WALKERS, local and visitors, who enjoy the beautiful trek up Knockfierna Hill will now be able to enjoy pot-hole free parking and an easier drive to the start point, courtesy of a €200,000 Government heritage amenity grant.
Ned Cagney and other members of the Knockfierna Hill Development Association have been “filing in potholes ourselves over the years so this is a game-changer,” he told the Limerick Post.
The trail, which is around ten kilometres from Ballingarry Village and back is hugely popular with west Limerick people who know about it and visitors who discover it.
The works which are due to finish this week will provide a properly surfaced car-park and a more accessible road, so that cars can pass each other coming and going on the way to the trail entrance.
“There’s a group of us have been involved in this for years. It’s a fantastic free amenity and not many people know about it outside west Limerick,” said Ned.
“This will be a real game changer for people who want to walk here and for people who visit. There are tourists who come to do the walk up the hill and they wouldn’t come if that wasn’t here.”
Ned and some of the other members of the Development Association live on the hill and they are also working on getting signage erected to point visitors in the right direction.
“We’re dong that in co-operation with Sport Ireland and we want to have Knockfierna listed as a designated trail with them so people will know about it. Visitors help support jobs in this area,” said Ned.
Knockfierna translates as the ‘Hill of Truth’ and local people say they can predict the weather by looking up to see what’s going on at the summit.
“You can see the whole of Munster from the top – it’s a lovely view and people enjoy the fact that it’s bright and open,” said Ned.
“At night-time you would see people going up with torches, just to get a breath of fresh air and there’s a local man in a wheelchair gets almost all the way up and then gets someone to push him the last little bit. It’s a very easy walk and we’re hoping to make it more wheelchair accessible in the future.”
During the recent ‘Climb With Charlie’ fundraiser in association with the former broadcaster, Charlie Bird ,to raise funds for Motor Neuron Disease research, climbers raised more than €28,000 with a local driver providing a bus to get those with mobility difficulties to the top.