Kerry with the entire route save a mile or so in Tralee still lying idle.

On Saturday 7th November to celebrate 25 years of achievement the GST will be holding an ‘Open House’ and a DVD launch followed by a walk from Newcastle West to Ardagh which will be led by the  Mayor of Limerick  Cllr. Liam Galvin,  the same route that the very first organized walk along the old railway took place in May 1990.
Full detail of these events can be found on the GST website.


A personal observation by Liam O’Mahony:

The Taoiseach’s commitment to a national cycle network, made on October 18th 2015 when opening the Mullingar-Athlone Greenway along an old railway, (which can be listened to here) rings hollow in North Kerry where the conversion of the old Rathkeale to Tralee/Fenit railway into a Greenway was first proposed in 1988.
That vision had to wait for most of twenty years to be even partially realised due to some trenchant and very influential opposition. Eventually the West Limerick section was opened and only then through the persistent endeavours of the voluntary Great Southern Trail (GST) organisation which I have the honour to chair.
The entire Limerick & Kerry GST was included in the Irish Government’s National Cycle Network plan of 2010. It is also included in the Atlantic Coastal Route of the EuroVelo cycle network.
Mr. Kenny’s Government did fund the 3km extension from Abbeyfeale to the Kerry Border in 2012 where it has languished to this day as its continuation appears to be at the whim of a separate local authority. It is patently ridiculous that an international project should be stalled at an administrative boundary several kilometres from the nearest town. Using a county boundary in this manner makes North Kerry seem more impenetrable than North Korea.
The County Limerick GST is now 40km in length but the addition of the further 50km of State railway lands lying idle in North Kerry would hugely enhance the GST Greenway experience.
Incidentally, Waterford City & County Council are at present working rapidly in converting 50km of their old Waterford to Dungarvan railway into a Greenway without any difficulty because they were resolute in negotiations with objectors.
Kerry County Council say they are inundated with requests for Greenways by local communities but that most of the proposals involve routes that are too short. They conveniently omit to mention that thousands of people are in favour of continuing the GST into North Kerry, which would create the longest Greenway in the country.
Why are the Government and the local authority ignoring North Kerry?
Ownership of the line is not an issue as CIÉ own a fibre optic cable which runs along its length.
Why has  Transport & Tourism Minister Pascal Donohoe eschewed a number of opportunities to visit any part of the GST during at least three recent visits to the area?
There will be no better time to put these questions to politicians than in the coming months. Government is supposed to involve leadership and vision not capitulation to vested interests.
Liam O’Mahony
Cathaoirleach, GST

Public talk: Going Dutch – Cian Ginty

This Saturday the biannual – The Irish Cycling Advocacy Network will be hosted by the Kerry Cycling Campaign and will feature a public talk by journalist and cycling advocate Cian Ginty.

Last month Cian organised a cycling study tour to the Netherlands for cycling campaigners, elected representatives, council staff and professionals with a focus on cycling. The goal of the trip was to showcase everyday Dutch cycling — from the culture to cycle networks and everything in between.

In the talk Cian with present findings from this trip as well as discussing his website/blog

The talk which is free and open to all will take place on Saturday 10th October at 4pm in the Chapel Room, St Patrick’s Center / Tobar Naofa, Moyderwell Tralee [Old Moyderwell convent] and will be followed by a Q&A session.


For a taster of what to expect notes of the trip have been published by Phil Skelton of  the Stayin’ Alive at 1.5 campaign and Barbara Connolly Cycling Standard Development Officer with Cycling Ireland


Location Map:

Mayor of Kerry leads by example


Today sees the introduction of fixed charge notices for cycling offences, and with great timing this press photo surfaced this morning featuring the Mayor of Kerry Pat McCarthy and Kerry County Council staff cycling in a pedestrian area, which from today is liable to a €40 on the spot fine.

Cyclist proceeding into a pedestrianised street or area

This offence is likely to cause a lot of issues and uncertainty in locations such as Tralee town square (pictured above)  while the area is pedestrianised it is often used by cyclists to avoid a lengthy trip around the towns one way road system, and highlights how ill-conceived the new system is.





But all drivers break the lights…

How many times have you heard the phrase ‘shur all cyclist break the lights‘ ? this missive is often rolled out when anything cycle related is being discussed in the media and almost always without facts to back it up.

This was the just the case last Thursday on Radio Kerry when the question was asked if people thought that automated cameras should be deployed at junctions in Kerry in order to catch drivers who break red lights, referencing the launch of the countries first automated red light camera system that morning in Dublin.

Right on cue the first comment (from Tom in Killarney) was ‘what about all the cyclists who break the lights ?’, we contacted Radio Kerry to counter Tom’s comment and were invited to speak on the issue. In the interview we got to speak about the issue of red light violations and how rather that victimising cyclists it would be more beneficial to  question why a small number of cyclist break light and how junctions could be designed to cater for cyclists in order to avoid these infractions.

