May Mona Newsletter

___________May Staplestown News___________

Coffee Morning

Anne Smyth and family of Derry will be hosting a child from Chernobyl this summer. To raise funds for the air fare etc. she is holding a Coffee/Tea Morning, including a raffle, on Wednesday 5th May from 11-1pm. Come along for a coffee or tea and a chat with your neighbours.

St. Kevin’s Athletics Club.

St. Kevin’s Athletics Club attended a recent Open Sports Day in St Avons in Portlaois. The U/16’s mixed relay team of Kieran Young, Tim Roddy, Aoife Malone and Niamh Reilly just missed out on 3rd position. Roisin Henahan and Philip Reilly did very well in the 700m and the High Jump in the U/13’s. Niamh won the U16’s Javelin. Kieran and Tim are competing in the South Leinster School’s Championships in Kilkenny on Wednesday 5th and Friday 7th May.

Advertising: If you would like to advertise in the "Mona" please do not hesitate to contact one of the names on the back of the newsletter.

Rights of Way

In the Tir na Mona area there is a wealth of small, un-surfaced roads, most of them skirting a bog, some of them even cutting right through the middle of it. These roads are old and most of them go back to days when turf was cut with a slan and brought home by an ass. But these roads have their uses even today. Some of these uses can not be defended. They are quite often the route used by people illegally dumping rubbish. It is also not unknown for a trailer-load of turf-mould to be transported along them back to somebody’s garden. There are even stories of a few fence-posts going missing from Coillte of a Sunday evening. And there are other dubious uses for these ancient rights of way. In the days of the "Bona Fides" there was a landmark law case in which inhabitants of Gilltown Lane were on trial for illegally obtaining drink in Roches of the Derries on a Sunday. To get a drink legally you had to be a "bona fide" traveller, which meant you had to live at least five miles from the pub. Gilltown Lane is less than two miles from Roches if you use the old bog roads — but these are not public roads. By public roads it is six miles. The brave Gilltown Martyrs pointed this out to the District Justice and they won their case. Even today their descendants have been known to use this ancient drinking route around Christmas when the Guards are in the area. On a more serious note, these roads are a great asset to the area. They provide recreation and amenity to the people who walk, ride horses or drive them. They provide a true flavour of the open bog and many of them still service the private turf plots which were the reason they were built in the first place. They are mostly trunked in limestone and the botanical contrast between the limestone verge and the peat bog is fascination for anyone with an interest in plants. They also have the potential to be developed as a unique network of walkways and bridle-paths which could, in the future, be a powerful attraction for Irish and foreign tourists. Unfortunately more and more of them are being blocked by gates with chains and padlocks. Blocking a public right of way in this manner is an illegal act. More important than that, it is the act of an individual who is stealing something from his or her local community. Public rights of way belong to all of us. They are for all of us to enjoy and, possibly, make a modest and sustainable profit from. No individual has the right to take this away. We need to become much more vigilant about this. If the gates and locks are left, the person who put them there, can get "Adverse Possession" in other words his or her illegal act becomes legal with the passage of time and the neglect of the local community.

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