There has been very little in research into red light violations in Ireland but there was one study which we were aware of, coincidentally this was part of the pilot programme for the Red Light Camera Project, the very project that just launched in Dublin on Thursday and analysing the very same junctions, in short you could not find a better example.

As part of the pilot project the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) studied two junctions along the Luas Red line, Blackhall Place and Con Colbert Road in 2011, these were chosen due to the high number of Road Traffic Collisions at the junctions and the risk these posed to Luas passengers. The study analysed the red light violations which took place, as well as the vehicle type, time of day, day of the week and time after the red light was displayed.

Source: Railway Procurement Agency – Red Light Camera Project


The results of the study are clear, drivers are far more likely to break red lights than cyclists,  of all the red light violations approximately 15% were committed by cyclists, with almost 85% committed by motor vehicles.

Not only are those in motor vehicles more likely to  break lights, but they are also have the potential to cause far more harm than a person on a bike, something which was also acknowledged within the report:

In considering the potential impact of red light violations an important factor is the class of vehicle. Cyclist violations are generally not comparable with those of motorised vehicle … therefore for comparison of results it is beneficial to exclude them from this part of the discussion.

So when we have far more cars than bikes on our roads, which break the lights more often and are far more lethal in the event of a collision, why is there so much public venom directed at cyclists ?

The conversation then turned to infrastructure, or the lack of in many cases when you consider cycle infrastructure, in Dublin the same amount of commuters are carried each day by bike as are carried by the Luas. The initial Luas lines cost €728m to create and is hailed as a great success, but despite having a similar capacity cycling receives a tiny amount of funding in comparison.

Of course  the Luas has yet to reach the kingdom and public transport in general throughout the county is pretty limited, which makes investment in cycling infrastructure even more impactful. According to the latest CSO figures almost as many people in Killarney get to work or school by bike as get there by use of public transport, in Tralee four times as many people commute by bike compared to public transport while on a county level approximately a  third more Kerry people use bicycles compared to buses and trains to work or education.

Source: Central Statistics Office – Census (2011)


While these statistics may seem to paint a positive picture for cycling in Kerry they may have more to do with the lack of public transport than anything else, that said at approximately 4% Tralee has one of the highest rates of cycle commuters in the country, but country wide the rate is just 1.5%.

The government has set an objective (in the National Cycle Policy Framework) that by 2020 10% of all journeys will be made by bike, so how do we in Kerry get from 1.5% to 20% within the next 5 years ? One thing we can be sure of is that the culture of victimisation and targeting of cyclists with fines for not paying heed to substandard infrastructure is not going to get us there, but traffic lights could be a good place to begin…

  • Traffic Light that work for cyclsits
    There are a number of traffic lights in the county which do not work even on a basic level for cyclists, for example the lights right outside Radio Kerry will not turn green for cyclist, which means that cyclist who stop at a red light at this junction have to wait for a car to join them before the lights turn green !
  • Advance Stop Line
    One reason cyclists have been know to start off just before a green signal is in order to get a head start on cars and trucks in order to ensure their safety. Advance Stop Line (ASL’s) allow cyclist to take up position ahead of cars which in turn provide safety as cyclists are more visible to motorists. There are only a few ASL’s in Kerry.
  • Left turn at a red light
    Some countries permit cyclists make a left turn at a red light (but more often in left hand drive countries where it is of course right turn at a red light) provided the road is clear.
  • Straight on red when there is no road joining to the left
    Similar to Left turn on red but allowing a cyclist to proceed with caution provided the road is clear when there is no road junction to the left.
  • Bicycle traffic lights
    We are not aware of any of these light in Kerry
  • Headstart for cyclists
    When bicycle traffic lights are in use these can be set to turn green a few second before the main lights which allow cyclist head start on cars and trucks in order to ensure their safety.

Call for infrastructure overhaul for Kerry cyclists – Radio Kerry

Active Travel Tralee

Last year Tralee’s bid to become an Active Travel Town was successful when the town received funding of €1.3million from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTT&S) as part of it’s Smarter Travel initiative with another €900,000 funding coming from the local authority itself bringing the available funding for the project to €2.27 million.

The project is to be developed over 5 phases:

Phase 1 ‐ Appointment of Champion and School Travel Advisor
Phase 2 ‐ Proposed 6km Cycleway
Phase 3 ‐ Introduction of a 30km/h Zone
Phase 4 ‐ Shared Space Concept at the Mall Area
Phase 5 ‐ Proposed Two ‐ Way with cycling and walking facilities at Denny Street

The Active Travel Towns Programme is designed to achieve modal shift from the car to either walking and/or cycling and to encourage greater public transport use through facilitating greater walking and cycling access to public transport.

As part of this project Kerry Co Co have just launched a dedicated website, and a promotional video.

The original funding application can been found here and great to see our nascent campaign get a mention in the bid !